Improve Dental Care for ALL Veterans

Petition Dental Care for Vets V4

Petitioning US Congress Veterans Affairs Committee

This petition will be delivered to:  US Congress Veterans Affairs Committee

http://www.change.org/p/us-congress-veterans-affairs-committee-improve-dental-care-for-all-veterans-tricaretad

Improve Dental Care for ALL Veterans (TriCareTAD)

We oppose the President’s decision to propose sharp cuts in the DoD budget and then forcing our Vets to pay more for basic health care services such as Dental Health.  Our petition demonstrates that quality health care can be provided to our Vets and an expanded user base and save money at the same time. We need your help to make this happen.  Please sign our petition today using the link below.

http://www.change.org/p/us-congress-veterans-affairs-committee-improve-dental-care-for-all-veterans-tricaretad

The President is getting a lot of verbal support from organization such as the Center for American Progress who are all recommending sharp reductions in military spending that include equally drastic reductions in military compensation (pay, allowances, special pay, housing, subsistence, medical, quality of life, education, retirement and others). As one expert put it, “Everything is on the table”. The basis for our effort is rooted in the need to save money in the DoD budget by making wise spending decisions, but we do not support sharp cuts in personnel, pay, health or retirement benefits.

We want 10,000 Vets to sign this petition that we can present to several members of Congress on the Veterans Affairs Committee to gain their support to improve Tri Care and other military programs. We want to send a clear message that more benefits, higher levels of financial support and an expanded base of eligible Vets can all be attained and the program can become revenue neutral or near revenue neutral as opposed to the current program that costs the DoD billions of dollars (or otherwise the President would not need to cut it so drastically).

Our program will be called TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD)

This is our Plan

Benefits

Preventative Care

Who

Annual

Max # of Years

Max Lifetime Benefit

Member:

$100

30 – 40

$3,000 – $4,000

Spouse:

$100

60

$6,000

Child 1

$100

28

$2,800

Child 2

$100

28

$2,800

 

 

 

 

Procedures

Who

Annual

Max # of Years

Max Lifetime Benefit

Member:

$1400

30 – 40

$24,000

Spouse:

$1400

60

$24,000

Child 1

$1400

28

$12,000

Child 2

$1400

28

$12,000

 

 

 

 

Orthodontics

Who

Annual

Max # of Years

Max Lifetime Benefit

Member:

$0

0

$0

Spouse:

$0

0

$0

Child 1

$3,200

28

$6,400

Child 2

$3,200

28

$6,400

Our Plan provides many more benefits to a larger base of beneficiaries at a lower cost.  But more importantly, it offers realistic and expanded coverage levels that make the program attractive. Just compare the two plans below.

Cost: ($35 premium per month and 20% Co Pay, with no deductible)

(As a point of reference the California Dental PPO under Medicare costs $35 per month.)

Who 

Monthly

Annual

Max # of Years

Lifetime Maximum

Member:

$35

$0 to $420

30 – 40

$12,600

Spouse:

$35

$420

60

$25,200

Child 1

$35

$420

28

$11,760

Child 2

$35

$420

28

$11,760

0% share for preventative care    $0.00

20% share for procedures lifetime max per person        $6,000

20% share for orthodontics lifetime max (per child)         $1,600

Current Tri Care

Dental Program VS. New / Proposed TriCare Advanced Dentistry

 Category 

Current System

Delta Dental Pays

New TriCare Advanced

Dentistry Pays

Benefits during first 12 months

$ or %

$ or %

Basic restorative services (fillings)

80%

80%

Endodontics (root canals)

60%

80%

Periodontics (gum treatment)

60%

80%

Oral Surgery (extractions)

60%

80%

Emergency services

80%

80%

Dental accident coverage

100%

80%

Diagnostic services (exams, x-rays)

100%

100%

Preventative services (cleanings,
fluoride)

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

Additional services after 12 months of continuous enrollment or 4 months
after retirement:

No waiting period but premiums must be current

Major restorative
services (crowns and Bridges)

50%

80%

Prosthodontics
services (partial/full Dentures) 

