Here's How Military Retirees Can Prepare for FEDVIP Open Season

Here's How Military Retirees Can Prepare for FEDVIP Open Season
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This article is specific to military retirees. If you are active duty and looking for more information on FEDVIP, please read this article.

You've probably heard TRICARE's Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) will cease coverage Dec. 31. You might have heard you will not be automatically enrolled in a new dental plan. However, if you were covered under TRDP, you are eligible to enroll in dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

[Related: Check out this helpful fact sheet about FEDVIP dental and vision coverage.]

If you have TRDP and wish to maintain dental coverage in 2019, you must take action between Nov. 12 and Dec. 10. That four-week window from November to December, known as Open Season, gives you the opportunity to enroll in the dental plan that will meet your needs in 2019. Are you ready for Open Season? Here's one place to start.

Additionally, retirees and their families who are currently covered by a TRICARE health plan are eligible to enroll in vision coverage through FEDVIP.

Visit the BENEFEDS website to explore your options for selecting dental and vision plans. MOAA recommends you start researching the numerous options for dental and vision plans you can enroll in during Open Season. Don't miss this opportunity to start deciding what will benefit you in 2019!

The BENEFEDS website is easy to navigate and provides a plethora of information on each plan. Below the welcome message, there are three links to help you decide where to go next. I'd recommend starting with Retirees. Click the Learn More option then the blue View Full Article option. On this subpage you can find information on the dental changes, a new vision option, preparation tips, and enrollment information.

By clicking this link “Compare current 2018 plans and rates” (link also available on the BENEFEDS site under the How to prepare section), you'll have access to the FEDVIP Plan Comparison Tool.

You'll open FEDVIP Plan Comparison Tool, which is a blue box under the subheading of the same name, and select which program type you want to compare (dental or vision), enter your zip code (yes, just like TRDP - where you live determines premium structure), and how frequently you intend to make payments.

Test Comparisons

In my test, I found that a retiree, with a spouse, in Alexandria, Va., has a choice of 13 plans ranging from a low of $36.14 a month up to $107.92 per month. That's quite a disparity in premiums! Well, you're not done. Each plan has a “View Details” link that will provide you with some of that plan's finer points, plus there is a link to a .pdf file with the actual plan brochure from the provider - the “small print.”

As a comparison, the cheaper plan (Dominion Dental, HMO) has $0 deductible per person, covers 100 percent for Class A (basic) services with a $10 per patient co-pay, 56 percent for Class B (Intermediate) services plus a $10 per patient co-pay, and 40-percent co-pay for Class C (Major) services plus a $10 per patient co-pay. There is no annual maximum benefit under this plan. Finally, you can only use this plan “In Network.”

At the high end (Delta Dental, PPO), there's a $50 deductible per person, but 100-percent/90-percent coverage (In/Out Network) for Class A services, 70 percent/60 percent for Class B services, and 50 percent/40 percent for Class C services. The annual maximum benefit per person is $30,000/$3000 (In/Out).

This family also would have to choose from eight vision plans ranging from $12.76 to $28.90 per month.

By comparison, a retiree in Jacksonville, Fla., would have to choose from 11 dental plans ranging from $42.79 to $92.80 per month.

Keep in mind, these comparisons are for the 2018 plan year, which ends Dec. 31. Plan information will be updated in October, according to BENEFEDS. Sign up for your BENEFEDS account today and use their comparison tool to start researching the best plan(s) for you and your family.

Intimidated by the abundance of choices being offered? Join MOAA's financial and benefits experts, Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®, and Capt. Paul Frost, USN (Ret), AFC®, for a detailed FEDVIP webinar on Oct. 9, 2018.

Shane and Paul will demonstrate “How to Shop for a Plan” - going through the details of how to compare the different options that each plan provides. Are you more comfortable with a higher premium with lower co-pays or vice versa? Is orthodonture coverage important for your family? This webinar's registration will be available in mid-September, but you can track all MOAA Career and Education events here MOAA Events.

Also, stay tuned for our Facebook Live town hall, hosted by MOAA's Health Affairs advocate Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret), FACHE, with a guest speaker from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the human resources management office. A date for the Facebook Live town hall will be announced after the 2019 plan rates are available in October.

About the Author

Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)
Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)

Frost co-leads MOAA's Financial and Benefits Education program and is also an accredited Veteran Service Officer (VSO), providing VA disability compensation claim and appeal information and advice to the military community.