Dental and Vision FAQs

Get answers to common questions about the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Billing and premium payment

Federal employees: Your first deduction is taken from the paycheck that covers the first full pay period beginning on or after your effective date of coverage. If you enroll during open season, your coverage is effective on January 1. This means your first deduction will occur in the paycheck you receive for the pay period beginning on or after January 1.

Federal annuitants and survivor annuitants: Your first deduction is taken from the annuity check that covers the month in which your coverage begins, or becomes effective. If you enroll during open season, your coverage is effective on January 1. This means your first deduction will occur in the annuity check you receive in February, for the month of January.

Retired uniformed service members: Your first allotment is taken from the retirement paycheck you receive in the month following the month in which your coverage begins, or becomes effective. If you enroll during open season, your coverage is effective on January 1. This means your first allotment will occur in the retirement check you receive in February.

Active duty family members: You must submit a payroll authorization form, completed by the service member sponsor, to change your payment method from automatic bank withdrawal to an allotment. The first allotment from the sponsor's pay will be taken from the paycheck that covers the first full pay period beginning on or after the date we process your payroll authorization form.

Your first withdrawal is taken from your bank account on the fifth business day of the month in which your coverage begins, or becomes effective, and continues to occur on the fifth business day of every month your coverage remains in effect. If you enroll during open season, your coverage will be effective on January 1. This means your first withdrawal will occur on the fifth business day in January.

No, FEDVIP does not offer a credit card option to pay for coverage.

The premium rate is the amount your plan costs. This is most often displayed by pay frequency (e.g. bi-weekly or monthly).

The deduction amount is the amount actually deducted from your pay or annuity. This may differ from the premium rate for a number of reasons, including choosing accelerated payments, having past due on an account, etc.

The option to pay your premiums by direct bill is only available in special circumstances, such as if you're on leave without pay, or you retire and are receiving interim payments while your payroll deductions transition to your annuity. You'll be notified if there is an event that requires us to send you a direct bill. Anytime you receive a direct bill for your FEDVIP premiums, it is important to pay it in order to keep your coverage active.

If you're receiving direct bills, we will continuously try to collect deductions or allotments from your pay. Once we receive payment from your pay provider, we will stop sending direct bills.

You must be a Federal Civilian or U.S. Postal Service employee and expect that you will go into a leave without pay status and/or only be paid only during certain months of the calendar year. Federal annuitants, survivor annuitants, compensationers, and uniformed service members do not have the option to set up accelerated payments.

Accelerating your premium payments may be useful if your employment involves seasonal leaves of absence.

Example: A seasonal teacher on a monthly pay schedule may want to accelerate their premiums over the first six months of the year knowing they will not be in pay status for three months starting in July. An employee anticipating leave without pay for maternity leave may also wish to accelerate premium payments.

To set up accelerated payments, select the number of pay dates you would like to pay for your premiums when you enroll. We will then calculate your deduction amount based on this selection and set up the deductions with your pay provider.

You can start or stop your accelerated payments at any time by calling BENEFEDS Customer Service. Once you make this change, it will take effect your next pay period start date.

In most cases, if you are a retired uniformed service member and you have enough available funds or allotments in your retirement pay, we will automatically set up an allotment with your pay provider to pay for your FEDVIP premiums, post-tax.

In the event that you do not have enough available funds or allotments, we will default your payment method to a recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT), which we refer to as an automatic bank withdrawal (ABW), and ask you to provide your bank account information.

If you are an eligible family member enrolling as the primary enrollee, we will default your payment method to ABW with the option of submitting a payroll authorization form completed by the service member sponsor, to have an allotment for your premiums set up from his or her pay, post-tax.

If you are an eligible survivor, we will automatically default your payment method to ABW. You do not have the option to pay your FEDVIP premiums through an allotment.

FEDVIP premiums for dental and vision insurance are not subsidized by either DoD or OPM.

Contact information

Once you are enrolled in a FEDVIP plan, you must contact the carrier who provides your dental or vision coverage directly if you have questions about:

  • ID cards
  • covered services
  • claims
  • coordination of benefits
  • provider networks
  • rating regions

For the carriers' contact information, go to the FEDVIP Plans section of this site.

BENEFEDS administers the enrollment, plan change, and premium payment processes for FEDVIP. Contact BENEFEDS Customer Service if you have questions about:

  • eligibility
  • enrolling in a FEDVIP plan
  • billing or premium payments
  • submitting a qualifying life event (QLE)
  • your MyBENEFEDS account

Most of your questions can also be answered by selecting one of the topics within the FEDVIP Education and Support section.