50%

80%

Dental implant services

50%

80%

Orthodontics

50%

80% (children)

Annual deductible per person

50%

None

Annual maximum

$1,300

$3,200

Annual Orthodontics maximum

$1,300

$3,200

Orthodontics lifetime maximum

$1,750

$6,400

Dental accident maximum

$1,200

$24,000

We provide a great deal of information and specifics below, but the bottom line is this.  Every Vet that raised their hand to protect our nation deserves our protection now.  Providing every Vet, including our homeless and unemployed Vets with quality dental care at an affordable price is key to our commitment.  This is not free.  But it is affordable and should be made available to every Vet now.

For more information on our overall DoD cost savings plan, you can read the information below. Otherwise, please sign our petition today.

We support the DoD proposals to cut over $18B in spending.   The DoD has said, “Institutional reforms in the budget will save $18.2 billion in FY 2015 and an estimated $94 billion through FY 2019.  Efficiency actions include a 20 percent cut in headquarters operating budgets, reduced contractor funding, targeted reductions in civilian personnel, reductions in funding for defense support agencies, savings in military health care, and savings from deferred military construction projects and family housing.” 

We do not support the President’s plan (or the plan of other organizations and committees) to cut 166,000 active duty service members and 40,000 reservists.  This type of action will only add to the 250,000+ Veterans who are currently unemployed.  This will put upward pressure on the 8,000 suicides among Veterans in today’s society.  These are involuntary separations or pink slips or firings.  Moving 166,000 military members from paying jobs to the unemployment rolls will drive up the government subsidies for housing, food stamps, school lunch programs, Medicaid and other federal support to the former members of our service that will suddenly fall below the poverty line (or in some cases 400% of the poverty line).  It is a cut of $10B in “compensation” to the military, but an increase in several billion to other agencies of the federal, state and local governments like HHS/States ($1.3B for Medicaid), Agriculture/States ($350M for food stamps, WIC, and school lunches), County (not Federal) Education ($3.6B for local education instead of base education, which currently costs the DoD $2.944B), Labor ($1.4B for unemployment insurance) and Housing and Urban Development ($800M for subsidized housing).  It also cuts revenue from coming into the Department of the Treasury (10% to 24% per member or about $1.1B).  The cost of saving $10B by cutting the troop strength in the military is actually $10.5B in the first year and drops to $9B in the second year.  The cost continues to go down, but only if these former service members get jobs that pay over $15 per hour.  So where is the gain to the Federal Budget in an economy that cannot absorb them?  And no matter what, local school districts will pick up the full cost of roughly 300,000 children who are no longer being educated on base or subsidized by the military to go to local schools.  That is $3.6B per year for K-12.

We support a slowdown on recruitment and allowing natural attrition to reduce the size of the military to pre 9/11 troop strengths for the Army and Marines.  We believe that it would be wise to increase the troop strength for the Air Force and Navy and return to levels that existed in 2001.

Tri Care Dental

Over the next few months we are going to make specific proposals to provide enhanced care for dental, vision, hearing, mental health and drugs (prescription medications).  For now we are going to focus on Dental Care.

In addition to the DoD proposal to cut over $18B in FY 2015 and more in the out years, we want to offer a specific plan to streamline Tri Care Dental.  In our next petition we will address other specific plans, but for now, we are only talking about Tri Care Dental.  Our plan calls for the consolidation of all existing Tri Care Dental Programs into one program (at a savings of approximately $10M per year or more).  We propose a simplification of enrollment, simplification of premium structures, simplification of benefit disbursement, simplification and expansion of preventative care, increasing the premiums for some beneficiaries while decreasing them for others, increasing the lifetime caps for orthodontics, increasing the annual benefit for other procedures and expanding the eligibility for Tri Care Dental to anyone who has served for more than 90 days in uniform and has not had a dishonorable discharge.

