The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) ends on Dec. 31, 2018. Beginning in 2019, new retiree dental coverage will be available through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). If you’re eligible to enroll in a FEDVIP dental plan, you must enroll in FEDVIP during the Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10, 2018. Your dental coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2019. Now is the time to explore your new dental coverage options and make a choice.
When you enroll, you’ll make a choice among 15 plans from 10 different dental carriers. But what type of plan should you choose? Here are a few factors to consider as you look for the right plan for you and your family.
How much does the plan cost? How much dental coverage do I need?
While you can’t predict the future, you can reasonably predict some of your dental care needs. If you expect to visit the dentist for only routine cleanings next year, your dental needs will be different from someone who needs restorative care. If your child needs braces, consider a plan that doesn’t have a waiting period for orthodontic services. You can review and compare plans, as well as view plan brochures (look for “Official Statement of Benefits”) to see your share of the payment for services.
Some FEDVIP carriers offer a “high option” and a “standard option.” High option plans have higher monthly premiums and typically higher annual maximums, but lower copayments. High option plans reduce unexpected expenses but you pay more monthly.
Standard option plans have lower monthly premiums and typically lower annual maximums, but higher copayments. This means you’ll usually pay less monthly, but could pay more for specific dental products or services. Thinking about your 2019 needs will help guide you to a plan that best meets your needs.
What kind of dental provider network do I need?
You’ll get to choose among three types of networks:
1. Exclusive provider organizations (EPOs): You may use any in-network provider without a referral, but you can’t go outside of the network for care.
2. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs): You may use any in-network provider as your general dentist, who can refer you to a specialty care provider, if needed.
3. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs): You may get care from any licensed dentist. You’ll pay less if you use an in-network provider.
If you want to keep your current dental provider or practice, check the carrier’s network provider directory. Use of in-network providers will help to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. If you want to change providers, check the carrier’s list of available providers to see if the choices meet your needs or desires in terms of practices and locations.
Which dental providers are close to where I live?
Are there providers in the carrier’s network near you? Do the office hours meet your needs? Decide what factors are important to you and your family and find a plan that matches your needs.
For more information on retiree dental coverage, visit the FEDVIP website. And remember, if you’re currently enrolled in TRDP, you won’t be enrolled in a FEDVIP plan automatically for 2019. You must make a plan choice during Federal Benefits Open Season. Take command of your health and choose a dental plan that meets you and your family’s needs.