RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

TRDP UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on September 14th, 2008

An upcoming change to Tricare soon could give military retirees living overseas reason to smile. Beginning 1 OCT, those retirees will have access to the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) insurance benefits that have been previously unavailable outside the United States, Tricare officials said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes on 5 SEP. Jeff Album, spokesman for Delta Dental, the California-based contractor that handles Tricare’s dental coverage, said the company expects about 14,000 of the 35,000 eligible retirees to take advantage of the optional program in its first year. While the change is good news for many, it might not be cost-effective for every retiree living overseas, said Ed Chan, the Tricare Pacific director. For instance, out-of-pocket expenses for dental care in the Philippines are generally much less than monthly insurance premiums, he said. “In some cases, they may not get back what they paid into it,” he said. In South Korea and Japan, he said, retirees might have national insurance if they’re married to citizens of those countries, which includes some dental coverage. In some places in Japan and Okinawa, officials say, retirees can receive free space-available care on base. Retirees in South Korea have very limited on-post care. They are authorized emergency care and can get cleanings during special events such as retiree appreciation days and noncombatant evacuation exercises, said Chris Vaia, chairman of the retiree counsel at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.


Under the new Tricare contract, beneficiaries will be able to use off-post dentists on Tricare’s approved list of providers, which can be found at www.tricaredentalprogram.com. For orthodontic care or implants, however, special approval must be granted in advance of the work. Providers will work with local patient care representatives to obtain approval. Patients must pay their co-pay at the time of care, and Tricare will settle the rest of the bill. To enroll you will need to make a prepayment of two month’s premiums to ensure that you will be able to participate as soon as your coverage is effective. Once a payment process is established for you, either through mandated automatic deduction from your retired pay or other applicable billing method, the unused portion of the premium will be refunded. Premium rates vary by region. For example monthly premiums for retirees living in the Philippines (Region D) are $41.73 for single, $81.01 for two people, and $135.40 for a family of 3 or more. These ates for the Enhanced TRICARE Retiree Dental Program are effective 1 OCT 08 through 30 SEP 09. Monthly premiums are scheduled to change each year, on 1OCT. Department of Defense directed implementation of further program enhancements could result in the contractual establishment of monthly premium rate changes. If you move or change your enrollment option, your monthly premium rate may also change. Album said retirees living overseas can enroll in the Tricare dental program at www.trdp.org or by calling 1-866-721-8737. [Source: Stars and Stripes Pacific edition Jimmy Norris & Vince Little article 6 Sep 08 ++]

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