To keep this brief, we will summarize our plan and let you think about it.  It is so simple that anyone could figure it out.  It is affordable by anyone.  It has lifetime benefits that fit the dental health needs of our service members and their families in the real world.  It will prevent most of the expensive procedures that might be faced by our Vets and their families due to the lack of adequate preventative care in the current program, thereby saving the DoD more than $100M per year.  We have structured the program to roughly pay for itself so that there is no cash outlay by the DoD for non service members (i.e. dependents, reservists and retirees), but even if there was a relatively small cash outlay by the DoD, our service members and their families deserve this benefit.  They have sacrificed so much and they have earned our support in this area.

Our program will be called TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD)

Beneficiaries

Active-duty Service members will generally receive care at military dental clinics at no cost while on active duty.  This includes activated Reserve forces and activated National Guard forces and any other active duty personnel.

Family members of active-duty Service members are required to enroll in TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD).  Children of Active Duty Service Members are eligible until age 28.  Divorced spouses are eligible.  Adopted and foster care children are eligible.  The Cost is $35 per person per month (period).

Non-activated Reserve and National Guard and their family members may enroll in TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD).  Children of Active Duty Service Members are eligible until age 28.  Divorced spouses are eligible.  Adopted and foster care children are eligible.  The Cost is $35 per person per month (with Reservists and National Guard members not paying anything while serving on active duty or drill days). Reserve and National Guard members may receive active-duty dental benefits when on active duty at no cost for up to two months per year while drilling or on related duty.

Retirees and their family members may enroll in TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD). Children of Active Duty Service Members are eligible until age 28. Divorced spouses are eligible.  Adopted and foster care children are eligible.  The Cost is $35 per person per month.

Any service member who has severed on Active Duty for a period of 90 days or longer (and their family) may enroll in TriCare Advanced Dentistry (TAD). Children of Active Duty Service Members are eligible until age 28. Divorced spouses are eligible.  Adopted and foster care children are eligible.  The Cost is $35 per person per month. 

Financial Summary

Premiums and services are Indexed for Inflation starting at $35 per month.

Active-duty Service members do not pay a premium for their own dental benefits.

Premiums ($35 per month) and cost shares (80/20) apply to family members of active duty, Reserve/Guard Service members, retirees, and their family members and anyone who has served for 90 days or more and has not received a dishonorable discharge and their families. Both Premiums and Lifetime Caps are indexed for inflation. There is no in network, out of network or specific list of service providers.  It is completely up to the individual cardholder to decide where to go get treatment.  If the individual shops wisely, they can make the card go two or three times further than others who do not shop wisely.

Under some of the previous Tri Care Dental Programs, monthly premiums ranged from $10.96 for one family member (excluding active-duty sponsor) to $109.63 for IRR members and their families according to the Commission for Military Compensation. http://mldc.whs.mil/public/docs/reports/MCRMC-Interim-Report-Final-LORES-L.pdf  Under the Tri Care Retiree Dental Program (Region B) the rates run from $30 for one person to $107 for a family of three or more according to the Tri Care Dental Program website. http://www.trdp.org/retirees/coverage.html

Under the new, proposed TAD program, there is only one premium ($35) and that premium amount applies to everyone who is enrolled.  No one pays a different amount.

Anyone who pays premiums for 60 years under our new TAD program (720 payments of $35, indexed for inflation) will not pay any further premiums (typically above age 80).

This is $105 per month for premiums for a hypothetical family of four (30-40 years of premiums for the service member, 60 years of premiums for one adult and 28 years of premiums for 2 children). These premiums should be indexed to ½ the COLA rate. When combined with the 80/20 cost sharing, a hypothetical family of four will contribute up to $82,520 over a lifetime to the new TriCare Advanced Dentistry program.  In return the family will get a maximum of $99,400 in benefits  ($14,600 in preventative care coverage, a maximum of $12,800 for orthodontics and a maximum of $72,000 for other procedures). The difference represents 16% of the current budget for DoD purchased care.

The service member does not pay anything while on active duty.  Reservists (any reservist in any status) do not pay for the months of November and December (to offset the cost of dental care while in drill or active duty status). The lifetime cap on orthodontics is $6,400 and all other procedures $24K (so the 80/20 applies to the first $8,000 of orthodontics and $30K of procedures).  Orthodontics is available to the children between the age of 12 and 18.

