This post is sponsored by Blue Star Families. Opinions and work are my own.
I’m a little embarrassed to share the next few sentences with you. When I was first a military spouse, I had NO idea that I had to opt-in to dental coverage. I had a pretty rude awakening when I realized my mistake. In fact, because I had missed opting in to dental and signing up for vision insurance when we were married, I ended up going for quite some time without care for my teeth or eyes. (Yikes!)
I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of military families might have experienced something like I did. Maybe it’s because they didn’t know they needed to sign up. Maybe it’s because they’re worried that supplemental insurance might be too expensive. Or maybe it’s because they missed the window to sign up or change their plan. Maybe that’s you!
And if it is, that’s okay. You came to the right place! Vision and dental care important for you and your family’s overall health and wellness, so making sure that you consider your options as a military family is super important. The good news is that right now is the perfect time for you to think about and select your best options AND there are cost-effective plans that can meet any budget. (Yay!)
That’s why I’ve put together this easy-to-access article. While there’s a ton of information out there about supplemental insurance for military families (and your commands should have more for you), this is a great place to get a bird’s eye view and begin.
1. What is Open Season, exactly?
Open Season offers active duty military families with a basic TRICARE health plan the opportunity to enroll in supplemental vision insurance.
2. When is vision and dental Open Season for military families?
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program is holding its open season for 2023 from November 14 to December 12, 2022. (Don’t let the name fool you, though! Active-duty military families can only enroll in supplemental insurance for vision plans. If you’re planning ahead, military retirees can enroll in both supplemental vision and dental coverage.)
3. Doesn’t the military cover all health care anyway?
Nope! While, yes, your eyes are part of your body (and keeping them healthy is important), the military does not offer all-inclusive health care services for vision. That means that active-duty military families must elect their supplemental coverage for vision during open season.
4. What if my family doesn’t sign up for supplemental insurance?
If your active duty military family doesn’t enroll in vision insurance during this open season and you don’t have a qualifying event (like having a baby or getting married) in 2023 that would make you eligible to enroll, you won’t be able to enroll in supplemental insurance with your TRICARE health plan until next year’s open season for coverage starting in 2024. That means you’ll pay out of pocket for prescription glasses, contacts, vision exams, or other vision needs for the next year.
5. Where should I start?
While there are a variety of plans and options for military families enrolling through FEDVIP open season, you can begin with Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Vision. BCBS is a military-friendly provider and trusted Blue Star Families Partner. You can determine the type of coverage your family needs with this online tool (some plans are as low as $12 a month!) or you can call BCBS FEP Vision at 1-888-550-2583 (TTY: 1-800-523-2847).