Military Advantage

Here's Who Doesn't Qualify for the New Military Vision Benefit

(U.S. Air Force/Colville McFee)
(U.S. Air Force/Colville McFee)

Starting in 2019 almost all Tricare users will have access to a new vision coverage program operated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

.... almost all.

The coverage option, which is currently available to non-DoD federal employees, is an add-on for current Tricare users ordered by Congress last year. Like Tricare's dental coverage, currently provided to active duty users through United Concordia and retirees through Delta Dental, getting the coverage comes with an extra cost.

The Affordable Care Act requires that the children of a person who purchases insurance be offered coverage up to age 26. But the vision plans operated by OPM, like Tricare, are exempt from that law, which means that OPM can make the rules as to who does and does not qualify to receive the coverage.

And they are choosing to not extend coverage to beneficiaries older than 21 years old or 23 if the user is a full time student. That means the 39,300 dependents using Tricare Young Adult do not qualify.

Sorry, kids.

The opening of the federal vision coverage plans for Tricare users is paired with a plan to shift all Tricare retiree dental users to the federal dental marketplace. Tricare's retiree dental program will be canceled next year.

Under that new plan retirees will be able to choose between multiple plans. Current users of the Tricare retiree dental plan will need to re-enroll to during the open enrollment period to keep coverage. That open enrollment will run from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10.

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