Information and Suggestions for Employees and Retirees Who Are Enrolling or Reenrolling in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
Edward A. Zurndorfer
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is a voluntary, enrollee-pay all dental and vision group insurance program available to federal employees and annuitants, certain retired uniformed service members (dental insurance only). FEDVIP is sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The program will be offering 12 dental and 5 vision insurance plans during 2023. Enrollment, disenrollment, and change of insurance plan is done during the annual “open season” coinciding with Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program “open season.” This year’s FEDVIP open season runs from November 14,2022 through December 12, 2022. All changes – enrollment and disenrollment in FEDVIP, change of a dental and/or vision plan in the FEDVIP, and enrollment changes – will become effective January 1, 2023.
If a federal employee or annuitant is currently enrolled in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision insurance plan and does not want to disenroll or change plans for 2023, then the employee or annuitant need not take any action. The employee or annuitant will remain insured in that dental and/or vision insurance plan for plan year 2023.
No-Cost Webinar ft. Ed Zurndorfer:
Enrollment and disenrollment in the FEDVIP, change of dental and/or vision insurance plan within FEDVIP is done by employees, annuitants, survivor annuitants and uniformed service members and their families by going to the Website.
BENEFEDS administers the enrollment plan change and premium payment processes for FEDVIP. BENEFEDS does not manage claims information. Employees and annuitants who have questions about their dental or vision insurance coverage with their FEDVIP carrier should contact their carrier here.
Eligibility to Enroll in the FEDVIP
Federal employees are eligible to enroll in the FEDVIP for dental and/or vision insurance if they are eligible to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. They are not required to be enrolled in the FEHB program in order enroll in the FEDVIP. CSRS and FERS annuitants and survivor annuitants are eligible for dental and vision insurance coverage. However, unlike the FEHB program in which an employee who wants to retain FEHB program coverage in retirement must be enrolled in the FEHB program for at least all the five years ending on the employee’s effective date of retirement, there is no last five-year consecutive enrollment requirement for employees to be enrolled in the FEDVIP during retirement.
A CSRS or FERS spousal survivor annuitants must receive a survivor CSRS or FERS annuity (full or less than maximum) in order to be enrolled in the FEDVIP.
Premiums for FEDVIP dental and vision insurance plans are paid entirely by employees and annuitants. There is no federal government premium contribution for dental or vision plans. Employees have FEDVIP premiums deducted from their gross salary (premium conversion) while annuitants and survivor annuitants have their premiums deducted from their annuity and survivor annuity checks on a post-tax basis.
The following family members are eligible to be enrolled in a FEDVIP plan under the employer’s or annuitant’s coverage as dependents. Whether or not a family member may be added as a dependent to a FEDVIP plan is determined by the dependent’s relationship to the federal employee or annuitant.
- Unmarried child under age 22
- Unmarried child aged 22 or older and incapable of self support
Note that FEDVIP rules for family member enrollment eligibility are not the same as the FEHB program family member enrollment eligibility rules.
The following individuals are not eligible to enroll in the FEDVIP:
- A deferred annuitant
- A former spouse
- An FEHB temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) enrollee
- A temporary, seasonal, intermittent or per diem employee
- An insurable interest survivor annuitant, if the insurable interest is not an eligible family member
FEDVIP Carriers and Plans
The FEDVIP offers federal employees, annuitants, and survivor annuitants a range of plans including 12 dental insurance and 5 vision insurance carriers.
FEDVIP Dental Plans
FEDVIP plans are Aetna Dental, Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Dental, Delta Dental, GEHA Connection Dental, MetLife Federal Dental Plan, United Concordia Dental, United Healthcare Dental, Dominion National, Emblem Health Dental, Health Partners Dental, Humana Dental and Triple-S Salud.
FEDVIP dental plans provide comprehensive dental coverage, including preventive services covered at 100 percent when an in-network provider is used. There are no deductibles when using in-network dentists. In addition, there is no waiting period for major services such as crowns, bridges, dentures and implants. Under most plans, there Is no 12-month waiting period or age limit for orthodontics coverage.
Three types of coverage are available for FEDVIP dental plans: (1) Self only – covers the employee or annuitant, only; (2) Self plus one eligible family member – coverage the employee or annuitant plus one eligible family member such as a spouse or an unmarried child under that age of 22; and (3) Self and family – covers the employee and multiple eligible family members. The 12 dental plans offered in the FEDVIP for plan year 2023 each offer the following services: (1) Routine dental exams, checkups, and cleanings; (2) X-rays; (3) Crowns; (4) Root canals; (5) Dentures; (6) Fillings; and (7) Orthodontics.
There is no requirement that an employee or an annuitant be enrolled in a FEDVIP dental plan from year-to-year. An employee/annuitant is encouraged to consider enrolling in a FEDVIP dental plan when an employee/annuitant (and an eligible family member) expects major dental expenses in the coming plan year. Since employees and annuitants pay the full cost of FEDVIP dental plan premiums – there are no premium contributions by the federal government – employees and annuitants are also encouraged to shop around for outside dental insurance in which they also pay the full cost of the insurance premiums. The following are some suggestions when buying individual dental insurance:
- Contact an independent and licensed life/health insurance agent or broker who sells individual dental insurance
- Check if there are any waiting periods with any dental plan being considered as well as what the plan will pay for and the annual limit on what the insurance company will pay, and
- Whether buying through the FEDVIP or from a private insurance company, always make sure that one’s preferred dentist and orthodontist accepts the particular dental plan insurance.
FEDVIP Vision Plans
FEDVIP vision plans provide comprehensive vison coverage including routine eye exams and vision correction without a referral. Plans also include low vision exams, eyeglass frames and lenses or contact lenses, instead of glasses at many eye doctor offices or optical retail stores. The following five vision carrier insurance companies are available to choose from in the FEDVIP: Aetna Vision Preferred, Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Vision, MetLife Federal Vision Plan, United Healthcare Vision, and VSP Vision Care Plan.
Employees and annuitants can use the FEDVIP Plan Compare Tool to research available dental and vision plans and premiums based on the area where the employee/annuitant lives. Up to three dental or vision plans can be viewed side-by-side for easy comparison.
Like dental insurance, those employees and annuitants and eligible family members in need of vision insurance are encouraged to check out individual vision insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. Like FEDVIP dental insurance plans, employees and annuitants pay the full premium cost of FEDVIP vision insurance with no premium contribution from the federal government. It is therefore in an employee’s or annuitant’s best interest to shop around for an individual vision insurance plan that will offer more and is less expensive.
Employees and annuitants are therefore encouraged to contact a licenses life/health insurance agent or broker who sells individual vision plans. Among the questions to be asked when purchasing vision insurance are (besides premium cost): (1) Waiting periods; (2) Covered services; (3) Provider networks; (4) Whether an individual’s ophthalmologist/optometrist, etc. accepts the insurance plan.
Edward A. Zurndorfer is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant, Certified Employees Benefits Specialist and IRS Enrolled Agent in Silver Spring, MD. Tax planning, Federal employee benefits, retirement and insurance consulting services offered through EZ Accounting and Financial Services, and EZ Federal Benefits Seminars, located at 833 Bromley Street – Suite A, Silver Spring, MD 20902-3019 and telephone number 301-681-1652. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Edward A. Zurndorfer or EZ Accounting and Financial Services. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. While the employees of Serving Those Who Serve are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.