As a retired member of the armed forces, you may be entitled to low-cost dental insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Compared to the now-defunct TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), you can choose between multiple dental insurance providers.
We’ll take a closer look at FEDVIP dental programs, explore who is eligible, how much coverage costs and how you can choose a plan. We’ll also introduce you to a few of our favorite FEDVIP-approved providers.
The Best Dental Insurance for Retired Military Members:
- Best Overall for Retired Military: Delta Dental
- Best for Low-Cost Coverage: Dominion Dental
- Best for Low Coinsurance Rates: MetLife
- Best for Affordable Deductibles: Humana
- Best for Plans Outside of FEDVIP: DentalPlans.com
- The Best Dental Insurance for Retired Military Members:
- Who is Eligible for Retired Military Dental Insurance?
- Types of Dental Coverage
- Average Cost of Retired Military Dental Insurance
- What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
- Best Retired Military Dental Insurance Providers
- Choose the Best Military Dental Insurance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Eligible for Retired Military Dental Insurance?
At least one of the following qualifications must be true to qualify for FEDVIP discounted retired military dental insurance. You must be:
- Over the age of 65 and qualified to receive retired military pay.
- A member of the Retired Reserve or Guard.
- A retired “gray-area” reservist set to begin receiving retired military benefits beginning at age 60.
- The spouse of a retired service member who is already enrolled with FEDVIP.
- The child of a service member who receives FEDVIP benefits — you must be under age 21 or a full-time student under age 23.
- The unmarried surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-related injury or illness.
- A Medal of Honor recipient or the spouse of a Medal of Honor recipient.
You may enroll in FEDVIP only during the open enrollment period. This period usually begins in mid-November and runs until late December. However, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve experienced any of the following qualifying life events:
- Lost your dental insurance (for example, by leaving a job of having your independent coverage canceled)
- Gained a new family member
- Lost a family member
- Moved to another ZIP code and no longer have dental insurance because your provider doesn’t service your new area
Not sure you qualify for a special enrollment period? Create an enrollment profile at BENEFEDS.
Types of Dental Coverage
FEDVIP dental insurance plans are serviced by private companies. These companies often offer both DHMO and PPO coverage. Let’s take a look at the differences.
- Dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs): DHMOs have a set network of dental service providers that accept your insurance. When you sign onto a DHMO plan, your insurance provider gives you a list of dentists in your network who accept your insurance plan. If you need dental work or services, you must go to one of the dentists in your network. Otherwise, you cannot use your benefits. DHMOs are usually the most affordable dental insurance options you’ll find but service areas can be quite limited.
- Preferred provider organizations (PPOs): You can choose to see any dentist you’d like if you have a PPO plan — though you can almost always save money by visiting an in-network provider. PPO plans are usually more expensive than DHMO plans, but they might be worth the extra expense if you already have a dentist you like.
Average Cost of Retired Military Dental Insurance
The FEDVIP marketplace gives you access to significant discounts on dental insurance. For an individual plan, expect to pay between $10 and $15 a month for coverage. For a family plan, expect to pay between $30 and $45 a month.
What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Provider
Not every dental insurance plan is a great deal. When you shop for insurance, be sure to look for these key features:
- An affordable deductible: Your deductible is a set amount of money you must spend on your own dental bills before your insurance kicks in and starts paying for your care. If you choose a plan with a deductible that’s too high, you could get stuck with an insurance plan that you can’t afford to use. Search for plans with deductibles that fit your budget — some insurance providers even offer $0 deductible options.
- A low coinsurance percentage: Coinsurance is the percentage of your dental health care costs you need to cover after you meet your deductible. For example, if you receive a bill for $100 and you have a 20% coinsurance rate, you’d be responsible for covering $20 out of this bill. Look for an insurance plan with low coinsurance rates to get the most out of your dental insurance plan.
- Plenty of covered treatments: Unlike health insurance providers, dental insurance providers are free to pick and choose which services they’ll cover. For example, many dental insurance companies exclude adult sealants and orthodontics from coverage. Be sure to check your official statement of benefits before you enroll in any dental insurance plan.
