Salute to Spouses Blog

We're excited to be blogging about the latest topics in military life. We want to keep you informed on topics such as current events, education, career advice, etc. Feel free to post comments or questions to any of our entries.
2019, the year to track your insurance benefits

How old were you when you realized how much, or how little, your health insurance pays of your needed treatment?

This year. I figured that out, this year, in my 40s. Previous to this, our dental, vision and medical insurance through the military pretty much covered all of our needs. The military’s dental insurance even covered roughly half of my oldest son’s braces.

The VA covered 100 percent of my husband’s multiple surgeries after he served in Iraq so those $300,000 and $400,000 explanation of benefits forms we received were just scary reminders that a serious injury could be disastrous financially.

Still, I didn’t realize how much we relied on insurance until I had to have a tooth pulled, and replaced. It seemed simple and small in the greater plan but, as it turns out, that’s an expensive procedure.

And months later, I needed a filling. And was promptly told I would need to pay the full $250 cost. Umm, yeah, I have insurance. Nope, I used it all up with the other procedure to pull my tooth.

If you don’t use all your insurance in one year, you don’t really realize that it has a limit. And, it does.

This year Tricare held its first open enrollment period for military members to purchase vision and dental insurance. It was a rocky process. It was confusing. And even though that enrollment period is over it is not clear what we, or our providers, have gotten ourselves into.

This is the year to pay attention, even if you are in your 20s, young, healthy and never need a filling. Someday, you will.

Once the new plans take effect in 2019, talk to the insurance offices for your providers. They will be working to calculate how much of the plan covers each typical procedure. If you have a secondary insurance through a civilian employer, then talk to them as well. Find out which insurance is considered your primary? Also, know that once your primary insurance covers their portion, the secondary insurance doesn’t simply cover the rest of the tab, there is a calculation for what they will pay and it’s not the same as it would be if they were your primary insurance.

It’s going to be a lot of numbers and probably some confusion. But this is the year to pay attention to the plan you enrolled in and compare it to the other plans. That way when open enrollment begins in November of 2019 you will have the tools at the ready to make a decision that fits your family’s needs.

In 2019, make a resolution to track and improve your health benefit choices. You may not need many of those benefits now, but someday, you will. And you need to be certain to use every one of them to help you, and your financial bottom line, improve.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

Salute to Spouses Scholarship Recipients