Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in MOAA’s 2020-21 TRICARE Guide, brought to you by MOAA Insurance Plans, administered by Mercer Consumer. The guide appeared in the November 2020 issue of Military Officer magazine.
These questions and our answers will help you decide which FEDVIP (Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program) plan is right for your family.
Because plan costs and policies may be subject to change, be sure to check the BENEFEDS website for official up-to-date information (including a plan comparison tool), and consult the specific dental or vision contractor for details on your specific plan.
MOAA Premium and Life members also can access a webinar with detailed information about shopping for a FEDVIP dental or vision plan. It’s one of dozens of archived webinars available to assist members with understanding their benefits, meeting their career and transition goals, and much more.
Click the question below to see the answer, or scroll down to read the entire Q-and-A.
- Will the sundown of TRICARE Dental Plan (TDP) occur as planned?
- Who are the dental insurance providers under FEDVIP?
- Who are the vision insurance providers under FEDVIP?
- There are so many choices! Which plan is best for me and my family?
- Where/how do I get started?
- I’ve reviewed the education and support materials. Now what?
- How much does a FEDVIP Dental and Vision Plan cost?
- Does FEDVIP have an “open season” like TRICARE?
- Do I have to re-enroll each year during the open season?
- The QLE page says “retirement” is not a qualifying life event. If I retire before Dec. 31, how do I cover my family before the next calendar year?
Q. Will the sundown of TRICARE Dental Plan (TDP) occur as planned?
A. The TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) was terminated in 2018 for the retiree community. Retirees, survivors and their families were given access to the dental and vision insurance plans that federal employees, retirees and families use — FEDVIP.
The active duty TDP was scheduled to sundown Dec. 31, 2021, requiring active duty families to decide if they wanted a FEDVIP dental and/or vision insurance plan. The draft Senate 2021 NDAA contains a provision which would delay that by a year, until Dec. 31, 2022.
Q. Who are the dental insurance providers under FEDVIP?
A. For 2021, there are seven national/international dental providers: Aetna Dental, Delta Dental, BCBS FEP Blue Dental, GEHA Connection Dental Federal, MetLife Federal Dental Plan, United Concordia Dental, and UnitedHealthcare Dental (new to FEDVIP for 2021).
Q. Who are the vision insurance providers under FEDVIP?
A. For 2021, there are five national/international vision providers: Aetna Vision, BCBS FEP Vision, United Healthcare Vision, VSP, and MetLife Vision (new to FEDVIP for 2021).
Q. There are so many choices! Which plan is best for me and my family?
A. First, pick a dentist and find out which insurance plan(s) he/she will accept (same for an optometrist). If you choose a plan first and then find out that your dentist won’t accept that provider, you’ll have to find another dentist or pay higher co-pays or all dental costs (some plans provide zero coverage for out of network dental/vision work).
Next, decide between the two choices for almost every plan provider: a “standard” plan and “high” plan.
For a dental plan, try to assess your family’s oral health. If you are in the dental office frequently throughout the year, you might consider a “high” plan, with higher monthly premiums but less in co-pays throughout the year.
If your family has excellent oral health and you are typically only going in for your annual checkup and biannual cleanings, then a “standard” plan may be best. You will have lower monthly premiums but higher co-pays, especially on intermediate (Class B) and major (Class C) dental work.
For a vision plan, the selection of a standard or high plan becomes important when it comes to frames and lenses (including contact lenses). If you, your spouse, or your children like to get expensive designer frames and specialized lenses every year, then a “high” plan may be your best option. Again, this means a higher monthly pre- mium but better coverage on frames and lenses. If everyone is happy with “off the rack” frames and standard lenses, then a standard plan may be best.
Q. Where/how do I get started?
A. You start by visiting the BENEFEDS website, which details three programs it administers: FEDVIP, Federal Long-Term Care, and Flexible Spending Accounts (for federal employees only).
To enroll, an online account can be established. There are two ways to enroll, via the website or phone. The online method is easy and the only way to compare plans without contacting each individual contractor.
The “Education and Support” tab provides details on program eligibility, carriers and plans, enrollment, qualifying life events, coverage, and billing and payments. As the open season approaches, BENEFEDS will host live webinars, which will be archived on the education and support page.
[PREMIUM/LIFE MEMBER WEBINAR: How to Shop for a FEDVIP Dental and Vision Insurance Program | Upgrade Your Membership]
Q. I’ve reviewed the education and support materials. Now what?
A. It’s time to shop for plans! Under the “Tools” tab on the BENEFEDS website, select Dental and Vision. You compare each type of plan separately by selecting Dental or Vision, entering your ZIP code, selecting monthly payment option, and entering the plan year.
The tool then lists plans available in your area. You can check “compare” for a side-by-side comparison of any three plans and their co-pays at one time.
The comparison provides the annual maximum benefit per beneficiary, per person deductible, and orthodontic lifetime maximum per person or broken out by adult or child.
For the full benefit details, see the .pdf link at the top of the “compare” page to access the “Official Statement of Benefits (Plan Brochure).”
Q. How much does a FEDVIP Dental and Vision Plan cost?
A. All plans are different, but you can get some insights at this link and specifics via the BENEFEDS comparison tool.
[RELATED: 2021 FEDVIP Pricing Schedules Released]
Q. Does FEDVIP have an “open season” like TRICARE?
A. Yes! Open season dates for TRICARE and FEDVIP are the same. For 2021 insurance plan selections, the FEDVIP open season will be Nov. 9, 2020 until Dec. 14, 2020. Changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
To enroll or change plans outside of the open season, you must have a qualifying life event (QLE). Details are provided at www.BENEFEDS.com/education-support/qles.
Q. Do I have to re-enroll each year during the open season?
A. No. As long as your provider’s plan remains in the FEDVIP program, you will “roll over” each calendar year. If you would like to change plans, open season is the best time to make the change.
Q. The QLE page says “retirement” is not a qualifying life event. If I retire before Dec. 31, how do I cover my family before the next calendar year?
A. True — unlike TRICARE, FEDVIP does not consider retirement a QLE. However, loss of an employer plan is considered a QLE. Upon leaving service, you lose your TDP benefit. This acts as a QLE, enabling you to enroll outside of the open season.