Eligibility

In general, FEDVIP is available to eligible Federal and U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees, annuitants, survivor annuitants, and compensationers. FEDVIP eligibility has also expanded to include certain retired uniformed service members, active duty family members, and survivors

For more information, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

No. Your dental and vision coverage will still be provided by TRICARE, and you will continue to receive your dental and vision care from your military hospital or clinic. However, your family members may be eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage.

For more information, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

Yes, you may be eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage. However, family members of active duty uniformed service members are not eligible for FEDVIP dental coverage. You are still eligible to enroll in the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP).

For more information, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

No. You must be enrolled in a TRICARE health plan to be eligible to enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan. However, if you enroll in a TRICARE health plan for the 2019 plan year, then you can enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan.

If you're a retired uniformed service member or a surviving spouse of a retired uniformed service member, you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage, and if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan (including TRICARE For Life), FEDVIP vision coverage. You may also add other eligible family members to your FEDVIP coverage.

If you're on active duty, you are not eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental or vision coverage, even if you are enrolled in TRICARE For Life. However, your eligible family members are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP vision coverage, if they're enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.

Unmarried children and dependents of eligible uniformed service members can be covered under FEDVIP until age 21, or 23 if they're full-time students.

A full-time student is an unmarried child or dependent who is enrolled full-time at an accredited educational institution and whose sponsor is providing at least 50% of his or her financial support while enrolled. Children and dependents who are full-time students are eligible for FEDVIP coverage until their 23rd birthday or graduation (whichever is first).

No. That is a requirement for Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees. Federal employees must be eligible to enroll in FEHB in order to be eligible for FEDVIP dental and vision coverage.

For more information on what makes certain uniformed service members eligible for FEDVIP, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

If you're an eligible uniformed service member or family member, you must also be enrolled in and/or covered under one of the following TRICARE health plans to be eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage:

  • TRICARE Select
  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS)
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR)
  • TRICARE for Life (TFL)
  • Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP)

If you're enrolled in one of the following TRICARE plans, you are not eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage:

  • TRICARE Young Adult
  • Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)
  • Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)
  • Foreign Military (including NATO) sponsor and family coverage

Yes. If you are a surviving eligible child or dependent of a retired uniformed service member or Retired Reserve member, then you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage. And, you are also eligible to enroll in FEDVIP vision coverage, if you are enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.

However, if you are a surviving eligible child or dependent of an active duty uniformed service member (who died while on active duty for more than 30 days), you are only eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage as long as you are no longer eligible for the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) as a transitional survivor. Since you are typically eligible for TDP and considered a transitional survivor until you become ineligible for reasons such as turning 21 (non-student), turning 23 (full-time student), or getting married, you may never be able to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage because these same events also make you ineligible for FEDVIP. You are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP vision coverage, if you are enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.

For more information, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

No. Children and dependents who are enrolled in TRICARE Young Adult are not eligible to enroll in FEDVIP. They were not previously eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) and were not specified as an eligible group for FEDVIP under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, signed into law on December 23, 2016.

If you were placed on medical retirement by the U.S. Department of Defense, you are considered a retired member of the uniformed services. This means you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage, and if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, FEDVIP vision coverage.

If you receive dental services from the VA and don't need FEDVIP dental coverage, an eligible adult family member may also enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage as the primary enrollee, and add other eligible family members, without you having to enroll.

If you would like FEDVIP vision coverage, you must enroll yourself and add your eligible family members.

For more information, go to the FEDVIP Eligibility section of this site.

If you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental and/or vision coverage as a sponsor or certifying family member, then in most cases you may add the sponsor's eligible family members to your coverage. Eligible family members include unmarried children or dependents under age 21 (non-students), under age 23 (full-time students), or incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical incapacity.

To add an eligible child to your FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan, you must choose a self-plus-one or self-and-family plan and then add each eligible child to your plan. We will ask you for the child's date of birth and for you to identify the relationship type of the child you are enrolling. The child's student or incapable of self-support status must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

If you enroll in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan and want to add your son to your plan, we will ask you for his date of birth and what type of eligible child he is for purposes of coverage. In this case, he is a dependent child under age 21 and not a student. Once you are enrolled in a FEDVIP plan, it automatically continues every year, unless you want to make changes during an annual open season or experience a qualifying life event (QLE).

In the event that your son becomes a full-time student and turns 21, at that time you must update his eligibility information within your account for him to continue his coverage. You will receive a letter from BENEFEDS notifying you that his coverage is about to end, and you will have 60 days prior to your son turning 21 to update his eligibility from a non-student to a full-time student.

You do not need to wait for an open season to do this, and it is not considered a QLE. Your son's student status must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

If your daughter is unmarried and incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical incapacity that began before age 21 (non-student) or before age 23 (full-time student), and she is financially dependent on you, the sponsor, for more than 50% of her support, then she is considered an eligible child and may be added to your FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan. If you enroll in a FEDVIP plan and want to add your daughter to your plan, we will ask you for her date of birth and what type of eligible child she is for purposes of coverage.

