Paycheck Chronicles

New Dental and Vision Plans for 2019: Rates and More

Insurance open season enrollment 18x12

You may have heard that in 2019 the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan is going to be replaced by the FEDVIP program. What exactly does this mean to you?

What Is Happening?

Effective Jan. 1, 2019 the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) will cease to exist, and will be replaced by the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

The more than 3.3 million federal employees and retirees enrolled in FEDVIP consistently give it high marks for service and value. The FEDVIP program has 10 dental and four vision carriers to choose from.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Starting in 2019 all retirees will be able to enroll in a FEDVIP dental program. All retirees and family members of active duty members will also be able to enroll in a FEDVIP vision program. The existing TRICARE benefit of one eye exam each year is not going away. This new vision plan is voluntary, and allows you to get expanded vision coverage.

Dental Programs

FEDVIP has a total of 10 different dental plans to choose from, depending on your location:

National/International Plans

  • Aetna Dental

  • Delta Dental

  • FEP BlueDental

  • GEHA

  • MetLife

  • United Concordia Dental

Regional Plans

  • Dominion Dental

  • EmblemHealth

  • Humana

  • Triple-S Salud

Most plans offer offers a standard or high level benefit. The high level plan usually has a lower copay for covered services, more covered services, and a higher monthly premium. All plans also offer 3 different flavors of family coverage:

  • Self only

  • Self plus one

  • Family

Coverage

Unlike TRDP, many FEDVIP dental plans have no deductible, the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. While TRDP also has a maximum payout of $1,300 per person each year, FEDVIP usually has a higher maximum and some plans have no limits.

And if you need a filling you would pay 20 percent of the cost under TRDP, under FEDVIP you normally pay nothing if using a network dentist.

If you need crowns, dentures, or braces the coverage is similar under both plans. Some plans normally require you to be enrolled for 12 months before they will pay for orthodontics. When switching from TRDP to FEDVIP make sure you pick a plan with no waiting period if you want that treatment covered immediately.

Premiums

Like TRDP, the FEDVIP dental plans have different costs depending on where you live.

Under TRDP your monthly premium could range from $28.90 - $40.60 per month for an individual to $101.12 to $143.48 for a family, depending on your location.

Under FEDVIP your costs could range from $18.81 - $40.60 for an individual to $56.40 - $171.45 for family coverage, depending on your location.

Like any other insurance product, the higher priced plans usually offer a lower copay, more covered services, and a wider selection of providers to choose from.

Vision Programs

FEDVIP vision insurance will let retirees, their families, and families of active-duty members choose from among the following insurance companies:

  • Aetna Vision

  • FEP BlueVision

  • UnitedHealthcare Vision

  • VSP Vision Care

Each plan offers a standard or high level benefit. The high level plan usually has a lower copay for covered services, and a higher monthly premium. All plans also offer 3 different  flavors of family coverage:

  • Self only

  • Self plus one

  • Family

Premiums

Monthly premiums range from $6.70 to $14.43 for self only to $19.46 to $43.38 for family coverage.

Coverage

All plans give you one eye exam, and a pair of glasses or supply of contact lenses each year. The participating eye doctors and retailers vary by plan, as do the copayments and the quantity of contact lenses or types of glasses you are able to purchase.

To Find Out More

BENEFEDS has created a website that lets you check out all the available plans for your location. The website allows you to see monthly premiums, review all plan coverage materials, see participating providers, and even compare different plans to see what may work best for your individual situation.

My advice to you: use the next rainy weekend, or five hour plane trip to slog your way through all the information. While many plans appear the same at first glance you may notice that your favorite dentist isn't available under one, or another plan may not pay for the contact lenses your daughter prefers.

You have to make a decision soon though. You can only sign up for both dental and vision insurance during the open season timeframe which lasts from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10. After that you are pretty much stuck in your decision until next year's open season, or if you have a "Qualifying Life Event" like adding a family member or moving to a new location.

So, choose wisely, and good luck!

Keep Up With Changes In TRICARE And Your Other Benefits

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