VA Dental Benefits

VA dental benefits are not rolled into standard veterans’ health care insurance policies. Due to cost, availability and other factors, dental insurance for veterans is typically handled through separate policies and practices.

The types and costs of benefits available to veterans are determined primarily by need and what priority groups they have been assigned to. For example, veterans in the highest priority groups who qualify to receive their health care free of charge are generally eligible to receive veterans dental benefits at no cost, as well.

While it cannot offer free services to all veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is invested in ensuring that every former service member has access to appropriate and quality dental care. To this end, it offers dental care at more than 200 clinics across the United States. It also facilitates reduced cost dental benefits for veterans through VA Dental Insurance Program insurance policies.

Free Dental Care for Veterans

The VA offers free dental care for veterans who have been assigned to certain priority groups. In most cases, no cost dental coverage for veterans is available to:

  • Class I: Veterans with service-connected dental disabilities or conditions
  • Class IIC: Former Prisoners of War
  • Class IV: Veterans with service-connected rated at 100 percent or who are deemed unemployable due to service-connected disabilities

Limited free VA dental benefits may also be available to:

  • Class IIA: Veterans with non-compensable service-connected dental conditions or disabilities from trauma received during service or combat
  • Class III: Veterans with dental conditions aggravated by service

Related Article: How to Apply for VA Health Care Benefits

Additionally, some veterans may be eligible for free one-time dental care examinations or services upon enrollment or as part of an assessment for VA health care insurance enrollment. Others may qualify for limited, no cost veterans dental benefits and services. If these services are necessary to facilitate their enrollment or success in vocational rehabilitation programs, veterans should learn how to apply for VA low cost benefits.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Dental Benefits for Veterans

Inpatient dental for veterans is co-managed by the VA and the hospitals, nursing homes or domiciliary care providers directly overseeing veterans’ daily care. Inpatient veterans typically qualify for VA coverage for any dental work directly associated with other covered health conditions for which they are receiving care, as determined by their primary care providers.

Outpatient dental care for veterans is also generally linked to conditions caused or aggravated by military service. Veterans’ care teams may determine that non-related care is also necessary, if it:

  • Affects patients’ quality of life (e.g. causes continuous or excessive pain).
  • Reduces veterans’ ability to live independently or perform basic life tasks such as chewing food.
  • Negatively impacts veterans’ employability or rehabilitation progress.
  • Presents a serious threat to health if not treated.

Applying for VA Dental Coverage

Former United States military servicemembers may apply for veterans dental benefits using the same 10-10EZ form used to apply for standard VA health care benefits. Forms can be submitted in person, online or by mail. Enrollees may also call the VA and apply by phone, if they prefer, at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

The 10-10EZ form will ask VA dental benefits applicants to provide their:

  • Basic personal identifying information
  • Household and dependent information
  • Service histories
  • Employment and disability statuses
  • Annual qualifying income and expense figures

Applicants who have already submitted or are submitting an application for health care benefits do not need to submit a separate application for veterans dental benefits. Dental eligibility determinations will automatically be upon application for standard health benefits. However, applicants may apply only for dental benefits if they wish.

VADIP Dental Plans for Veterans

Veterans who do not qualify for free VA dental benefits have the option to purchase VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) plans. Former servicemembers are eligible to buy into VADIP dental plans for veterans if they are enrolled in a VA health care program or the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA).

VADIP plans are private insurance plans available to veterans at special reduced rates as the result of VA contracts industry providers. Currently, the VA is in contract with Delta Dental of California and MetLife, who are providing all VADIP plan options to qualifying enrollees.

VA dental plans cover:

  • Preventive services
  • Emergency services
  • Diagnostic dental services
  • Endodontics and other restorative procedures
  • Dental surgeries

VADIP veterans dental insurance policies come in a variety of coverage levels and enrollees are free to select the plans most appropriate to their personal needs and budgets. Premiums vary by plan. Policy holders are responsible for paying their own premiums and may be subject to copays, as well. Veterans who qualify for limited no cost services from the VA may “stack” their VA provided care with a VADIP plan for maximum coverage at minimal cost.

Veterans can find additional information on VADIP dental coverage plan options and detailed enrollment instructions on the VA’s website. VA representatives can assist veterans in determining what benefits they are entitled to and selecting appropriate plans upon request.

Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA)

Dental insurance for veterans and their families may also be available to eligible applicants through the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA). CHAMPVA offers health care of all types to veterans and their dependents and can be stacked with other forms of VA health insurance and Medicaid. It is not compatible with TRICARE, however. Families may pursue veterans dental insurance through CHAMPVA if they are:

  • The spouses or dependents of veterans rated as permanently or completely disabled due to a service-connected condition.
  • Surviving spouses or dependents of veterans who died as the result of a service-connected disability.
  • Surviving spouses or dependents of veterans killed in the line of duty.

CHAMPVA does not qualify as primary health care coverage for the purposes of the Affordable Care Act. Although enrollees can use it to access low cost dental insurance for veterans and their families, it cannot stand alone and must be combined with other suitable benefits.

Veterans seeking dental benefits can apply for CHAMPVA using VA Form 10-10d (Application for CHAMPVA Benefits). They will also need to submit VA Form 10-7959c (Other Health Insurance Certification) with their applications. Applicants already enrolled or going through the application process for Medicare must include copies of their Medicare cards with their applications. Applicants who are not eligible for Medicare for any reason must submit an explanation and supporting documentation of why they are ineligible.

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