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3 Things to Know About the Tricare Dental Change

Did you hear that Tricare dental coverage for active duty families and Guard and Reserve members and their families is changing next year? And it's a good thing.

If you've been around the block you'll remember that back in 2012 dental coverage changed from United Concordia to Metlife. It might have been kind of a pain for you, because some dentists who had accepted United Concordia's version did not accept Metlife's version, so you might have had to change dentists. But the whole thing was an overall win because dental coverage expanded under that new contract. For example, white-colored fillings had not previously been covered, but under the new Metlife contract they were.

Now Tricare is saying "bye-bye" to Metlife and switching back to United Concordia for active duty families as well as Guard and Reservists and their families. The contract was up for rebidding, and Metlife lost. They also lost a protest over the decision. Now United Concordia is working on taking the thing over.

So what's the deal with the new plan? Here's what you need to know.

3 Things to Know About the Upcoming Tricare Dental Change

1. Your dental coverage is about to get better. Score! Your dental coverage is going to increase under the new contract. Remember when things got better when it switched to Metlife? Things are getting better under the United Concordia switch back, too. Clear-cut details are still emerging, and when those are available we'll definitely link to them.

But for now I can tell you that, according to contract documents that I read so that you don't have to, a few things are increasing. For example, your maximum annual benefit per enrolled user is expanding from $1,300 to $1,500 per year. That little $200 bump should make life just a little easier on people who regularly max out their coverage. And sealants, which currently carry a 20 percent cost share, will now be completely covered. Boom.

2. You may have to switch dentists. Bummer, right? Just like when coverage changed from United Concordia to Metlife a few years ago, some dentists who carry Metlife may choose to not support United Concordia. If you're using a "non-preferred" dentist your coverage won't be as high, and you'll pay more out of pocket. Make sure to ask your dentist whether or not they'll be taking the United Concordia version of Tricare, although they may not yet have an answer. That's because ...

3. The coverage change isn't happening right this second. The new contract is set to go into full swing on May 1, 2017. That's almost a year from now, so you have plenty of time to learn to remember that the contractor you call for help when they incorrectly bill you for something is about to change.

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