TriCare Advanced Dentistry works as insurance where a large body of people are paying into the system to achieve an appropriate level of cost sharing and efficiency.  Some people have healthy teeth and do not use all of their benefits and therefore they cover the gap between premium receipts and the full cost of the program (which starts out, near revenue neutral and should remain that way, i.e. less than 16% of the current amount DoD pays for purchased care). After 60 years of payments (including active duty time for the member), there is no further payment by the member or family members, but the benefit remains effective until death.  Divorced or widowed spouses are eligible, as are adopted and foster children.

To avoid “gaming the system” beneficiaries must remain current with their $35 per month payments.  If a service member or a member of their family falls behind, the outstanding or late payments must be brought up to date before reimbursement of any kind will be made.

$100 per person per year is provided under our plan for preventative care at no cost because this saves the taxpayer and service members from paying for major medical treatments later on.  We propose a $100 dental card to be used by each family member to get preventative care each year.  Any cost above $100 per year is paid by the family.  Dollars on the card remain on the card and can be carried over year to year. In a similar manner, the card will be loaded with the amount accrued on a monthly basis for orthodontics and other procedures. The cardholder can present this card to any dentist in the world who will accept this payment method and receive preventative care, orthodontics or other procedures up to the limit of the card.  The user can go on line to check balances and payments at any time.  It is up to the cardholder to find the best value and use the card wisely.  Failure to do so is the sole responsibility of the cardholder.

We propose the 80/20 split up to $24,000 per dependent (lifetime cap) on $30K of procedures for the adults and $12,000 cap on $15,000 of procedures for the children.  The children will leave the program at age 28, but the spouse will be eligible for their full lifetime and pay for TAD as long as 60 years. Remember the dependents have to pay 20%, so they are not going to go out and spend $30K without thinking about it (which would cost them $6K out of pocket on top of the $35/month premium).

The current Tri Care Dental Program only allows $1750 per person/per lifetime for the orthodontic services maximum. Under the current TDP you pay a 50% copay to get $1750 per person/per lifetime of service).   So if you pay $1750 per person you can get $1750 of service and you are done. The reality is that you can’t start orthodontics for $1,750 or half of $1,750 under the existing Tri Care Plan.  Orthodontics start at around $4,000 per child. Two children would cost $8,000.  We propose 80/20 split up to $6,400 per child (lifetime cap).  This would equate to 80% of $8,000 of services. The out of pocket expense would be $1,600.

Our new TRICARE Advanced Dentistry (TAD) (for active duty family members) has no annual deductible. We propose expanding the program (see above) at $35 per month premium per person for children to age 28 and non member parents for life (60 years max).

The current TRICARE Retiree Dental Program has an annual deductible of $50 per person, per benefit year (that’s $3,000 per person over 60 years).  This would be eliminated under TAD (a savings of about $7,500 for a typical family of four).

If all of the existing programs are combined with a $35 premium per person (as long as they are eligible), then it costs $420 per person per year and the cost sharing is 80/20 for everything except preventative care.  In preventative care you get $100 to spend on any form of preventative care each year and the dollars carry forward. Everyone who is eligible and receives a government paycheck for retirement or social security or disability will have the funds automatically deducted from their pay, benefits or allowances (cash payments) each month.  The program is optional for non active duty service members (and their families) but is mandatory for services members and their families.

Some people will argue that this benefit (program) is unjustified.  We say that everyone is healthier and happier if they have good teeth.  Our service members have earned it.  We have structured this program so that it is near revenue neutral and should remain that way, i.e. less than 16% of the current amount DoD pays for purchased care, and optional for non service members who are not yet receiving social security.  Under this program every service member could receive dental care for life by simply serving their country honorably and paying a premium of $35 per month. This will not cost the American taxpayer any more than is currently paid (probably a lot less) if administered properly.

Please take a moment and sign our petition today. 

Thank You,
Mike Philips
Host of SideView
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