2018 TRDP Changes

Posted on October 02, 2018

Retirees: What you need to know about the TRDP transition

You may have heard that the TRDP will end on December 31, 2018. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the TRDP will be replaced by the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). FEDVIP offers a choice of 10 dental carriers, including Delta Dental.

We understand changes to your dental coverage may sound confusing. We’re here to help you know what to expect and what resources you have.

The last day to enroll in the TRDP is October 31, 2018.

If you’re currently enrolled in the TRDP, you will not automatically be enrolled in a FEDVIP plan for 2019.You can choose a new plan from one of the 10 FEDVIP carriers, including Delta Dental, during the enrollment period.

Delta Dental will terminate our allotment of your retirement pay at the end of 2018 and BENEFEDS will start your new allotment beginning in 2019. You don’t need to do anything to set up an allotment for your FEDVIP premiums. As part of the FEDVIP enrollment process, you’ll answer questions regarding your eligibility and available funds and/or allotments.


Delta Dental has proudly served the TRDP military retiree community for the last 20 years and we’re pleased to be one of your choices in FEDVIP.

Providers: Helping your TRDP patients transition to FEDVIP

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) will be ending on December 31, 2018. Retirees currently enrolled in or eligible for TRDP will have the option to secure dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Help prevent any gap in dental coverage for your patients and their families by directing them to to learn more.

Soldiers, Airmen Connect To Military Communities With ShowMyExchange.Com’s New Hub Page

Posted on September 28, 2018

To keep Soldiers, Airmen and military families connected to their communities, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has debuted a resource page on with up-to-date information on installation-wide events and programs in their area.

The Hub, at, provides information on events and specials at local Exchanges and commissaries, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and Air Force Services activities in one easy-to-navigate location.

“This online resource, which is updated daily, is a huge benefit to time-strapped Airmen, Soldiers and their families,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “The Hub is the go-to source to stay connected to Exchange events, Express specials and other happenings in the military community.”

Upcoming events are featured on the Hub’s What’s Happening section, including deals of the week, special savings and giveaways for the entire family.

The Hub also includes links to:

  • Event photos
  • BE FIT resources
  • Veterans information
  • com, the Exchange’s career website

“The Exchange is a vital part of the military community,” Reyes said. “The Hub strengthens the connection to Airmen, Soldiers, military retirees and Veterans.”

Facebook-friendly version: To keep Soldiers, Airmen and military families connected to their communities, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has a debuted resource page on with up-to-date information on installation-wide events and programs in their area. Read more:

VA, Walgreens collaborate to improve care coordination for Veterans

Posted on September 26, 2018

As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to improve care coordination for Veterans, the department is working with pharmacy services provider Walgreens to coordinate patient and pharmaceutical care for VA-enrolled patients.

With the click of a button, VA providers will be able to see the entire medication and immunization history of VA-enrolled patients who receive their prescription and immunization needs at Walgreens.

“This arrangement is the first of its kind and it’s a strong collaboration,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Partnerships like this will help VA continue to improve the way we care for Veterans.” 

As it expands its community care program, VA actively refines its ability to track medication prescribed by community providers. Prior to the arrangement, VA providers would ask patients to inform them about medications filled at Walgreens. With the VA-Walgreens exchange, VA providers can now easily view medications directly that are prescribed to VA-enrolled patients by community providers and filled at Walgreens pharmacies. 

For the past five years, VA and Walgreens have partnered to provide flu shots at no cost for enrolled Veterans, improving vaccination rates and access to immunizations. 

VA exchanges standards-based medical information securely and electronically with participating community health care partners, such as Walgreens, to ensure the best possible care coordination and medication management. Currently, VA exchanges health information with over 170 community health care partners, representing 1,288 hospitals, 537 Federally Qualified Health Centers, 261 nursing homes, 8,649 pharmacies (including over 8,000 Walgreens pharmacies) and over 22,431 clinics.  

Additional information about the VA Health Information Exchange Program can be found online at 

Send TRICARE to College with Your Child

Posted on September 24, 2018

Is your student hitting the books at college this fall? TRICARE travels with them. TRICARE coverage of eligible dependents extends to college students.

