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Soon to be Military Retiree - Tricare Dental or Other?
Old 08-03-2012, 07:35 AM   #1
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Soon to be Military Retiree - Tricare Dental or Other?

Searched a bit and found some old threads but thought I would post this for myself and other 2012 Military Retirees.

I'm less than 30 days remaining on AD and soon to be RE. Yeah!! While I'm comfortable going without dental insurance, I don't think I'll convince DW of that, and besides she's probably correct with one still in college and my DW having some crown work that will most likely carry into retirement. Other than that, we both have good dental health.

My options beginning 1 Sep are Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) or some other form of dental insurance. Current TRDP premiums for family of three at our location is $114/month. When my daughter is no longer a dependent, premiums drop to $67/month for DW and me.

So my questions ... is there a better alternative than TRDP for Military Retirees? Those using TRDP, are you satisfied with it? Thanks.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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I had the TRDP many years ago but ended up dropping it. I find going without dental insurance to be worth the risk, even though I have had to pay out of pocket for a couple of crowns over the years. What I've found with dental insurance (these are generalities, not based on an analysis of the current TRDP):
- routine care offered only by "preferred providers," none of whom seem to be the ones I want to go to in my area.
- if you do go to your own choice dentist, you pay him/her, file with dental insurance and get only a pittance back.
- for more extensive work there is normally a 1- 2 year waiting period before you're eligible and then they only pay 50% of the approved amount up to an annual cap of a few thousand.

My choice is to brush and floss regularly and go it alone. YMMV.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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I would agree with the good friar.
Every time I've analyzed the various dental insurance programs and compared their benefits with what our actual dental experience has been, the difference between benefits received/premiums paid and self-pay/no insurance has been minuscule or nonexistent.

One big factor is that we have been using the same dentist for over 20 years (actually over 30 years in DW's case) and we are very happy with him. He is just a neighborhood dentist, but participates in none of the insurance plans, so that's a deal breaker right there.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Aviator,

We did opt for the TRDP, though were surprised at the cost. We still have two kids at home, and didn't want to self insure. Since we are paying the premiums, I keep up with the twice yearly exams/cleanings for the four of us, which helps to make me feel like we get our money's worth.

We may re-evaluate once it is down to just the two of us (a loooong way out for us since our youngest is 7). But, for now, it is comfortably in our budget, we are happy with our dentist, and will continue in the program.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
So my questions ... is there a better alternative than TRDP for Military Retirees?
I think the short answer to your question is "No."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
While I'm comfortable going without dental insurance, I don't think I'll convince DW of that, and besides she's probably correct with one still in college and my DW having some crown work that will most likely carry into retirement. Other than that, we both have good dental health.
Those using TRDP, are you satisfied with it? Thanks.
I don't have any recent experience with dental insurance, but the dentist's office will tell you how well they get along. Our pediatric dentist's biller gave us a 20% discount when she found out that our daughter no longer had insurance.

You could probably do a cold-hearted comparison of the cost of your spouse's crowns (the most expensive part of the dental care picture) against the cost of the monthly premiums. Add in the fact that after paying your spouse's premiums you're essentially getting free coverage for you and your daughter, dental insurance is a good decision.

I don't know how to predict the need for crowns or periodontia. If it was predictable then I suspect that dental insurance would cost a lot more.

Spouse and I have gone without insurance for over a decade. However spouse has no dental issues and hasn't even seen a dentist in nearly four years. I go every couple years for bitewing X-rays, a slight cleaning, and good conversation. Otherwise I brush & floss nearly every day. If a root canal/crown rears its ugly head then I've already saved plenty of premiums to pay for it.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:47 PM   #6
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Hey Aviator,


Quote:
premiums drop to $67/month for DW and me.

If you believe that your annual dental expenses will be $800 over the next year or so, it may work for you. Dental insurance is costly IMHO because it's not really insurance and if you only have semi-annual cleaning etc you will probably be better paying cash and pocketing the $800. Root canal, broken tooth~ you win if you have DI.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:29 AM   #7
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Great inputs by everyone. Given our situation, it might be wise to retain dental insurance, at least until our daughter is out of college and DW completes her crown work. After that, sounds like self-insuring is the better option. Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:42 PM   #8
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I opted for Govt Employer dental insurance over the Retiree one. One reason much larger coverage per year. Wife and 2 Kids. Oh yeah this year 1 bridge, 2 root canals, and 4 cleanings. I have yet to start my personal repair from 20+ yrs military dental.

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:16 PM   #9
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Hey, the best dentists I have used are the former Navy dentists who served Sub Base Bangor in Silverdale, WA.
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