Retiring to Civilian Life: Your Essential Guide to Dental and Vision Coverage (For Spouses)

Published: July 31, 2023


Transitioning out of the military can be an exciting but challenging time for both you and your service member. Amidst all the changes, it’s crucial to ensure that your healthcare needs are taken care of — because once you’re out of service, dental and vision coverage is no longer part of your TRICARE health plan. If your spouse is retiring from active duty, that’s where the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) comes in.

Here at Blue Star Families, we’re not the experts on FEDVIP but our trusted friends at Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Vision and Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Dental are. And here’s what they think you, as a military spouse, need to know when transitioning out of the military. Because the truth is, your spouse is likely getting this information as part of their retirement, but you may not be aware of it. So, here’s your essential guide to securing valuable dental and vision coverage for you and your family!

FEDVIP as a Post-Military Healthcare Option:

As your service member retires from the military, you might lose access to certain healthcare benefits, including dental and vision coverage. But fret not! FEDVIP is a fantastic solution. It’s a voluntary program specifically designed to provide comprehensive dental and vision insurance to federal employees, including military retirees and their eligible family members. Enrolling in FEDVIP ensures that you can continue receiving essential dental and vision care beyond your military life.

Eligibility and Enrollment:

Understanding your eligibility and enrollment periods for FEDVIP is essential. As a military spouse, you are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP for vision coverage when your spouse is on active duty. When your service member retires, you and your family members are eligible for dental and vision coverage through them. However, keep in mind that enrollment is not automatic—you need to take action during the open enrollment period (November 13 through midnight ET on December 11, 2023) or within 60 days of experiencing a qualifying life event.

Coverage Options and Benefits:

FEDVIP offers dental and vision plans tailored to your needs.

BCBS FEP Dental offers fully-covered, in-network preventive care, including up to three dental cleanings a year with no deductible for in-network services like fillings and root canals. They also offer a large nationwide network with nearly half a million in-network dentists and their locations.

Plus, benefits start right away – there’s no waiting period for in-network coverage, like for orthodontic services, including braces, aligners and retainers for children and adults. BCBS FEP Dental has an easy online tool to help you choose the right plan for you and your family: or call 1-855-504-BLUE (2583) (TTY: 711).

With BCBS FEP Vision, you fully-covered, comprehensive vision care exams for you and your family, plus get access to over 144,000 independent providers and national retailers, including Vista Optical in Select Military Exchanges, MyEyeDr., Walmart, America’s Best, Warby Parker, LensCrafters, Visionworks, Costco, Target Optical, Pearle Vision, Sam’s Club and more.

You can also use benefits at online retailers, including,,, and BCBS FEP Vision also offers a one-of-a-kind Exclusive Collection of over 220 designer frames, each valued up to $195, covered in full at most independent provider locations. Try the BCBS FEP Vision online tool to help you choose the right plan for your family: or call 1-888-550-BLUE (2583) (TTY: 1-800-523-2847).

Take the time to review the plans and select the best fit for your family’s dental and vision needs.

Cost Considerations:

As you transition out of the military, managing your finances becomes crucial. Be sure to compare different plans based on their costs and benefits. Look into factors like premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximums to evaluate the affordability of each plan. It’s important to remember that FEDVIP is a separate program from Tricare, so you’ll have your own premium and cost structure to consider.

Access to a Wide Network of Providers:

FEDVIP ensures you have access to a broad network of dental and vision providers, giving you options for your healthcare needs. You can choose a provider from the FEDVIP network or opt for an out-of-network provider (although costs may differ). Knowing the available providers and their locations can help you make an informed decision when selecting a plan.

Transitioning out of the military is a big step, and taking care of your healthcare needs is crucial during this time. FEDVIP offers valuable dental and vision coverage for military retirees and their eligible family members, including you! By enrolling in FEDVIP, you can ensure that you and your loved ones continue to receive the necessary dental and vision care beyond your military life. Remember to check your eligibility, stay aware of enrollment periods, explore coverage options, consider costs, and take advantage of the provider network. Embrace this transition with confidence, knowing that BCBS FEP Vision and BCBS FEP Dental are there to support your comprehensive healthcare plan.

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