The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is the replacement for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) which was discontinued at the end of 2018.
The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) was the “voluntary dental plan” for military retirees until 2018, but according to the TRICARE official site, the end of this program was announced in 2017.
What Is Enrollment Open Season?
Each year, the period of time known as Federal Benefits Open Season allows qualifying retirees and currently serving military to enroll, change, or cancel a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan.
This open season runs annually from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December.
When Are Rates For The Next Year’s Coverage Available?
Open Season enrollment will be accomplished with the applicant having the ability to compare plans and costs, but the negotiations for these price structures may continue up to a certain point just before the open season begins.
You may find that these rates and other details aren’t available until sometime in October prior to open season enrollment starting, but the TRICARE official site offers a sign-up program that notifies subscribers of updates and news about coverage costs and other information.
Why Did TRDP End And Why Does FEDVIP Replace It?
The end of the old TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) came about thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which included a series of military healthcare reforms.
The TRICARE support contracts reform portion of the act, of which the replacement FEDVIP is a part, is intended to “improve health and enhance medical readiness for the uniformed services”.
What Was TRDP?
The original TRICARE Retiree Dental Program covered a list of beneficiaries including:
- Retired service members and their families
- Retired Guard and Reserve members and their families
- Medal of Honor recipients and their families
- Surviving family members of military retirees who have died
This TRICARE dental program offered coverage both at home in the United States and overseas. Coverage included the following:
- Root canals
- Gum surgery
- Oral surgery
The contractor for the old TRICARE Retiree Dental Program was Delta Dental. That is an important factor in the changeover from the old TRICARE retiree program and the FEDVIP replacement that begins coverage in 2019.
How Does FEDVIP Compare With The Old TRICARE TRDP Program?
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program or FEDVIP differs from the old TRICARE TRDP program as it requires the beneficiary to select a provider from a list of carriers including (but not limited to) the following:
- Aetna Dental
- Delta Dental
- FEP BlueDental
- United Concordia Dental
As you can see from the list above, Delta Dental is still associated with military retiree dental insurance, and TRICARE official site for the FEDVIP transition offers a plan comparison tool that will help you view the different types of plans, costs, and coverages to select the carrier right for you.
Coverage details will vary depending on the carrier and the nature of the insurance plan, there is no centralized list of services and procedures under FEDVIP.
General Coverage Information Under FEDVIP
The nature of an individual dental care plan for retirees will depend greatly on what the retiree chooses, the carrier selected, and the services available in the local area. However, in general, the TRICARE official site names the following as being typical to FEDVIP dental plans:
- 100% coverage for in-network preventive services;
- Zero deductibles for in-network dentists;
- No waiting period for major services including crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants;
- Some coverage plans may feature orthodontic coverage “without a 12-month waiting period and age limit”.
How Do I Enroll In FEDVIP?
Once the open season begins, all enrollees will use the BENEFEDS enrollment portal whether switching out of the old TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan into FEDVIP or enrolling for retiree dental coverage for the first time.
BENEFEDS is to be used for every open season enrollment period starting with the 2018 season.
What Is BENEFEDS?
When it’s time to transition into FEDVIP or enroll in it for the first time, BENEFEDS is the official website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management enrollment portal that provides access to sign up for FEDVIP coverage. BENEFEDS is also the site responsible for managing FEDVIP billing and customer service functions.
Am I Required To Stay With Delta Dental After Switching To FEDVIP?
No. There are ten carriers to choose from in total, including Delta Dental.
What If I Want To Stay With Delta Dental In The Transition To The FEDVIP Program?
Those who selected Delta Dental as the carrier under the old TRICARE Retiree Dental Program and want to remain with Delta Dental should take the advice from the Delta Dental official site:
“If you’re currently enrolled in the TRDP, you will not automatically be enrolled in a FEDVIP plan for 2019…You can stay with us at Delta Dental simply by choosing one of our Delta Dental FEDVIP plans during the enrollment period”.
Making the switch to FEDVIP during the Open Season means selecting a new provider or selecting Delta Dental to continue providing dental services.
It is a very good idea to compare plans before choosing a carrier so that you know what the specific costs, co-pays, deductibles, and covered services are; you may find that plans vary depending on zip code and other variables.
Is Transitioning Out Of The Old TRICARE Dental Program Into FEDVIP Automatic?
No. In order to transition from the old TRICARE retiree dental program into a FEDVIDS dental plan, you must enroll for FEDVIP during the Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs November 12 through December 10, 2018.
Is There Any Chance To Switch To FEDVIP After The Open Season Ends?
In most cases, no. There is an exception, which may be made on a case-by-case basis and is not automatic, for those who have experienced a “qualifying life event” or QLE.
What Is Considered A Qualifying Life Event (QLE)?
A qualifying life event is a situation permitting the retiree to enroll or cancel FEDVIP insurance coverage “outside of an annual open season”. These life events include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Getting married;
- Losing other dental or vision coverage;
- Gaining or losing a family member;
- Restoration of uniformed services pay or retirement pay after having been reduced, forfeited, or terminated;
- Switching status from a uniformed services retiree to active duty.
Who Is Eligible For FEDVIP And Can Transition Out Of The Old Retiree Dental Plan?
The TRICARE official site states, “In general, retired uniformed service members and their families who were eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) are eligible for Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) dental coverage, and if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, FEDVIP vision coverage.”
The site adds that family members of active duty military members enrolled in TRICARE health plans may also be eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage effective January 1, 2019. The key to getting this coverage is enrolling during the Federal Benefits Open Season.
I Pay For My Dental Coverage Using An Allotment Or Automatic Payment. What Happens Under FEDVIP?
When you enroll for retiree dental coverage under FEDVIP, you will be asked a series of questions about your eligibility for the program as well as how you need to pay for the dental coverage. An allotment or other automatic payment will be set up for you based on your answers to those questions and other parts of the enrollment process.
Be prepared to set up your allotment when enrolling with bank account information, routing numbers, and other details where applicable.
I Had Automatic Payments To Delta Dental Under The Old TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan. Do I Need To Cancel Them?
The TRICARE official site states that no action is required to cancel the payments to Delta Dental once 2018 coverage has expired. Delta Dental is responsible for canceling any automatic payments when the transition period has ended.
Are Active Duty Military Members Affected By The Transition From TRDP to FEDVIP?
Active duty uniformed service members are not affected by the switch from TRDP to FEDVIP. Active duty military members have dental and vision coverage provided by TRICARE. Dependent family members remain eligible to enroll in the TRICARE Dental Program.
There may be a benefit to some military dependents, however; dependents will become eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan. It may be necessary to use the FEDVIP eligibility tool provided at the TRICARE site to learn more about this coverage opportunity.
Is FEDVIP A New Program?
According to the TRICARE official site, “more than 3.3 million people already enrolled give the program high marks for quality and value”. FEDVIP is not a brand-new, untested program.
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