Keeping up with Your Benefits

Author: Kathy Moakler

Sometimes it can be confusing to keep up with all the changes to survivor benefits. TAPS is here to keep you informed of new changes and to assist you with previous benefits. Here is an update on what’s new.

Medical Benefits

New FEDVIP program for Dental and Vision Care

Do you use the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program? This program will end on December 31, 2018 and be replaced by the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

FEDVIP will offer more benefit choices and network flexibility for retiree dental care. Instead of one plan and one carrier, there will be 14 carriers to choose from under FEDVIP. Another big difference will be the requirement to enroll for FEDVIP during the open season, which will run from November 12 through December 10, 2018.  Coverage starts January 1, 2019.

Your best plan for information is to sign up at the website There you can learn about the programs, get a tutorial on how to choose a plan, and get reminders on when you need to sign up.

Another tip is to ask your dentist what plans they accept. That will help narrow your choices to a manageable few.

It is important to sign up during the open enrollment period or you will be without dental insurance come January 1, 2019.

FEDVIP vision plans are designed to cover:

  • Routine eye exams and vision correction without referral;
  • Low vision exams;
  • Eyeglass frames and lenses, or contact lenses instead of glasses, at many eye doctor offices or optical retail stores;
  • Lens options such as shatter-resistant polycarbonate, scratch-resistant, anti-reflective, and UV coatings; and tinted and progressive lenses; and
  • Discounts on laser eye surgery.

If your minor children use the TRICARE dental program they will continue with that program. There is no change. If you, as a surviving spouse are currently using the TRICARE dental program, there will be no change until you reach your three-year point—then you will need to enroll in the FEDVIP program. However, those using the active duty TRICARE benefit will now be eligible for the vision portion of the FEDVIP program. You can find out more about vision coverage at

TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select?

On January 1, 2018, those survivors eligible for the TRICARE healthcare benefit were automatically re-enrolled in TRICARE Prime if they were using that previously, or automatically enrolled for the first time in TRICARE Select if they were previously in TRICARE Standard. Come this November, if you want to change from Prime to Select or, from Select to Prime, you must do this during the open enrollment season from November 12 through December 10, 2018 for the benefit year beginning January 1, 2019. If you are happy with your current plan, you need do nothing—you are set! For more information on the open enrollment season for TRICARE Prime and Select, visit You can change your plan, if necessary, at other times but only if you have a qualifying life event (QLE), for example, moving, loss of other health insurance, or becoming eligible for TRICARE for Life. Info on QLEs can be found at

TAPS Can Help

All these changes can be confusing! TAPS Casework Assistance team can guide you through your benefit questions and put you in touch with the right people to guarantee you are getting the benefits your loved one earned and provided for you. TAPS can connect you with experts at TRICARE, DEERS and the VA to ensure that you are matched with appropriate healthcare.

Contact Casework Assistance at or 800-959-TAPS (8277).