Best Retired Military Dental Insurance Providers
Now that you understand how dental insurance works, it’s time to search for coverage. Let’s take a look at some of the best dental insurance providers you’ll see on the FEDVIP marketplace.
1. Best Overall: Delta Dental
The former provider of choice for TRDP, Delta Dental continues to be our top choice for FEDVIP plans. Insurance options from Delta Dental are exceptionally affordable. You can find PPO coverage for just $10 a month for an individual in most parts of the country.
Delta Dental is available in nearly every ZIP code and its plans are also available to service members who live outside the U.S. Delta Dental is our top choice for retired military members with its comprehensive coverage choices, affordable plans and large coverage area.
2. Best for Low-Cost Coverage: Dominion Dental
You may be living on a fixed income. This can make it more important than ever to ensure that you aren’t overpaying for insurance.
You may be looking for the most affordable coverage available, so consider a plan from Dominion Dental.
Dominion Dental offers some of the most consistently affordable plans. Individual options begin at about $6 a month. It also offers $0 deductibles on its most affordable plans when you need to visit the dentist.
3. Best for Low Coinsurance Rates: MetLife
A high coinsurance percentage can seriously affect your budget — especially if you or someone on your plan needs a major dental procedure. MetLife’s MetLife Federal Dental Plan offers PPO coverage as well as low coinsurance rates.
You’ll pay 0% coinsurance for routine services and just 30% for basic corrective procedures (like cavity fillings). Plans also include coverage for orthodontics. You’ll pay just 30% of the cost of any orthodontics, which can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars of savings. Best of all, MetLife’s plans have no lifetime maximum benefits limit.
4. Best for Affordable Deductibles: Humana
Plan to balance the cost of your deductible with your monthly premium? If so, search for a plan from Humana. Humana’s federal insurance plans include a $0 deductible on its most affordable plan choices.
Dental insurance from Humana costs as little as $12 per month in most parts of the country and a family will pay around $35 a month. Plans also include a no maximum benefit limit and 0% coinsurance for preventive services.
5. Best for Plans Outside of FEDVIP: DentalPlans.com
Don’t like any of the plans you’re seeing on the FEDVIP marketplace? If you want to shop for coverage on the open market, start with a visit to DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com is a quick and easy comparison tool that allows you to view and compare all of the dental insurance plans available in your area. Just enter your ZIP code and click 1 button to start shopping for insurance. DentalPlans.com can give you access to more plan options. Keep in mind that non-FEDVIP plans may cost a bit more than marketplace options.
Choose the Best Military Dental Insurance
The specific plan options you’ll have available to you will depend on where you live and the dental insurance companies licensed to operate in your area. Be sure to get a few quotes from competing insurance companies to ensure that you don’t overpay for coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: How does dental insurance work?
A dental insurance plan charges a premium in exchange for covered benefits. Unlike health insurance plans, dental insurance plans usually have a cap on benefits, which means your plan may stop providing coverage once you reach the annual cap, often between 1k and 3K. Like other types of healthcare insurance, dental insurance focuses coverage on essential services, like cleanings, fillings, etc. Many plans don’t cover braces or elective cosmetic procedures. Get the cheapest premium here.
2) Q: Is dental coverage part of health insurance?
Some health insurance plans bundle dental coverage as well but, in many cases, dental insurance is a separate plan. Healthcare plans that are ACA-compliant are required to offer dental coverage to children but there is no requirement that adults have dental insurance coverage. Choosing a separate dental insurance plan can be a cost-saving step and helps make dental health costs more predictable. Check out our best providers for the cheapest rate.
3) Q: What kinds of dental insurance are available?
Your choices for dental insurance plans are similar to health insurance choices. You can choose from a dental HMO, which helps to keep premium costs low by keeping services within controlled network. Dental PPOs give more freedom to choose your dentist and care but cost more than HMO plans. A third option is called a dental indemnity plan, which pays a fixed amount or percentage for covered services. Compare quotes from our top providers for the best price.
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