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If you’re a veteran that served your country or you are the spouse of a veteran you should know what your options are for dental care and how to get the dental care you and your family need.
For veterans, there are essentially three common options when it comes to dental care. You may qualify for the Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient dental care, get dental care through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP), or you can purchase individual dental insurance. Any veteran can purchase individual dental insurance but to participate in the VADIP program or to receive dental treatment directly from a VA outpatient dental clinic you may need to qualify.
The VA offers a range of dental care services to certain categories of veterans. According to the VA, not all veterans qualify to receive VA outpatient dental care. If you do qualify for VA dental care benefits, you may be able to have some or all your dental care covered through VA. Your eligibility depends on various factors, including your military service history, your income, and your current health, and your living situation¹.
You may qualify for certain dental care services if²:
You have a service-connected dental disability or condition for which you receive compensation
You’re a former prisoner of war
You have one or more service-connected disabilities rated 100% disabling
You’re unable to work and you get disability compensation at the 100% disabling rate due to service-connected conditions
Any veteran that is enrolled in VA healthcare or who is enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program offered by the VA (CHAMPVA) is eligible to purchase private insurance from the VADIP program.³ VADIP offers discounted private dental insurance coverage to veterans and their dependents who meet certain requirements. Unlike VA dental care, enrollment is voluntary and VADIP enrollees are responsible to pay any applicable copays and premiums.
Not all veterans may be eligible to purchase VADIP plans, either. To purchase dental insurance through VADIP, you must either be enrolled in the VA health care or are the current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a veteran or service member, and be enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA). If you’re a veteran who’s ineligible or not enrolled for VA health care, you won’t be able to purchase a VADIP plan⁴.
Veterans and families who are looking for dental insurance with no waiting period may want to look at private dental insurance. Private dental insurance plans from Guardian Direct® are available in a range of coverages and prices so that even on a tight budget you may find a dental insurance plan that will cover you and your family. One of the biggest benefits of private dental insurance is that you and your family members can all choose your own dentists from a network of participating dentists. While at the VA outpatient care you are likely to be limited to the dentist working at the VA clinic that day through individual dental insurance you are likely to build up a good relationship with one dentist. Over time that ongoing relationship your dentist is likely to be familiar with you and your dental situation.
Dental insurance with no waiting period is available through Guardian Direct. When you purchase a Guardian Direct dental insurance plan either for yourself or for you and your family, depending on your selected payment method, coverage begins on the first of the month following enrollment. Subject to annual maximums, preventative services like X-rays and dental cleanings are covered up to 100%.
Figuring out what dental insurance options work for you and your family after leaving the military can be confusing. After years of getting medical care through the military it’s typically difficult to try and compare medical and dental plans to find the plan that will work for you and your family’s needs. But you shouldn’t put it off. Finding affordable dental insurance should be a priority for disabled veterans who want to be able to give their families the dental care they need and get the care they need too.
To purchase a VADIP plan veterans must be receiving VA health care or be the current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a veteran that’s enrolled in CHAMPVA. If you’re a veteran who doesn’t qualify for VADIP you may want to look for a plan that has little or no waiting period and will give you and your family choices when it comes to your dental care.
Veterans and their families need to find good dental insurance, and the options that the VA offers may not work for some veterans. The most common reasons to start looking at private dental insurance today are:
Private dental insurance typically gives you the opportunity to choose the coverage that you want. If you want to get only emergency coverage in case you have a serious dental injury or emergency you can do that. Or if you want to choose a plan that will provide coverage for everything that you might need including orthodontics you can do that. You’re in control of how much coverage you get.
Being able to choose your own dentist can make a difference. If you’re a veteran, then you’ll want to choose a dentist that understands your unique needs and how to work with them. If you have kids you might want your kids to see a pediatric dentist. Your spouse might want to see a different dentist than you do. Private insurance can give you the freedom to choose any dentist that you want to see.
Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.12/22)
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