06.23.08

Burr Introduces Legislation To Provide Veterans With Greater Access To Dental Insurance

Bill would let veterans and their families benefit from VA’s buying power

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) today introduced legislation that would provide veterans with access to dental insurance. The bill would allow the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to establish a dental program for all veterans, surviving spouses, and certain dependent children who are enrolled in VA's health care system. The program, which is completely voluntary, would give veterans the benefit of VA's buying power in order to get lower premiums on dental insurance coverage.

"Healthy teeth are an important part of overall health, and our veterans should have access to affordable dental care," Burr said. "This legislation would provide veterans with access to group insurance rates they may not otherwise be able to get on their own. The Department of Defense runs a similar program that has given over a million retirees and their families access to dental coverage. With this kind of success, it seems only fitting that we offer the same kind of benefit to the 7.9 million veterans enrolled in VA health care."

Although VA does provide dental coverage under some circumstances, the vast majority of people receiving care from the department do not have access to dental care through VA. Burr's legislation is modeled after the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), in which military retirees are given the option to purchase dental coverage under a private contract managed by the Department of Defense. The bill would not replace any dental services provided by VA.

"This legislation would ensure that servicemembers and veterans are well-served and get to reap the benefits of group rates and competition," Burr added.