Everything You Need to Know About Veteran’s Affairs Dental Coverage

The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) run a variety of benefits programs to help qualified veterans pay for healthcare. If you are a veteran or family member of a veteran, you may be able to get some or all your dental care costs covered by VA dental care benefits. In 2020, more than 490,000 American veterans received some level of dental coverage through this system.

Even if you do not qualify for free dental care, you may still be able to save money by using the VA dental insurance program to secure discounted private coverage.

What Do VA Dental Benefits Cover?

There are different levels of VA dental care coverage. Your military history and current financial and health situation will determine what dental benefits you receive, if any. The VA will assess this information to decide which “benefit class” you should be placed in. Changes to your circumstances may affect your benefits eligibility, so it is essential to report changes as they occur.

According to the VA dental care guidelines, you may qualify to receive “any needed dental care” free of charge, if one of the following statements apply:

  • You have a service-connected compensable dental disability or condition;
  • You are a former prisoner of war, or;
  • You have a service-connected disability rated 100 percent or are unemployable and paid at the 100 percent rate due to service-connected conditions.

You may be eligible for limited VA dental care if one of the following statements apply:

  • You have a service-connected non-compensable dental condition or disability resulting from combat wounds or service trauma;
  • You have a dental condition which is deemed to be aggravating a service-connected medical condition;
  • You are actively engaged in a Title 38, USC Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, or;
  • You are receiving VA care or are scheduled for inpatient care and require dental care for a condition which complicates a medical condition currently being treated.

Finally, you may qualify for a “one-time course of dental care” if any of the following statements apply:

  • You request dental care within 180 days of discharge — under any condition other than dishonorable — or release from a period of active duty spanning 90 days or more, or;
  • You are enrolled in a qualifying VA sponsored homeless residential rehabilitation program for at least 60 days.

What Is the VA Dental Insurance Program?

The VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) was established to help veterans and their families with the cost of dental coverage, if they do not qualify for dental benefits. The program is accessible via two dental insurance companies:

  1. Delta Dental
  2. MetLife

VADIP coverage may be used pay for a range of dental procedures, including:

  • Diagnostic services
  • Restorative services
  • Preventative services
  • Dental surgery
  • Endodontics

Essentially, the program allows veterans to get a discount on a private insurance plan. The amount of the discount you receive will depend on which insurance plan you choose and your financial circumstances. Delta Dental and MetLife offer a range of different insurance plans and coverage levels, so there is something to suit every budget. Note that veterans who qualify for partial VA dental coverage can also take advantage of a VADIP plan to lessen the expense of treatments that must be paid for out of pocket.

To enroll in VADIP, contact Delta Dental or MetLife to find out about their available insurance plans. You may be eligible for a VADIP plan if one of the following statements is true:

  • You are a veteran who’s enrolled in VA health care, or;
  • You are the current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a veteran or active service member and are enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA.

Veteran’s Affairs ran a four-year pilot of their dental insurance program between 2013 and 2017. The full program came into effect after this trial period and will continue until at least December 2021. It is important to note that your enrollment within the original pilot program will not have remained active beyond 2017. This means that people who were enrolled between 2013 and 2017 must enroll again to ensure their discounted dental insurance remains valid.

How to Apply for VA Dental Care

You can apply for VA dental care coverage by filling out VA form 10-10EZ (Application for Health Benefits). This application can be completed online via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

To make your application, you will need:

  • Your social security number
  • Your military discharge papers
  • Financial information for you and any dependents
  • Your most recent tax return
  • Account numbers for any existing health insurance policies you have

Do not worry if you need help filling out your application form, as you can get support from a Veterans Service Officer or another VA representative.

Where Can I Get VA Dental Care?

There are over 200 dental clinics around the United States offering veteran’s dental care services. You can find your nearest clinic by using the VA dental clinic search facility.

To find out more about VA dental benefits, call Veteran’s Affairs at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

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