Certain Tricare beneficiaries who are affected by the shutdown and who pay their enrollment fees by allotment are still covered by Tricare, even though pay has stopped, according to Defense Health Agency officials.

This includes some in the Coast Guard community, U.S. Public Health Service and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Those who are currently serving in these organizations don’t pay for health care, and their families don’t pay enrollment fees. But their family members are eligible to enroll in the Tricare Dental Program, a voluntary dental plan, that allows beneficiaries to set up allotments for payment.

Also, those who pay their premiums by allotment or deductions for their dental and/or vision coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP) won’t see a lapse in their coverage either, according to FEDVIP administrators.

  • A number of retirees of the Coast Guard, NOAA, the U.S. Public Health Service pay for their Tricare fees by allotment. They’re still covered by Tricare, along with their eligible dependents, to include family members, survivors, and eligible former spouses. 
  • Retirees and eligible dependents won’t be disenrolled, officials said.
  • Beneficiaries can still enroll in Tricare during the shutdown, by calling their regional contractor or the Tricare Dental Plan contractor. 

According to the Tricare website, beneficiaries may be able to change their method of payment from allotment to electronic transfer, or credit card or debit card.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program

If you pay your premiums through allotment or deductions, and the payments are suspended during the shutdown, you don’t need to take action. But depending on the length of the shutdown, the FEDVIP administrators may have to start billing you directly for the premiums. When deductions and allotments resume, they’ll collect any missed premiums by adjusting future deductions or allotments from your pay.

Those who pay their premiums by direct bill or by electronic withdrawals from their bank account aren’t affected.

Military retirees are able to enroll in the dental plan and vision plan through FEDVIP. Active-duty families are able to enroll in the vision plan through FEDVIP.

The shutdown doesn’t affect the paychecks for those who worked for or retired from the Defense Department.

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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