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VA offers dental insurance program

SUN Columnist

VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced today.

“VA continues to explore innovative ways to help veterans get access to the care and services they have earned and deserve,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This new dental program is another example of VA creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver a range of high-quality care at an affordable cost, for our nation’s veterans.”

More than 8 million veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans.  This three-year pilot has been designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage.  Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment.

There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment.  People interested in participating may complete an application online through either Delta Dental, www.deltadentalvadip.org, or MetLife, www.metlife.com/vadip beginning Nov. 15.  Coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014, and will be available throughout the United States and its territories.

Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA’s CHAMPVA program.  Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of veterans officially rated as “permanently and totally” disabled by a service-connected condition.

Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment.  Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary.  Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans.  Copayments and other charges may apply.

Historically VA’s free dental services have gone to veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that’s officially certified as “service connected.”  Free dental services will continue for those veterans.

For more information on VADIP, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vadip, or contact Delta Dental at (855) 370-3303 or MetLife at (888) 310-1681.

Further information

For further Information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd.

I will be out of the office on the following days for regular scheduled meetings:

• Vets4Vets: Tuesday mornings, 0900-1200.

• Arboles Community Center, first and third Thursdays. Back around 1400.

• Pagosa Outreach Connection, 0830 to 1000 every Thursday.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590, and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for completing applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to, and a copy for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office. If the office is closed, I am out assisting veterans; leave me a message and phone number to contact you.

The following Veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Quality Resort.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: Every other Monday, 6 p.m. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte: 731-1025.

• Point Man Ministries’ Breakfast for Veterans 8:30 a.m. each Tuesday at Buffalo Inn, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Vincent:  (435) 618-0049, Vfortunato777@gmail.com.

Important numbers

• (970) 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.

• The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on November 21, 2013.