Your daughter's incapable of self-support status must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) prior to you enrolling her in FEDVIP. Once you have established her eligibility in DEERS, you do not need to establish eligibility again under FEDVIP.

Once enrolled in FEDVIP, if your child becomes incapable of self-support, you must register your child's incapable of self-support status in DEERS and notify BENEFEDS prior to his or her 21st birthday (non-student) or 23rd birthday (full-time student), so that your child may continue his or her coverage.

Your FEDVIP coverage will be effective on the first day of the first pay period following the date we receive your enrollment.

No. Once you enroll in a FEDVIP plan, you can't make changes to or cancel it even if you're still within the 60 days—you must wait until the next open season or you experience a QLE.

Yes. You enroll separately in dental and vision coverage under FEDVIP so if it's still within the 60 days you can enroll.

Example: Let's say you enroll in a FEDVIP dental plan on Day 20. You can't cancel that enrollment and then choose a different dental plan on Day 50, even though Day 60 hasn't occurred yet. But, you can still enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan at any time within the 60 days.

Enrollment

Use our FEDVIP Plan Comparison tool to research plans and rates based on where you live. View up to three dental or vision plans side-by-side for easy comparison.

You can enroll in a FEDVIP plan during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season (open season). Each year, open season runs from the Monday of the second full work week in November through the Monday of the second full work week in December.

You can only enroll in a FEDVIP plan outside of open season if you are newly eligible or have experienced a qualifying life event (QLE).

The Federal Benefits Open Season (or open season) is your annual opportunity to enroll in, change, or cancel a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan. Each year, it runs from the Monday of the second full work week in November through the Monday of the second full work week in December.

No. Once you enroll in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan, your coverage will automatically continue each year. You'll have the opportunity to make changes to your enrollment every year, during open season, or in some cases outside of open season if you experience a qualifying life event (QLE).

To continue your existing FEDVIP plan into the next plan year, you don't have to do anything—your coverage will automatically continue. But, keep in mind that rates may change. Use our FEDVIP Plan Comparison tool during open season to research plans and rates for the next plan year.

No. FEDVIP is a voluntary program. If you are eligible for both FEDVIP dental and vision coverage, you do not have to enroll in both. You can choose to enroll in dental coverage, vision coverage, or both dental and vision coverage, depending on your needs.

If you are trying to decide how you should enroll in FEDVIP, here are a few differences based on laws and regulations between the two eligibility groups:

Federal or U.S. Postal Service

  • Employees and annuitants are eligible for dental and vision coverage.
  • Premiums are paid pre-tax for employees.
  • Dependent children are covered until age 22.

Uniformed services

  • Most retirees are eligible for dental coverage.
  • Most retirees and active duty family members are eligible for vision coverage, if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.
  • Active duty uniformed service members are not eligible for dental and vision coverage.
  • Premiums are paid post-tax.
  • Dependent children are covered until age 21 (non-students) or 23 (full-time students).

It is important to note that, even with these differences, FEDVIP plans and premiums are the same for all eligible groups. They may only vary based on the region where you live or plan you select, not your eligibility.

You can only enroll in a FEDVIP plan outside of open season if you are newly eligible or have experienced a qualifying life event (QLE).

A QLE is an event that allows you to enroll in, change, or cancel FEDVIP coverage outside of an annual open season. Examples include:

  • getting married
  • losing other dental or vision coverage
  • acquiring a family member
  • losing a family member
  • restoration of pay or annuity after having it reduced, forfeited, or terminated
  • returning from or to active duty
  • moving
  • transferring positions

For more information on QLEs, go to the FEDVIP Coverage section of this site.

You can only change your FEDVIP plan outside of open season if you experience a qualifying life event (QLE) that allows you to do so. To change your plan, log into your My BENEFEDS account and select "Plan Overview" for dental or vision coverage on your dashboard. Then select "Submit QLE." If you need help submitting a QLE, call BENEFEDS Customer Service.

You have the opportunity to cancel your FEDVIP plan each year during open season. To cancel your plan, log into your My BENEFEDS account and select "Plan Overview" for dental or vision coverage on your dashboard. Then select "Cancel Plan."

You can only cancel your FEDVIP plan outside of open season if you experience a qualifying life event (QLE) that allows you to do so. To cancel your plan outside of open season, you must call BENEFEDS Customer Service.

Your Social Security Number (SSN) is required in order to accurately request premium deductions from your payroll or annuity provider or premium allotments from your base or retirement pay provider. It's also used to ensure that people don't create more than one BENEFEDS account or enroll in more than one FEDVIP dental or vision plan.

Your date of birth is required because there are certain age-related eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to enroll in FEDVIP.

