Expansion of Federal Vision Insurance Opens Coverage Options to National Guard Members
This past March, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in partnership with the Defense Health Agency and the Department of Defense, announced that for the first time the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will offer vision insurance coverage to Guard Soldiers and their Family members.
National Guard members already enrolled in a TRICARE Reserve Select healthcare plan will be eligible to enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan during the next open season. Similar to the TRICARE dental program, enrollment is voluntary and applicable premiums and co-pays apply.
The program offers four providers from which to choose a FEDVIP vision plan: Aetna Vision, FEP BlueVision (a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield), UnitedHealthcare Vision and VSP Vision Care.
All FEDVIP plans offer the following coverage:
- Routine eye exams and vision correction without having to be referred by a doctor
- Low vision exams for those with vision impairment, perhaps due to eye disease or injury
- Eyeglasses (frames and lenses) or contact lenses
- Lens options including scratch-resistant, shatter-resistant polycarbonate, UV coatings, tinted and progressive lenses
- Discounts on laser eye surgery
All four vision plans offer single and Family coverage, standard and high plan options and include discounts on various vision-related products.
The FEDVIP website – Tricare.Benefeds.com – offers an online tool that compares premium rates and coverage options from all four providers for the 2019 plan year.
As you look at the different plans, consider your needs:
- What services are covered in each plan?
- What are the monthly premiums?
- How do the co-pays compare?
- Are some programs better for frequent or more complex eye care needs?
- Which is better if you anticipate just basic needs, such as just a once-a-year eye exam?
- Does the provider’s network include your current eye doctor or eye care center, or could you switch to an in-network doctor with whom you would be comfortable?
Enrollment in a Vision Plan
National Guard service members will be eligible to enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan during the next Federal Benefits Open Enrollment Season, which takes place November 12, 2018, through December 10, 2018. This is the only period in which service members may enroll for 2019 coverage – outside of specific life-changing events such as marriage, the birth of a child or loss of a Family member. Plan coverage begins Jan. 1, 2019.
Service members may also sign up for plan update notices through Tricare.Benefeds.com.
Remember these key dates for the FEDVIP vision plan enrollment:
- Nov. 12, 2018: Federal Benefits Open Season begins
- Dec. 10, 2018: Federal Benefits Open Season closes at midnight, Eastern Standard Time
- Jan. 1, 2019: Plan coverage begins.
For detailed information on coverage from each of the providers, visit:
Aetna’s website at AetnaFeds.com/fedvip-vision.php
FEP BlueVision’s website at DVTV.DavisVision.com/bluevision/bcbsa.htm
UnitedHealthcare’s website at FedVIP.MyUHCvision.com/MWP/Landing
VSP Vision Care’s website at ChooseVSP.com/tricare.html
By Staff Writer Pamela DeLoatch