Military retirees and their families will have to change their dental plans for 2019 by switching over from the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program will end on December 31, 2018, requiring those enrolled in the program to switch their coverage over to one of 10 dental plans under the FEDVIP program. Automatic enrollment will not occur when the TRICARE dental plan ends, meaning that recipients will have to actively chose plans during the FEDVIP open enrollment season, which takes place November 12 through December 10.
“The FEDVIP system is different from the Beneficiary Web Enrollment portal currently used to enroll with TRICARE. BENEFEDS is the government-authorized and OPM-contracted enrollment portal through which eligible participants enroll, and manage their family members’ coverage in a FEDVIP plan. There is a microsite dedicated just for TRICARE beneficiaries where they will be able to get enrollment and other information,” an OPM spokesperson told Federal Times.
The change is prompted by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, which granted eligibility for certain TRICARE members to transition over to benefits offered under FEDVIP. This dental transition, however, does not have an impact on recipients’ standard TRICARE health plans.
In addition to retirees and their families, members of the Retired Reserve, non-active Medal of Honor recipients, survivors and family members of active-duty service members also have the option to enroll in dental and one of four vision plans under FEDVIPS.
This is the first time that most military families will have the option to sign up for vision benefits, though they must be signed up for a TRICARE Health Plan to be eligible.
According to OPM, this change could impact approximately 5.4 million individuals, and those eligible for the new plans will receive notification by mail.
This article has been updated to reflect new information provided by OPM.
Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.