Military families in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, which make up one of the largest active duty and retired military populations in the U.S., have been living with with improper dental care plans as many healthcare providers have stopped accepting them as patients. Since last year, those with TRICARE dental plans, which are currently administered by United Concordia, have come forward to say that the situation is forcing many military families to seek out-of-network care solutions.
Policyholders say that the fees collected through the TRICARE plan have been lowered in recent years. Providers claim that the historically-low reimbursement rates are not sustainable for them. In fact, in many cases the fees do not even pay for the overhead costs required to perform even the most standard dental procedures.
Following the news of the situation, area Congressman Scott Taylor (VA-2) has called for a congressional investigation into TRICARE, requesting through a letter to the Chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) and ranking member Jackie Speier (CA-14).
“Our office has heard from dozens of service members, their families, and dental providers over our time in office. Clearly, the new TRICARE contract’s reimbursement rates are not sustainable for providers, thus forcing them to withdraw from the network and creating an unacceptable burden on our military families,” said Congressman Taylor in a news release.
The former Navy seal and Iraq combat veteran has called for the investigation to determine whether the current TRICARE dental plan is “meeting its commitment of providing a robust network of qualified dental care providers that addresses the dental care needs of active duty military families” in Hampton Roads and throughout the surrounding area.
On his Facebook page, Taylor said, “I’ve heard from too many service members, their families, and dental providers…I have called for a congressional investigation into the new Tricare contract. Something has to change.”