The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) replaced the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) last year in 2018. As per the 2004 Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act, arrangements were made for the federal retirees, employees, as well as their dependants to provide them with dental and vision benefits.
The changes were made after the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 announced that eligible beneficiaries should get the opportunity to avail dental and vision plans that are offered to the federal employees.
Eligibility for the FEDVIP program:
- Postal and federal retirees, employees,
- Retired Reserve and Guard members,
- Recipients of Medal of Honor, and their dependants on the enrollee-pay-all basis.
If you were eligible for TRDP, then you are eligible to avail the dental and vision benefits under this new program, even if you weren’t previously enrolled in the TRICARE dental plan.
Annuitants can also enroll in this program if:
- Retired on direct annuity from the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), or any other retirement system for federal government employees.
- Retired due to disability under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), or any other retirement system for federal government employees.
To access the FEDVIP program, all the employees should have eligibility for Health Insurance Marketplace or Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) under the position, which isn’t excluded by any regulation or law.
Being enrolled in these programs isn’t necessary – as long as you are eligible to enroll in these programs, you are also eligible to apply for FEDVIP.
Active-Duty Members and Dependants
The military employees active on duty are not eligible to avail the dental and vision plans under FEDVIP. They can attain dental or vision care from specified military clinics and hospitals. The families of active-duty members can’t avail dental coverage, but they are still eligible for the vision coverage under FEDVIP. They can continue availing dental coverage offered under TRICARE.
However, the good news is that the active-duty families will soon be eligible for dental plans available under FEDVIP as per the recent law passed by Congress. All non-activated Guard and Reserve members, active-duty employees, as well as their family members, will be able to avail the dental benefits under FEDVIP, earliest by 2022.
As for the members of a reserve component and their dependants, enrolled for Reserve Select TRICARE, they can avail vision benefits under FEDVIP, but not dental benefits.
Dental Plans Offered
This dental and vision program offers ten dental plans that you can select as per your location. The regional dental plans are:
- Triple-S Salud
- Dominion Dental
The national/international plans include:
- United Concordia Dental
- FEP BlueDental
- Delta Dental
- Aetna Dental
The majority of these dental plans provide high level or standard benefits. The high level dental plans typically have reduced co-pay for all services covered, and a high premium every month. All these dental plans also offer three family coverage plans – family, self plus one, and self only.
TRICARE Program vs. FEDVIP Program
With the introduction of FEDVIP, many members are confused between this program and the TRICARE program. It is essential to have an understanding of both these programs so you can make the right choice for you and your family. The main difference between these two programs is your preference.
The TRICARE program offers a ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan. However, FEDVIP offers a range of ten different dental plans options for every individual. The costs of these plans may vary, but in most cases, FEDVIP dental plans have a decreased premium and better coverage as compared to TRICARE plans.
The monthly costs for both programs, of course, vary according to locations.
FEDVIP has no deductibles when you go to one of the dentists from their network, however with the previous TRICARE retiree program; every individual had to pay a certain amount annually.
There isn’t any waiting period for the majority of dental services, including implants, dentures, bridges, and crowns under FEDVIP program. However, there was up to a 12-month waiting period for these dental services under the TRICARE program.
Enrolling in the FEDVIP Plan
If you are eligible to receive dental and vision benefits under the FEDVIP program, then all you have to do is compare the dental and vision plans and their rates as per your ZIP code and apply for the one that meets your requirements.
When you enroll for the FEDVIP program, there is no need to renew it annually as it continues automatically unless you opt to make changes in your selected plan. The changes can be made during the open season, which occurs annually.
Changes in the plan can also be made outside of the annual open season, only in case of qualifying life event, for instance, losing a member of the family, addition of a member in the family, losing other vision or dental coverage, or getting married.The retirees enrolled in the FEDVIP vision and dental plans start paying for premiums from the retirement payment they receive. In case their retirement pay isn’t sufficient for the payments, automatic bank withdrawals can be made since payment through credit cards isn’t an option.
All vision and dental plans do seem similar at first glance, but there are numerous differences when you read the fine print. Whichever dental plan you select, it is essential that you go through all the details and determine if it can cater to your need, and whether your preferred dentist is among the in-network dentists.
It is always a good idea to compare dental plans to get a better idea of what is covered and what isn’t. If you are looking for affordable dental plans, then feel free to browse through this Dental Plan Provider site. We can help you find a range of dental plans as per your location. You even get an extra 10% off when joining online!