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Retiree Dental Plan Contract Awarded

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 1997 – Low-cost dental insurance that becomes available to military retirees Feb. 1, 1998, will offer enrollees an annual dental care entitlement of $1,000.

Sacramento-based Delta Dental Plan of California will administer the five-year, $1.53 billion contract. More than 4.2 million people will be eligible to enroll, including DoD and Coast Guard retirees, eligible family members and not-remarried spouses of deceased military retirees. The plan will provide services throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Somoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The plan divides the country into five regions. Premiums will vary by region, based on average dental costs for each area. Monthly premiums in the first year of the contract will average $12.26 for one person, $23.80 for two and $39.31 for a family. Delta Dental will collect premiums through payroll deductions of retiree pay or direct billing to those not receiving retiree pay.

Enrollees must sign up for 24 months initially and pay the first four month's premiums. After the first two years, they can stay enrolled on a month-to-month basis.

The plan offers a variety of diagnostic, preventive, restorative, endodontic (root canal), periodontic (gum, tissue and bone diseases) and oral surgery services at specified levels of cost-sharing. Some services -- mostly diagnostic and preventive -- won't require cost-sharing, while others will require cost-shares of 20 to 40 percent. Enrollees must pay a $50 annual deductible before cost-sharing beings.

Defense health officials said Delta will mail information about the plan to eligible persons.

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