Open Enrollment: How to Choose a Dental Plan

Dominion National man shaking hands with dentist

Choosing the Right Dental Plan

This year’s open enrollment season for choosing a dental plan runs from Nov. 8, 2021, through midnight EST on Dec. 13, 2021, for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Retirees currently enrolled in a Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) plan automatically will continue enrollment into 2022. If you want to cancel or change your dental plan in any way, you must contact BENEFEDS during open enrollment.

With several dental carriers to choose from for 2022, how do you know which plan best fits your needs? Here are some factors to help you make the best choice.

Out-of-Pocket Costs for Different Plan Types

An exclusive provider organization (EPO) plan may include predictable, pre-determined fees designed for transparency. There is a specific cost, known as a copayment, listed for each covered service performed by an in-network dentist. If you know the dental procedures you need to have completed, you will know exactly how much you will pay for your dental care before you even go to your in-network dentist.

A preferred provider organization (PPO) plan covers procedures as a co-insurance percentage. With a PPO plan, your out-of-pocket costs may not be obvious and will require you to obtain additional cost details from your dentist. For example, a major service like a denture may be covered at 50%. To calculate your actual cost, you will need to determine how much your dentist will charge you for that procedure under the contracted arrangement with the dental plan.

Many dental carriers provide a comparison tool that will allow you to compare features and your cost for specific procedures. Compare costs and copays for standard and high Dominion National EPO plans here.

Anticipated Dental Services for the Upcoming Year

It is helpful to understand your specific dental needs in order to make an informed decision. FEDVIP offers standard and high-option plans. If you know you will need major dental work done, you might want to select a high-option plan that may cover more of the cost for major restorative procedures. If you need only preventive dental care, a standard option plan may make more sense.

Also, look for limitations such as annual maximums or orthodontic lifetime maximums, to ensure that you are not paying out-of-pocket after you’ve reached a plan’s limit.

Lastly, check whether the plan has any waiting periods that may be a barrier to receiving immediate dental care.

Access to Care

Verify that your dentist is part of your dental plan. If you have long-term loyalty to your dentist, you will want to confirm that your dentist is in the network. If you're selecting a new dentist, review the plan’s network to ensure the dentist's office is near your home or office. Most plans offer an online provider search. You also may want to confirm participation with the provider’s office.

In previous years, Dominion National’s DHMO plans required that you select an in-network primary care dentist. With Dominion’s plans now enhanced from dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) to EPO plans, enrollees now have an expanded network where they may receive services from any in-network dentist without having to select a primary care dentist. Both plans cover out-of-area emergency care.

PPO plans allow you to receive services from any dentist, but it is often more cost-effective to use an in-network dentist. Dominion National has nearly 13,000 dental providers in the FEDVIP EPO network. Check out Dominion’s provider search tool. If your dentist is not listed, you can nominate them for consideration in the Dominion network.

Other Value-Added Services

When choosing your dental plan, don’t forget to look at other value-added services and discounts that may be available with your plan. For example, Dominion National now offers discounts on Invisalign, SmileDirectClub’s clear aligner program and teeth whitening procedures. Due to increasing consumer demand from the pandemic, Dominion also covers teledentistry services.


Last but not least, during open enrollment, it is important to compare the monthly premium for each plan. Affordability is important. Oral health doesn’t have to be expensive. Many insurance companies offer low-cost plans that entirely or mostly cover the costs for oral exams, cleanings, fillings and X-rays.

Enjoy Premium Dental Care

Dominion National offers EPO dental plans for federal employees and retirees with competitive rates. Dominion provides extensive coverage at predictable, predetermined fees with no annual maximums, deductibles or waiting periods. Dominion National’s standard and high plans also offer an innovative Prevention Rewards Program, in which each family member who receives two cleanings during the plan year from a participating Dominion network dentist receives an office visit copay reimbursement.

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