Children are eligible for TRICARE benefits until age 21. But coverage extends up to age 23 for unmarried children of TRICARE-eligible sponsors, if both:

  • The child is a college student enrolled in a full-time course of study at an approved institution of higher learning
  • The sponsor provides over 50 percent of the child’s financial support

If your student is heading to college, update the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to reflect this status. This will verify and ensure their eligibility for TRICARE.

To extend benefits past your student’s 21st birthday, you’ll need a letter from the school registrar’s office. The letter must state your child is enrolled full-time in an accredited college in pursuit of an associate’s degree or higher. Bring the letter to an ID card-issuing facility. To avoid automatic disenrollment when your child turns 21, you should update DEERS information before his or her 21st birthday. Check with your regional contractor after doing so to make sure there’s no break in coverage.

Health Plan Options

TRICARE health plan options and payment requirements depend on the location of the college your student attends, your sponsor status, and your family’s individual preferences. Use the TRICARE compare plans tool for a side-by-side look at plan features and costs.

Like other beneficiaries eligible to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select, college students may only enroll in or change their TRICARE coverage during the annual TRICARE Open Season unless they experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). This year, TRICARE Open Season is from Nov. 12 through Dec. 10, 2018. Coverage will start on Jan. 1, 2019. The most common QLE for college students is a change in their residential address (from home to college or vice versa). To qualify, update DEERS with the new address.

Studying in the U.S.

TRICARE Prime and US Family Health Plan (USFHP) enrollees attending college stateside in the same region as their sponsor may keep their TRICARE Prime or USFHP at their sponsor’s address or transfer their enrollment to their school address. These plans must be available in the new location. And you must meet all enrollment criteria.

TRICARE Prime and USFHP enrollees going to college stateside in a different region from their sponsor’s residence may generally keep their TRICARE Prime enrollment in their sponsor’s region. They may also choose split enrollment and transfer their enrollment if TRICARE Prime is available in their new region. Some restrictions may apply. Check with your regional contractor for specifics.

TRICARE Prime Remote (TPR) enrollees must live at their sponsor’s qualifying residence to stay eligible for TPR. If moving away from home, TPR enrollees may enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select.

Coverage will remain the same for those enrolled in TRICARE Select, TRICARE Reserve Select, and TRICARE Retired Reserve.

Studying Overseas

If your student attends college overseas on their own, they’re eligible to enroll in TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Select. Students who attend college overseas who are command-sponsored and live with their sponsor overseas remain eligible for TOP Prime or TOP Prime Remote. TOP Prime and TOP Prime Remote aren’t available to students living or traveling overseas whose sponsors live in the U.S.

Other Health InsuranceHealth insurance you have in addition to TRICARE, such as Medicare or an employer-sponsored health insurance. TRICARE supplements don’t qualify as "other health insurance."

Some colleges and universities offer a student health plan. Student health plans are other health insurance(OHI). TRICARE pays second to OHI. If you plan to use a student health plan, tell your health care and pharmacy contractors. And update DEERS to show you have OHI.

Coverage After TRICARE Eligibility Ends

Students who no longer qualify for regular TRICARE coverage may qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adultor Continued Health Care Benefit Program coverage.

For more information on TRICARE options for college students or young adults, visit Going to College. You should also contact your regional contractor if you have questions about health plan options for your child. 

Stay Covered After Age 21 With TRICARE Young Adult

Posted on September 21, 2018

Have you recently graduated from college, but you haven’t found your dream job yet? Or did you just turn 21, and you’re not enrolled in college? If you’re worried about your health care coverage as a military dependent, TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) may give you the coverage you need. TYA eligibility begins when regular TRICARE coverage ends at age 21, or up to age 23 if enrolled in college.

Is TRICARE Young Adult Right for You?

TYA is an option for unmarried, young adult dependents who have aged out of regular TRICARE coverage. It’s only available for individuals and isn’t offered as a family plan. The TYA benefit includes either TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select coverage worldwide. The sponsor’s status and the dependent’s geographic location determine eligibility to purchase TYA Prime or TYA Select. TYA coverage includes medical and pharmacy benefits, but excludes dental coverage.

Are You Eligible?

