Open Enrollment: How to Choose a Dental Plan

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Choosing the Right Dental Plan

This year’s open enrollment season for choosing a dental plan runs from Nov. 11, 2019, through midnight EST Dec. 9, 2019, for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Retirees who are currently enrolled in a Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) plan will automatically continue enrollment into 2020. If you want to cancel or change your dental plan in any way, you must contact BENEFEDS during open enrollment.

With a wide selection of 10 different FEDVIP dental plans to choose from, how do you know which plan best fits your needs? Here are some factors to help you make the best choice.

Out-of-Pocket Costs for Different Plan Types

A Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plan includes predictable, pre-determined fees designed for transparency. In a DHMO plan, there are specific co-payments listed for each covered service. If you know the dental procedures you need to have completed, you will know exactly how much you will pay for your dental care before you even go to the dentist.

A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan covers procedures as a co-insurance percentage. With a PPO plan, your out-of-pocket costs may not be immediately evident. For example, a major service like a crown may be covered at 50%. To calculate your actual cost, you will need to determine how much your dentist will charge you for that procedure under the contracted arrangement with the dental plan.

Many dental carriers provide a comparison tool that will allow you to compare features and your cost for specific procedures. Compare costs and co-pays for standard and high Dominion Dental Services plans here.

Anticipated Dental Services for the Upcoming Year

It is helpful to understand your specific dental needs in order to make an informed decision. FEDVIP offers standard and high option plans. If you know you will need major dental work done, you might want to select a high option plan that may cover more of the cost for major restorative procedures. If you need only preventive dental care, a standard option plan may make more sense.

Look for limitations, such as annual maximums or orthodontic lifetime maximums, to ensure that you are not paying out-of-pocket after you’ve reached a plan’s limit.

Also, check whether the plan has any waiting periods that may be a barrier to receiving immediate dental care.

Access to Care

Verify that your dentist is part of your dental plan. If you have long-term loyalty to your dentist, you will want to confirm that your dentist is in the network.

If you're selecting a new dentist, review the plan’s network to ensure the dentist's office is near your home or office. Most plans offer an online provider search. You may also want to confirm participation with the provider’s office. Dominion Dental Services has more than 5,500 dental providers in the FEDVIP network. Check out Dominion’s provider search tool. If your dentist is not listed, you can nominate them for consideration to the Dominion network.


Last but not least, during open enrollment, it is important to compare the monthly premium for each plan. Affordability is important. Oral health doesn’t have to be expensive. Many insurance companies offer low-cost plans that entirely or mostly cover the costs for oral exams, cleanings, fillings and X-rays.

Enjoy Premium Dental Care

Dominion Dental Services offers select dental plans for federal employees and retirees with competitive rates. Dominion provides extensive coverage at predictable, pre-determined fees with no deductible.

Ready to Learn More About Dental Coverage?

Dominion Dental Services is the only HMO plan offered in the FEDVIP program. It has no annual maximums, deductibles or waiting periods.

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