Military Advantage

Postcards Warning of Tricare Dental Changes Are in the Mail

(U.S. Army/Maria Pinel)
(U.S. Army/Maria Pinel)

Military retirees should soon find a postcard in their mailboxes reminding them that Tricare's retiree dental program will shutter later this year.

Currently, military retirees can purchase dental insurance through Tricare's Delta Dental coverage program. 

But a law passed in 2017 ends that service and instead allows military retirees access to a dental insurance coverage marketplace currently used only by federal civilian employees. The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) also lets retirees purchase vision insurance, an option that is not otherwise available through Tricare.

But to get that coverage, retirees must select a new plan by Dec. 10, well before Tricare's dental plan ends Dec. 31.

"Get Ready: You may enroll during Open Season -- from Nov. 12 through Dec. 10, 2018 -- visit tricare.benefeds.com to learn more about FEDVIP open season and to sign up for email alerts," the postcards state.

Those cards are being sent on a rolling basis to about 2.94 million military retirees, Tricare officials said.

Meanwhile, similar cards are also being sent to almost one million active-duty families. A separate 2017 law change opened the vision insurance of the FEDVIP program to active-duty families.

These new cards are an effort to make sure retirees know what's coming, something some Tricare users say officials have not done well in the past.

As Tricare prepared to roll out a series of sweeping changes that kicked off Jan. 1, beneficiaries were sent letters warning them of new prices, plan name changes, contractor swaps, and the need to update payment information, among other changes.

But many users said they never received those notices and were blindsided, while others were sent a series of contradictory information due to system glitches.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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