VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Beginning May 1, United Concordia Companies, Inc. now manages the TRICARE Dental Program.
As opposed to the Active Duty Dental Program, and TRICARE Retiree Dental Program, which will not change, the TRICARE Dental Program covers dependents’ dental care which now differs under the new contract.
“As of May 1 2017, United Concordia became the contractor for the TRICARE Dental Program, which is the active duty family member dental coverage,” said Capt. Marquis Smith, 30th Medical Support Squadron Tricare Operations and Patient Admin flight commander. “With this change, there will be a reduction in the premium rates to $11.10 for one dependent, or $28.87 for a family with two or more dependents. There will also be an increase in the annual coverage limit from $1,300 to $1,500 per fiscal year, per enrollee. There also will be a zero percent cost share for dependents, up to age 18, who need sealant on their teeth. Previously, the patient had to cover 20 percent of the cost of the sealant procedure.”
With the change taking place on May 1 to align with the current benefits calendar, members of the 30th Medical Group emphasize that active duty and retiree coverage will not be effected.
“The reason it started May 1 is because the benefits calendar year runs from May 1 through April 30 each year,” said 1st Lt. Anna Lain, 30th MDG group practice manager. “When you see the annual maximum benefits went up from $1,300 to $1,500 that is the timeline to use that money. United Concordia won the bid and our dental contractor is changing. This is only for dependents. Active duty and retired personnel fall under separate dental programs.”
With the new plan increasing the maximum coverage limit, eliminating the 20 percent cost share for sealant procedures, changing the auto-enrollment age from four to one, and mostly decreasing monthly premiums – the changes are expected to save members and their dependents money overall. However, patients are urged to check and see if their dentist is still in the network under the new contract.
“The most important thing for patients to do now is check to see if their current dentist is in-network or not,” said Lain. “Patients can see non-network dentists, but under the new contract, non-network dentists get reimbursed for a lower amount. The patient will be responsible for the balance of the bill after the TRICARE dental program has paid the reimbursable amount covered. If a patient would like to nominate their provider to be in-network, there is a tab to do that from the same ‘find a provider’ link online. United Concordia will reach out to the dentists to see if they would like to become an in-network provider.”
Additionally, the 30th MDG is not the authority on the changes in policy, but is a valuable resource center to guide members toward further information.
“I must caveat that the 30th Medical Group has no hand in any part of the Tricare Dental Program,” said Smith. “We are serving as a conduit of information to prepare our beneficiaries for the transition. For more information, we strongly encourage our beneficiaries to visit www.tricare.mil/dental, as well as www.uccitdp.com. The most important thing for our beneficiaries to remember is, prior to their next visit, they should make sure their provider is still in the network by utilizing the provider tool on the United Concordia website. The websites include a number of resources for contacts and additional information.”