You qualify to purchase TYA if you’re:

  • An unmarried, adult child of an eligible uniformed service sponsor
  • At least age 21, but not yet 26 years old (see further restrictions)
  • Not eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan based on your own employment
  • Not otherwise eligible for TRICARE program coverage

To participate, you’re required to pay monthly premiums. Your plan options (for example, TYA Prime or TYA Select) and sponsor’s military status determine what you pay for covered services. Check out TRICARE Young Adult Costs to learn more about TYA costs and fees.

How Do You Enroll?

If you qualify for TYA, you must actively enroll in and purchase the plan. There are four ways to enroll in TYA:

Before deciding if TYA is right for you, you should review all of your health care options. Visit Children Becoming Adults for more about coverage once TRICARE eligibility ends for dependent children. You can also find other health care coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. 

September Is Healthy Aging Month

Posted on September 17, 2018

Did you know that gum disease – and not the aging process – is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults? Good oral health habits and a healthy lifestyle can help you keep your gums healthy and your smile bright for a lifetime. Developing a simple daily routine of brushing, flossing and eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is important regardless of age. Here are some tips to help keep your mouth healthy and strong:

Brush at least twice a day

Brushing your teeth regularly is important in all stages of life. Brushing helps to remove the thin film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth each day and contributes to tooth decay. You should brush your teeth for two to three minutes with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. If you can brush your teeth after every meal, that’s even better.

When you brush, you should keep the bristles angled against the gumline and brush along the gumline and the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth. Finish by brushing your tongue, which helps remove bacteria from your mouth.

Special concerns as you age: Although decay may occur in any area of the tooth, as you age decay is more likely to develop around old fillings or in the softer root of the tooth that is exposed as gums recede. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly so that he or she can keep an eye on these vulnerable areas.

Floss daily

Flossing your teeth can help keep your gums strong and prevent plaque from building up between teeth. Make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, to clean the places where a toothbrush can’t reach.

How important is flossing? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, flossing is the only activity that can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline, where decay and gum disease often begin.

Special concerns as you age: Most people don't realize how important it is to take care of their gums as well as their teeth. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Most adults show some signs of gum disease.

In addition, recent research has shown that the health of your gums may have a connection to some chronic diseases. Having periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to and may be a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease or diabetes. Experts are studying how inflammation in the mouth caused by gum disease may influence other areas of the body (brain, heart and pancreas), causing disease in those areas. Although the exact connection between gum disease and some other chronic diseases is not known, this connection between medical and dental conditions highlights the importance of maintaining good oral health to achieve good overall health.

Eat nutritious food

What you eat can help you keep your teeth. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.

Some foods may actually help defend against tooth decay in special ways. For instance, recent studies have indicated that fresh cranberries interrupt the bonding of oral bacteria before they can form damaging plaque. Other foods that have beneficial effects on oral health include:

  • Calcium-fortified juices, milk and other dairy products, which are rich in calcium and vitamin D, help promote healthy teeth and bones, and reduce the risk for tooth loss.
  • Cheese, which unleashes a burst of calcium that mixes with plaque and sticks to the teeth, protecting them from the acid that causes decay and helping to rebuild tooth enamel on the spot.
  • Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery, which help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Special concerns as you age: Experiencing tooth pain or other oral problems may affect your ability to eat nutritious food. You should visit your dentist right away if you are experiencing any tooth pain, jaw pain, mouth sores or other oral discomfort that interferes with your ability to eat.

Keep up with dentist appointments

Your dentist can diagnose and treat dental health problems before they become serious. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are an important part of maintaining good dental health as you age.

New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems. So, seeing a dentist regularly not only helps to keep your mouth in top shape, but also allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues.

Special concerns as you age: As you age, you become more vulnerable to developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. Researchers believe that symptoms of these diseases can manifest themselves in the mouth, making dentists key in diagnosing the diseases. In fact, your dentist may be the first health professional to notice a problem.

In addition, it is important to visit your dentist regularly because some oral problems, for instance root decay, can only be detected in its early stages by x-ray examination.

If you smoke, quit

In addition to increasing your risk of many health conditions, smoking can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers, according to two 30-year studies at Tufts University that investigated the relationship between smoking and tooth loss. Another study cited in the Journal of Dental Research shows that cigarette smokers are nearly twice as likely as non-smokers to need root canal treatment.

