Did you hear about the upcoming changes to the Tricare dental contract? They are big, good and worth knowing about.
What You Need to Know About the New Tricare Dental Plan
What, exactly, is happening? Every few years Tricare re-bids the contracts under which their different plans are operated. When they redid the dental contract it was awarded to United Concordia instead of MetLife. That means your dental coverage through Tricare will be managed by United Concordia, not MetLife, starting May 1, 2017. If you’ve been around awhile like I have, you’ll remember that United Concordia was the dental network boss until 2012 when MetLife took it over. What’s old is new again.
This only impacts Active Duty families and Guard and Reserve members and their families who sign up for dental coverage. Remember, Tricare dental coverage is voluntary and carries a monthly fee. This change does not impact retirees.
The best part: all the rates are going down! In case you haven’t noticed before, rates generally tend to go up. Every year. Like clockwork. But this year? Rates are going down. A miracle! How much? Read more here.
Coverage is only getting better — and there are three key benefit changes to know. The three major changes to coverage, according to Army Col. James Honey, are an increase from the annual maximum benefit cap (in other words, the most Tricare will pay per person, per year for dental coverage) is increasing from $1,300 to $1,500. Woohoo, $200 extra per person! Next, sealants will carry no out-of-pocket cost, instead of a 20 percent copay (yay!). And finally, 1-year-old kids registered in DEERS will be automatically added to a dependent’s dental plan (in the past kids weren’t auto-added until they turned four). There are no decreases to any current coverage included in the new contract, he said.
You may need to change dentists — but don’t panic yet. The new contractor is still working with the dental network to see which ones will be “in network” and which ones won’t. It’s certainly possible that some dentists who take the MetLife version won’t continue with the United Concordia version — but it’s going to be a few months before you can say with certainty that you’re going to need or want to change. And remember: you can use an out of network dentist, but you’ll pay more.
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