Am I Eligible for VA Dental Care Benefits?
SERVING TOGETHER BLOG
Am I Eligible for VA Dental Care Benefits?
An Overview of Dental Care Benefits for Veterans
Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com)
Good oral health is essential to one’s overall well-being and everyone deserves access to good and affordable dental care. However, this isn’t always easy and some underserved populations may have a more difficult time finding the right dental care for them. For example, dental care benefits for veterans can be complicated and confusing, making it harder for those who have served our country to find the care they deserve. As a dentist who has served as a dental officer in the Navy, and has been working in my own practice for 17 years, I always take the time to help veterans understand their dental benefits and help educate them on how to receive the best oral care. This overview will cover the different kinds of eligibilities and alternative options for veterans if they learn they are not eligible for dental care benefits.
Eligibility Classes for Dental Care
There are nine different classes for eligibility that veterans may fall into when it comes to their dental benefits. Since health care benefits can oftentimes be confusing, these eligibility classes can help veterans know if they fall into one. Here is an explanation of each class and what an individual may qualify for according to the VA.
Class I: You are eligible for any needed dental care if you have a condition or dental disability that is compensated through connected service.
Class IIC: You are eligible for any needed dental care if you were once a prisoner of war.
Class IV: If you have disabilities that are rated 100% on the disabling scale that were acquired through service, you are eligible for any needed dental care. You are also eligible if you are unemployed and unpaid because of said disability.
Class II: You’re eligible for one-time dental care if your DD214 certificate of discharge has not indicated that a full dental examination and appropriate treatment was rendered before you were discharged.
Class IIA: If you can provide and maintain a dentition that is fully maintained, like a Dental Trauma Rating 10-564-D, you are eligible for any needed dental care. The VA Regional Office Rating Decision will identify the dental care that is needed, but you must have a noncompensable dental condition or resulting disability from your time in service.
Class V: You are eligible for any needed dental care if you are engaged actively in a 38 USC Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation program. Note that there are certain criteria you must meet in your program to be eligible.
Class VI: If you are scheduled for or are currently receiving inpatient care, you are eligible for any needed dental care to treat any oral condition that has been deemed to complicate your current medical condition or treatment by a VA dental professional.
Class IIB: You’re eligible for a one-time course for care if it has been deemed medically necessary for the purpose of relieving pain, treating moderate, or severe gum conditions, or if it is to assist you in gaining employment. You must be an enrolled homeless or care-receiving veteran under VHA Directive 2007-039 to receive this care.
These eligibility classes can still be confusing for some, and if you have any questions or concerns the Veteran Affairs Website is the best place to visit for more information about your eligibility.
Where to Go If You Are Not Eligible For Dental Benefits
You may learn that you are not eligible for dental care benefits, and while this can be disheartening, you do still have options to receive the care you deserve. If you visit the National VA Dental Insurance Program you will be able to apply for the Civilian Health and Medical Program. This will allow you to receive dental insurance at a lowered price through MetLife or Delta Dental. Through this, you will pay a monthly premium and co-payments. You can expect endodontics, restorative, preventative, emergency, and surgical treatments to all be covered.
Alternative Options for Receiving Dental Care
Apart from dental care through the VA, there are other options available to you to receive the care you need. Many dentists across the United States have started to offer free or highly discounted services to veterans who are in desperate need of dental care.
One great avenue for care is visiting Aspen Dental. Aspen Dental has over 500 offices across the nation, dispenses a mobile unit that travels the country, and offers specific services to veterans. They have great availability with their dental offices open weekends as well. In 2015, Aspen Dental teamed up with Got Your 6, a non-profit organization that helps and supports veterans, to aid in the further mobilization of dentists across the nation. So far, over 4,000 veterans have been helped in their search for care.
While veteran eligibility for dental care can be intricate and frustrating at times, don’t lose sight of the fact that you deserve the right to affordable care. Even if you don’t qualify for benefits through the VA, there are multiple avenues you can take in finding the care that you need. All humans deserve easy access to having a healthy mouth and more dentists across the United States are opening their doors to provide dental care at a lower cost for veterans. Never give up on your dental care, even if it becomes discouraging. After all, having good oral care is essential to your overall health and well-being.