Finding dental insurance for veterans doesn’t have to be a tedious process. The VA offers two great private insurance companies through the VA Dental Insurance Program, as well as care for veterans who are eligible and meet certain criteria.
Dental care can be just as expensive as healthcare if you don’t have insurance or access to proper coverage. The VA offers dental coverage for certain eligible veterans, but what if you don’t qualify for free coverage? There are other options when it comes to dental insurance for veterans, so don’t forget about the health of your mouth and teeth when taking care of your body.
Let’s take a look at some dental insurance options that are available to veterans, their spouses, and their dependents.
Does the VA cover dental?
Does the VA cover dental? Yes, but only if certain criteria are met and if dental facilities are available at the local VA.
For those that do qualify for VA-covered dental, they may receive full free coverage for all or a portion of their dental health needs and services. Unlike most VA medical benefits, dental coverage is broken up into classes based on different circumstances. Those that have dental trauma due to combat wounds or different rates of disability may receive full dental coverage for their entire life. Others who are homeless may be eligible for dental work assistance for a certain time period as they work to get into a more stable situation.
There are 4 main classes that offer free coverage for life. If you are part of four classes, Class I, IIA, IIC, or IV, the Department of Veterans Affairs covers any necessary dental care needed to maintain or improve oral health and function. If you fall under any of the other classes, there are service and time limitations to what kind of dental coverage you are eligible for.
Let’s take a look at the full eligibility classes for VA dental coverage, according to the VA. As well as what kind of coverage each class can receive.
- Class I: “Have a service-connected compensable (10% or greater) dental disability or condition.” Services offered for Class I is any needed dental care. This care is offered free, providing full dental coverage.
- Class IIA: “Have a service-connected noncompensable (0%) dental condition/disability resulting from combat wounds or service trauma.” Services offered for Class IIA is any dental care necessary to provide and maintain functional oral health and teeth. A VA Regional Office Rating Letter is required to be eligible for this class.
- Class IIC: Former prisoner of war. Services offered for Class IIC is any needed dental care, free-of-charge, for life.
- Class IV: “Have service-connected disabilities rated at 100% (total) disabling, or are unemployable and paid at the 100% rate due to service-connected conditions.” Services offered for Class IV is any needed dental care, with the exception of temporary ratings, in the case of a temporary condition.
VA Dental Insurance Program
The VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) is offered to veterans who are enrolled in the VA healthcare system, as well as beneficiaries and their dependents of the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA) can enroll in VADIP. VADIP offers dental coverage at a reduced price. The dental coverage provided consists of diagnostic services, surgical and emergency services, preventative services, and endodontic and other restorative services.
The two private insurance carriers that the Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen to use with the VA Dental Insurance Program is Delta Dental of California and MetLife. Both of these dental insurance programs offer their own plans, rates, and services. Each individual covered by these programs is responsible for the full premium, as well as the full cost of copays. The programs are voluntary, and you can contact either of these companies to find a plan that fits within you and your family’s needs and budget. To contact Delta Dental of California, call 1-855-370-3303. To contact MetLife, you can reach them at 1-888-310-1681.
With Delta Dental of California, veterans can choose between 3 plans. They pride themselves on offering affordable, quality dental care with the lowest out-of-pocket costs when they visit in-network dentists.
MetLife was one of the largest private contributors to the Allied cause during World War II. They support the military community by investing in veteran housing through the Veterans Housing Initiative. They have also been regularly recognized GI Jobs Military Friendly Employers list.
Dental insurance that is veteran-friendly
There are plenty of other insurance companies that aren’t part of the VA Dental Insurance Program who are committed to supporting the military community. Let’s take a look at some other dental insurance companies that have made efforts to support veterans in their quest for quality dental care, which ultimately leads to a great quality of life.
Aspen Dental participates in an annual day of service where they open their 500 offices on a Saturday and provide free dental services to as many as 5,000 veterans. Many veterans aren’t eligible for VA dental coverage unless they are 100% disabled, were a prisoner of war, or have a service-related mouth injury. Aspen Dental launched a campaign in 2014 called the Healthy Mouth Movement in which they have donated over $15 million in dentistry services to over 22,000 veterans.
Cigna is a medical and dental insurance company that many employers offer. They are military and veteran-friendly, offering resources like the Veteran Support Line. The Veteran Support Line is for veterans and their families (and can be used even if you aren’t part of Cigna), to help family members cope with military deployments, find assistance as needed, as well as offer support post-deployment. You can call the Veteran Support Line at 1-855-244-6211. This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
Tricare for active duty
While on active duty, Tricare is the insurer for medical and dental. The Tricare dental plan is a voluntary dental insurance program for eligible active duty family members, eligible National Guard and reserve members, and their family members. Since Tricare dental (TDP) is voluntary, it also costs to join the program. You can find more information about enrolling in Tricare dental for active-duty members at their website. Tricare used to offer services for retired military service members, but the plan ended in 2018 and was replaced by the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). If you were eligible for Tricare Retiree Dental Program than you may be eligible for this program, which files its claims with Delta Dental.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers comprehensive dental coverage for eligible veterans, but not a lot of veterans qualify for this coverage. The VA would like all veterans to have access to quality dental care, as well as good oral health, so they’ve offered private insurances that are committed to providing accessible, quality, affordable dental care coverage and services to meet each veteran’s individual needs. When applying for dental coverage, it’s important to consider your options so that you can make the right choice for you and your family. You can always call a representative from Delta Dental of California or MetLife, as well as contact your local VA office for any needed assistance.