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Spouse Medical Benefits - Dental Care

As the spouse of someone serving in the military, you may be aware that you are entitled to medical coverage. What you may not know is that dental coverage isn't involved in the plan and usually requires a separate enrollment and a small monthly premium. TRICARE implemented a dental plan in February of 2001, now commonly referred to as the Tricare Dental Plan or TDP.

The TDP provides 100 percent coverage for diagnostic, emergency and preventive services, with the exception of sealants. Sealants are only covered 80 percent with an expected 20 percent copay from the patient. The TDP offers the following services with a member co-pay: fillings, root canals, crowns, extractions, orthodontics, and periodontics, among other services. The maximum annual benefit coverage provided by TDP is approximately $1,200 for all routine dental care and services. The maximum coverage for a lifetime of orthodontic services is $1,500. TRICARE dental plan additonally covers the following: dental implants and related prosthetics, extended restorative services to teeth affected by attrition, erosion, abrasion, and congenital or developmental defects.

Just like with TRICARE medical coverage, eligible dependents of a military member must register for TRICARE dental services through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). The dependent list is more strict for dental care than it is for medical care and excludes former spouses, parents-in-law, disabled veterans, foreign military personnel and Uniformed Services retirees and their families.

Once enrolled, members must stay enrolled in TDP for at least 12 months. After the first year, enrollment continues on a month-to-month basis. The first month's premium must be paid while enrolling. All future premiums will be billed each of the following months.

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