BENEFEDS requires at least one email address or phone number so we can communicate with you about important information related to your FEDVIP enrollments.

Your residential zip code is used to determine the plans and premiums available to you for FEDVIP's nationwide dental plans and if there are any regional dental plans available to you in your area.

You should select a FEDVIP plan that provides adequate access to providers in the area that you reside in the majority of the time.

As soon as you are notified that you are changing to an active duty status for more than 30 days, you must contact BENEFEDS at 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337) to notify us of the change in eligibility. In this scenario, we will gather your information and deactivate your current enrollment(s) once the last payment is processed, prior to your change to active duty. Since a return to active duty changes your eligibility status, you will no longer be eligible to enroll in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan even though you are still the sponsor. If you are changing to an active duty status for less than 30 days, then your enrollment will not change.

If there are family members enrolled in FEDVIP vision and/or dental coverage, the current FEDVIP enrollment for you and your family members will terminate and your coverage stops at the end of the pay period for which the premium payment was made from your pay, direct payment, or automatic bank withdrawal. You are responsible for notifying your covered family members that your enrollment will terminate. You are responsible for notifying them of their opportunity to accept responsibility to continue vision coverage under a new enrollment. (Family members are only eligible for vision coverage when a sponsor is on active duty). A family member may accept responsibility to self-certify as the enrollee by enrolling and, if appropriate, covering other family members. Once the family member enrolls, and covers your family members, they can remain enrolled in a FEDVIP vision plan for the duration of your active duty. You and your family members will no longer be eligible for FEDVIP dental coverage.

Note: It is important that you notify us as soon as you are aware of the change in your eligibility status to avoid a gap between your FEDVIP vision coverage ending and your family's new FEDVIP vision coverage beginning.

Plan information

You can find contact information for each carrier in the FEDVIP Plans section of this site.

You can find provider networks for each carrier in the FEDVIP Plans section of this site.

You can change your other insurance information by logging in to your MY BENEFEDS account or calling BENEFEDS Customer Service.

Retirement

Federal annuitants: You are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP during open season (even if you were never enrolled as an employee) as long as you retired on immediate annuity or for disability under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), or other retirement system for employees of the Federal government (a postponed FERS Minimum Retirement Age +10 annuity counts).

Retired uniformed service members: If you were an active uniformed service member and you retire, you are now eligible to enroll in FEDVIP dental coverage and, if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, FEDVIP vision coverage. You are considered newly eligible for the program and have 60 days from the date you became eligible to enroll in FEDVIP. Or, you can enroll in FEDVIP during an annual open season.

Yes, your FEDVIP plan automatically continues when you retire if you are enrolled as an employee. You shouldn't need to take any action—most payroll offices inform BENEFEDS when an employee retires.

There is no five year requirement for continuing FEDVIP into retirement like there is for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

No, you can't cancel your FEDVIP plan just because you retire. Your FEDVIP plan will automatically continue into retirement and your deductions will be collected through your annuity. There is no opportunity to cancel your FEDVIP plan outside of open season.

Your premium deductions haven't increased. The frequency of your deductions have changed from 24 or 26 per year to only 12. As a Federal employee, you paid your FEDVIP premiums on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis. Federal annuitants pay their premiums monthly.

Example: An employee who was paid bi-weekly was paying $5.00 for their premiums. When they retire they now receive their annuity once a month, causing the premium to increase to $10.83. They went from 26 pay periods a year to 12 pay periods a year, causing the premium deduction amount to increase, but they only pay it 12 times a year and the total remains the same.

Pay Period Pay Period Premium Annual Premium Amount
Bi-Weekly $5.00 $130.00
Semi-Monthly $5.42 $130.00
Monthly $10.83 $130.00

Your FEDVIP premiums cannot be deducted from your annuity while you are receiving interim payments (sometimes called "special pay"). This means we cannot take deductions from your annuity/pension until the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) finalizes your annuity. While you're receiving interim payments, you may receive direct bills to pay for your premiums. Anytime you receive a direct bill for your FEDVIP premiums, it is important to pay it in order to keep your coverage active.

If the active duty service member retires, you are no longer eligible for FEDVIP as a primary enrollee. You must notify BENEFEDS of the sponsor's retirement and your coverage will be inactivated. The sponsor must then enroll in FEDVIP dental and/or vision coverage as a retired uniformed service member and add you and any other eligible family members as dependents to his or her coverage.

If you are already retired from the uniformed services and you are now leaving or retiring from private sector employment, you are able to enroll in FEDVIP if you experienced a FEDVIP qualifying life event (QLE). For instance, if you lost insurance as part of leaving the private sector, then you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP within 31 days prior to and 60 days after the date of the QLE. However, if you are only canceling insurance with your employer but it is still available to you, then you must wait until the next open season to enroll.