When the military sunset the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) in 2018, military retirees were instead given the chance to pick a dental insurance provider through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).
FEDVIP enrollment works through an annual open season, which typically runs from mid-November through mid-December. During that period, users can enroll for the first time or change plans.
Users who want to make changes outside of that time frame must first experience a "qualifying life event."
Related: Qualifying Life Events for FEDVIP
Unlike Tricare's retiree dental program, which gave users only one option for coverage, FEDVIP gives an array of about 10 different choices. That means retirees need to figure out how to choose coverage that best meets their needs and their cost expectations.
So how do you choose? Here are some factors to consider:
FEDVIP: Plan Types
Find out how much dental treatment is covered. A Dental HMO (DHMO) plan includes predictable, predetermined fees. They are designed for transparency for members and dentists in that there are specific copayments listed for each covered service. If you know what dental procedures you need to have completed, you will know how much you will pay for your dental care before you even go to the dentist.
A PPO plan covers procedures as a coinsurance percentage, and it might not be clear what your out-of-pocket costs will be. For example, a major service like a crown may be covered at 50%, and you will need to determine how much your dentist will charge you for that procedure under the contracted arrangement with the dental plan to figure out your actual cost.
FEDVIP: Plan Value
It is helpful to understand your specific dental needs to make an informed decision. FEDVIP offers Standard and High Option plans. If you know you need major dental work done, you may want to explore a High Option plan that may cover more of the cost for major restorative procedures. If you only need preventive dental care, a Standard Option plan may make more sense.
Look for limitations such as annual maximums or lifetime maximums for orthodontia to ensure that you are not paying out of pocket after you've reached a plan's limit.
How much is the monthly premium? Make sure you pick a plan you can afford.
FEDVIP: Access to Care
Look to see whether the plan has any waiting periods that may be a barrier to receiving immediate care. For example, some plans have waiting periods for orthodontic work.
Check to see whether your dentist participates in the plan's network. If you have long-term loyalty with your dentist, you will want to confirm that your dentist is in the network.
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