DoD Live Open Season MarkYourCalendar

Now is the time to consider the adequacy of personal and family health, dental and vision coverage plans.

The concurrent open seasons for TRICARE and the Federal Health Benefits insurance programs starts Nov. 11. This is the period when changes to enrollment and new memberships are accepted. The opportunity ends Dec. 9.

TRICARE Open Season applies to anyone enrolled in or eligible for its Prime (including U.S. Family Health) or Select plans. Federal Benefits Open Season is for enrollment in the Federal Employees’ Dental and Vision Insurance Program, typically referred to as FEDVIP. Enrollment choices made during this period will take effect on Jan. 1.

“Every year, your health coverage needs may change,” noted Mark Ellis, chief of TRICARE’s Policy and Programs Section at the Defense Health Agency. “Open season is your chance to think about the kind of coverage you’ll need for the coming year and make any changes.”

To get ready for open season, beneficiaries can use aids on the TRICARE website, like the Plan Finder, tricare.mil/Plans/PlanFinder, and the Compare Cost Tool at tricare.mil/Costs/Compare. These resources help individuals see which plans they’re eligible for and help them compare coverage specifics and costs. On the FEDVIP enrollment website, www.benefeds.com, government workers can enroll in or make changes to vision and dental plans. The website provides tools to help users find the right coverage for themselves and their families.

During open season, eligible beneficiaries have the following options:

  • Do nothing. Those who want to stay in their current TRICARE or FEDVIP plan don’t have to take any action. Coverage will continue through 2020 or as long as they’re eligible.
  • Enroll. Individuals eligible for TRICARE Prime or Select but not enrolled can do so during this period.
  • Change plans.  TRICARE Prime or Select enrollees can switch plans and add coverage for eligible family members.

The health benefits open season doesn’t apply to TRICARE for Life coverage, which is automatic for those who have Medicare Parts A and B. Open season also doesn’t apply to the following premium-based plans: TRICARE Retired Reserve; TRICARE Reserve Select; TRICARE Young Adult; and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.

As specified in the TRICARE Plans Overview, authorized beneficiaries can purchase premium-based plans any time. However, outside of the TRICARE Open Season, changes to Prime or Select plans are only allowed during Qualifying Life Events such as marriage, birth of a child, change of address, or retirement from active duty. Different TRICARE health plans may be available to individuals and their family members after a QLE.

FEDVIP, managed by the Office of Personnel Management, offers eligible TRICARE beneficiaries a wide range of choices for vision and dental coverage. Some providers offer both high and standard options, which vary in cost. Consumers should pay close attention to what’s offered in each plan and associated factors like co-pays and plan acceptance by preferred care providers.

As with TRICARE, those already enrolled in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan are good to go if they don’t wish to make changes during open season. Their coverage will automatically continue in 2020.

Those eligible for FEDVIP dental coverage include:

  • Retired military and their eligible family members
  • Retired National Guardsmen and Reservists and their eligible family members
  • Certain survivors of fallen military personnel
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their immediate family members and survivors

Those who may qualify to purchase FEDVIP vision coverage include:

  • Active duty family members
  • National Guardsmen and Reservists and their eligible family members
  • Retired military and their eligible family members
  • TRICARE For Life beneficiaries

To enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan, individuals must be enrolled in a TRICARE health plan or have TFL coverage.

Take command of your health and learn about this year’s TRICARE and Federal Benefits Open Seasons by going to the agency websites listed in this article. If you want to change your 2020 coverage, you must take action during open season.

Need help figuring out if your plan is right for you? Consider attending the Health Benefits Fair Nov. 20, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., at Liberty Chapel on Mahone Avenue.