While most people are aware of the impact tobacco use has on their overall health, some might not consider its effects on oral health. Smoking increases risk of mouth pain, cavities, gum recession, gum (periodontal) disease and tooth loss. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of adults who smoke have gum disease.

The good news is that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking. To help you kick the habit, your dentist may prescribe a variety of nicotine replacement therapies, such as a transdermal nicotine patch (worn for 24 hours over several weeks with a dissipating flow of nicotine) or chewing gum (which is slowly chewed every one to two hours and then discarded).

Special concerns as you age: In addition to increasing your risk for gum disease and tooth loss, smoking increases your risk for oral cancer. Although oral cancer can occur in any age group, it most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See a dentist immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums, tongue or other oral tissues, and watch for sores that fail to heal within two weeks. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured more easily. Your dentist should perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer at your regular checkups.

Information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry 

The MILITARY STAR Card Earns Retirees, Military Community $27.5 Million in 2017

Posted on September 17, 2018

Retired Soldiers and family members who shop with their MILITARY STAR® card don’t just save money, they earn it—all while supporting the entire military community.

The MILITARY STAR card includes a free loyalty program enrollment. For every $1 spent with MILITARY STAR at exchanges—including online at, and—commissaries and Armed Forces Recreation Centers, cardholders earn two loyalty points; with every 2,000 points earned, they receive a $20 rewards card. Those cards, mailed directly to cardholders once earned, can then be redeemed anywhere an Exchange gift card is accepted. Last year, MILITARY STAR cardholders received $27.5 million in personal dividends through rewards cards.

And it’s not just MILITARY STAR cardholders who reap the rewards. Every time the card is used, the Exchange saves money by avoiding costly merchant fees charged by bank-issued credit cards. Because military exchange earnings support the military community, the money saved in merchant fees—$28.7 million in 2017—is re-invested into needed installation programs and services like Army Child Development, fitness centers and more. These programs are critical to improving Quality-of-Life support for our Warfighters and their families. Using MILITARY STAR directly benefits these programs by increasing the funds the Exchange is able to give back to the installation.

The MILITARY STAR card helps set the Exchange apart from other retailers while offering unique value for cardholders. Originally designed to combat predatory lenders taking advantage of service members, the card gave an alternative credit option with fair and flexible terms to help build credit safely and responsibly. Beyond that, the card offers everyday discounts on food and fuel as well as exclusive savings and offers.

In October 2017, the MILITARY STAR card was further strengthened as commissaries began accepting the card. Being able to use the card at the commissary was one of the top requests we heard from shoppers.

In total, MILITARY STAR generated $445 million in value in 2017 for the military community. In addition to the rewards cards earned and money saved on merchant fees, other savings include:

  • $309 million from one low APR for all cardholders, regardless of credit score (comparison of 11.99% vs. the average store credit card APR of 25.24 percent).
  • $32.9 million due to MILITARY STAR never charging late fees (average credit card late fee is $35). 
  • $17.2 million from MILITARY STAR’s 0-percent-interest financing offers and never charging “back interest” after a promotion ends.
  • $9.1 million for new cardholders taking advantage of the card’s first-day discount.
  • $8 million through MILITARY STAR’s interest-free military clothing plan.
  • $4.8 million at Exchange restaurants with the everyday 10 percent food discount.
  • $4.3 million at the pump, where MILITARY STAR users save 5 cents per gallon of gas at Army & Air Force Exchange locations
  • $2.2 million with MILITARY STAR’s reduced-interest deployment policy.
  • $1.1 million on shipping, where every purchase made with MILITARY STAR receives standard shipping for free.  

As part of a continuing effort to offer the best service and support to retired Soldiers, military members and families, we are working to expand MILITARY STAR acceptance across each military installation.

Thank you for allowing to the Exchange to be a part of your life. We are deeply honored to serve those who have given so much to our Nation and are truly grateful for your sacrifice and service.

By Army & Air Force Exchange Service Director/CEO Tom Shull

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About Army Echoes

Army Echoes informs Retired Soldiers, surviving spouses, and their Families on changes to their benefits and entitlements, developments within the Army, and how they can continue to support the Army.