Did you miss the Dec. 10 deadline to sign up for dental and vision benefits for 2019 under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program? Did you miss the deadline to switch Tricare plans for 2019?

You’ve been given a very short reprieve, as the deadlines have been extended. But sign up as soon as possible. The deadline to switch or enroll in Tricare plans has been extended to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Dec. 31.

The deadline for enrolling in FEDVIP dental and vision plans has been extended, but information was not available from the Office of Personnel Management about how long the extension will be.

As of the previous Dec. 10 deadline, 627,352 military retirees had enrolled in FEDVIP dental plans, according to the Defense Health Agency. That doesn’t include the number of family members they enrolled along with them.

Also as of Dec. 10, eligible Tricare beneficiaries enrolled in 292,215 FEDVIP vision plans — active-duty family members, reservists, retirees and their family members. Again, this is the number of plans, not the total number of beneficiaries who will be covered.

Want to switch your Tricare plan for 2019? If you’re satisfied with your current plan — Tricare Prime or Tricare Select — you don’t have to do anything. That coverage continues.

But if you want to switch, act now during this one-time grace period extension until Dec. 31. Beginning on Jan. 1, you’ll only be able to change plans or enroll in a plan during the annual open season, or following a qualifying life event, such as marriage, birth, adoption, divorce or retiring. This is a change from previous procedures. But this calendar year has also been a transition year, as Tricare beneficiaries have been able to switch back and forth between Tricare Prime and Tricare Select, through Dec. 31.

Want to enroll in a FEDVIP dental insurance plan for 2019? Act now, especially if you’re a military retiree who was covered under the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). The TRDP ends on Dec. 31, and military retirees can get coverage under the FEDVIP if they want to continue dental insurance through the government as of Jan.1. Visit www.benefeds.com.

There are at least 10 choices available to potential enrollees through FEDVIP, with options for self-only coverage, self plus one, and self plus family. Premium costs vary by geographic area, and among the different insurance carriers. But within each national plan available throughout the country and internationally, the other features and benefits of that national dental carrier will stay the same from one area to another. Thus, the percentage of co-pay stays the same across the board for that carrier, as well as the annual maximum benefit and other features.

Want to enroll in a FEDVIP vision insurance plan for 2019? Act now. Visit www.benefeds.com

Most active-duty family members, retirees and reservists and their family members are now eligible for this new vision benefit under FEDVIP that provides extra coverage beyond what they’re getting under Tricare plans. This FEDVIP vision coverage is effective Jan. 1.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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