Military Dental Care Overview
US Soldiers need high quality military dental care. A voluntary insurance program for oral healthcare was implemented in 2001 which was the TRICARE Dental Program or TDP. It is available to qualified Active Duty Service Members and their families, Select Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), and eligible family members. Post military dental healthcare for retirees and qualified family members is also available.
To know the right dental plan, you must enter specific details into your profile. There are four dental coverage options from TRICARE. The first one is for Active Duty Service Members. Dental care is generally given right at the dental treatment facilities or DTFs. These facilities are usually located on the military base. In some cases, personnel may need dental attention outside of a DTF and this is where the TRICARE program fits in. Those in the US and its territories can use the dental program if they require a dentist. On the other hand, if you are in a remote area, dental care is handled by the International SOS, which is an overseas contractor.
For eligible family members of Active Duty soldiers, they may enroll in the program as well. This is a voluntary dental insurance based on premiums managed by United Concordia Companies, Inc. The third option is for retirees and their families. This is also a premium-based insurance plan for dental requirements but is administered by the Delta Dental Plan of California. The National Guard/Reserve members also have a dental insurance plan. This coverage is dependant on their military status. Non-active duty members may enroll in the dental program but when on active duty, they are eligible for TRICARE benefits. Their family members can also enroll in the dental program but their sponsor’s military status does not affect their coverage.
The good thing about the many dental options is that you are covered for dental care during emergencies whether you are traveling for vacation or for official purposes. All care for active duty service members or ADSMs who live or work within 50 miles of a DTF is initiated at that particular DTF even when on travel. Meanwhile, those on an extended leave and are farther than the mentioned distance from their DTF can obtain dental checkups and attention from any civilian dentist. However, they are required to call United Concordia Companies, Inc. to coordinate dental care from the private sector prior to reception of service. It is imperative that a soldier informs the company about the status of his extended leave.
In addition to that, if you experience a dental emergency while on the road and you are located more than 50 miles from your military dental treatment facility, you are allowed to obtain treatment from any dentist. However, you are not authorized to get follow-up care from a dentist that is not part of the TRICARE network. Again, you are obligated to let United Concordia know about the treatment.
If you are anywhere in the United States as well as its territories like Guam, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, you may visit licensed dentists in these regions known as the CONUS Service Area. To save money, you can visit a dentist that belongs to the network. The dental professional will file claims on your behalf. Meanwhile, travelers that are outside of CONUS can choose from participating dentists but they may have to pay for treatment up front. Later, they can file a claim for a cash reimbursement. Military dental care has been around for years to provide service requirements for oral healthcare to our brave warriors and their families.