***This program was replaced with a new dental program in 2018.***
In May of 2012, the military switched dental providers. The Tricare dental coverage program is now provided by MetLife. Enrollment is very similar to the old system and can be completed by phone, by mail or online.
Dental Enrollment Period
You can enroll in the Tricare Dental Program at any time of the year. However, your sponsor must still have 12 months left on his contract at the time of enrollment as it is a minimum of a 12-month enrollment period. There are a few exceptions which can be explained to you when you enroll.
Types of Tricare Dental Plans
Single and family dental plans are offered. For family plans, all eligible family members must enroll unless there is a child under age 4, family members are living in multiple locations or there is a family member that requires special medical attention. Single dental plans are great if you don’t have children.
MetLife Dental Premiums
For active duty family members, the single rate is just over $10/month and the family rate is just over $30/month (as of 2013). You can see updated rates as well as rates for those who aren’t active duty here. Premiums are paid through an allotment from the soldier’s paycheck.
Just as with other Tricare plans, if you enroll before the 20th of the month, your coverage starts on the 1st day of the next month. If you enroll after the 20th, your coverage starts on the 1st day of the 2nd month. In other words, if you enroll on May 15th, your coverage starts June 1st. If you enroll on May 21st, your coverage starts July 1st.
MetLife Cost Shares for Dental
In addition to your monthly premiums, there are cost shares for service above and beyond “routine” cleanings. The cost share is based on the rank of the sponsor and can be found here.
You will need to use an in-network provider to avoid paying additional fees. You can find the one closest to you here.
My Experience with Tricare Dental
When my husband was active duty, we had the Tricare dental plan and it was a deal. I’m one of the lucky ones who has never had a cavity (*knock on wood*) so my bills are pretty minimal at the dentist. But it still saved us money versus having to pay for cleanings and x-rays out of pocket. Not to mention, it was there if something bigger did happen.
I did have that oh so fun experience when the dentist told me I had no choice – the wisdom teeth had to come out! All four was quite the expense but luckily the military dental insurance covered a large portion of the bill. No complaints here. Just ensure you are using an in-network dentist.
What has your experience been like with the new dental plan? Has it been comparable to the old Tricare Dental Program? Please share in comments.
Last updated: September 17, 2013