January 26, 2018
This week, MOAA had an exclusive preview of TRICARE's widely anticipated new dental and vision plans. This new insurance option for certain beneficiaries is set to be offered starting Jan. 1, 2019. The newly designed option was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act with the legislated start date of 2019. The later starting time is meant to allow for better planning and communication for this new plan, as it will be offered and administered through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).
Here's the rundown on who is eligible for what. All TRICARE retirees and their families are eligible for both the dental insurance and the vision coverage. Active duty military families are only eligible for the vision coverage.
The FEDVIP dental program of offerings will replace the existing TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan, which is currently provided through Delta Dental. That program will sunset Dec. 31, 2018.
Here's what will be offered. The retiree dental plan and the new addition of a vision plan will allow for beneficiaries to make a selection from among several dental and vision carriers with a variety of benefit options. For example, in 2018 the FEDVIP program lists 10 dental carriers and four vision carriers (Delta Dental is included) with comprehensive dental and vision insurance at competitive group rates.
- Eligible beneficiaries must choose their plan during TRICARE's open season, which is scheduled to be Nov. 12 - Dec. 10, 2018.
- There will be no automatic transition for those beneficiaries currently enrolled in the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program. Beneficiaries will be required to enroll for coverage.
- Enrollment and plan changes can only occur during the open season with the exceptions for those beneficiaries with qualifying life events (usually anything that necessitates a change in the DEERS system).
Here's the kind of coverage TRICARE beneficiaries will get with FEDVIP (besides more choices):
- no wait period for most dental services;
- no annual maximum benefit for some dental plans;
- regional and national dental networks;
- no deductible for some vision plans;
- no limit on brands for frames or contacts for some vision plans; and
- discounts on LASIK offered by some vision plans.
Beneficiaries are encouraged to start getting information and pre-enrollment communications through the website set up just for this program. The website, www.TRICARE.benefeds.com, will be up and running Feb. 1.
MOAA is working with the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the administration of the federal employees benefit programs, to provide input on communication and feedback on the website, anticipate challenges, and brainstorm solutions for this newly available program for TRICARE beneficiaries.