TRICARE Dental and Vision Updates for 2021

tricare dental changes

More Dental and Vision Plans to Choose from in 2021

On August 11, 2020, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that they have expanded the list of insurance carriers in Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP).

  • Dental Carriers – increase from 10 to 12
  • Vision Carriers – increase from 4 to 5

The number of dental carriers available will increase from 10 to 12, and the number of vision carriers will increase from 4 to 5 in the coming year. All vision carriers are offered nationwide, while five of the dental carriers will be offered on a regional basis only.

The new national dental carrier is UnitedHealthcare Dental PPO. The new regional dental carriers are Dominion Dental EPO, and HealthPartners. The new national vision carrier is MetLife Vision.

“The competitive application process allowed OPM to strengthen the FEDVIP program through increased focus on wellness and education. OPM improved quality assurance, financial reporting processes, and enhanced fraud waste and abuse requirements,” OPM said in a news release.

Even before these improvements, results of a 2019 survey of federal benefits indicated solid levels of satisfaction among FEDVIP enrollees. Those survey results are meaningful given that a total of 6.9 million federal employees, members of the military, retirees, and family members are currently covered under the dental and vision insurance programs.

If you’re eligible for the FEDVIP program you’ll be able to enroll, cancel, or change your coverage during the 2021 open enrollment season, which lasts from November 9 to December 14 this year. New and newly eligible employees, military members and retirees can enroll within the 60 days after they become eligible.

Previous Updates: 2020 TRICARE Dental and Vision Changes

Here are the TRICARE dental changes for 2020.

The rates for vision and retiree dental insurance will be increasing in 2020. If you are enrolled in FEDVIP, which is vision insurance for military dependents, retirees, and their families and dental insurance for retirees and their families, you will have needed to decide if you were going to change plans or stick with what you have based on the new 2020 rates.

Dental premiums will increase by 5.6% on average over current rates, according to TRICARE. The Federal Benefits Open Season began on November 11th and ended December 9th. If you wanted to change your plan and did not do so during Open Season, you would need to have a FEDVIP qualifying life event in order to do so now.

These are Qualifying Life Events:

  • Military:
    • Activating
    • De-activating
    • Injured on active duty
    • Moving
    • Separating from active duty
    • Retiring
  • Family Changes:
    • Getting married
    • Divorced
    • Giving birth or adopting
    • Placement of a child by a court in a member’s home
    • A child going to college
    • A child becoming an adult
    • Becoming Medicare eligible
    • Moving
    • Death in the family
    • Losing or gaining health insurance
  • Government-directed:
    • PCM changes
    • Plan changes

You also might be able to qualify for Belated Enrollment. You can use the FEDVIP plan comparison tool to see what these changes mean for you. In 2020, FEDVIP will offer 10 dental and 4 vision carriers you can choose from.

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) ended on December 31, 2018. Anyone who had that plan was able to choose a dental plan from among 10 different dental carriers in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP.) Coverage started on January 1, 2019, after a short enrollment period.

FEDVIP has not been available to Department of Defense beneficiaries before but now will be to those who have been eligible for TRDP. This includes most retirees, as well as dependents up until age 21 if they are not a student, and 23 if they are. Active duty families can qualify for FEDVIP Vision but will need to wait until 2022 for FEDVIP Dental. Active duty service members are not eligible.

Please note that FEDVIP is the same plan that is used by Civil Service and Government Retirees.

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.

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Caroline Sposto is a writer, actor, and the founder of Savvy Civility, an educational company that specializes in civilian role play training. She has a passion for the arts, education, and small business.