Dental work is expensive, and dental insurance is, too. It’s little wonder many people forego dental work because they can’t afford it. However, the Dental Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) may be able to help you if you’re one of America’s veterans or active-duty military members.
Did you know that veterans can receive free dental care through the DVA Gold Card?
What’s A DVA Gold Card?
It’s a special dental card designed to help with certain costs of dental work for former members of the armed forces. The DVA gold card can be issued if you’ve served in wartime or peacetime, including peacekeeping operations. You can also receive dental care through this card if you’re a dependent of a veteran who has died on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability.
What’s Covered By DVA Gold Card?
The DVA gold card covers all medically necessary dental work rendered to you by dental service providers enrolled in dental care. With this card, you’ll be able to receive most DVA services under the dental health program, including:
- general dentistry
- dental cleaning
- dental exams
The dental gold card also covers dental services considered either preventive or restorative. Preventive dental care is vital for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease, including:
- dental health screenings such as x-rays
- preventative cleaning
- dental sealants
Restorative dental work is meant to help repair the dental problems that you have, including:
- dental fillings
- dental crowns
The dental gold card also covers dental prosthetic devices necessary to keep your smile healthy and beautiful, including dental appliances such as:
- dental bridges
- dental plates
- dental implants
There are exceptions for this last item with the DVA gold card: you can have dental bridges or dentures instead if you currently require dental implants but aren’t scheduled for dental implant surgery soon. Dental gold card benefits will go toward paying your deductible and co-pays if you have dental insurance.
What Aren’t Covered By DVA Gold Card?
The dental gold card doesn’t cover cosmetic dental work or certain dental services that are considered non-medical, including:
- dental implants for purely cosmetic reasons
- dental lab work
- dental appliances that aren’t functional
However, dental implants done for restorative purposes are covered under dental care. Dental procedures performed by dental service providers who aren’t enrolled in dental care will also be considered non-covered if they’re elective or didn’t stem from an injury or dental condition. If dental work isn’t covered under dental care, you can still get certain dental services from dental service providers who aren’t enrolled in dental care, but you’ll have to pay for them out of pocket. The DVA gold card might be able to help with this cost if the dental service provider that did your dental work is a participating dental care provider.
What To Expect From Your DVA Card?
Do you have dental insurance through your private dental plan? If so, you may wonder if the Department of Veterans Affairs dental services work similarly to dental insurance that you have. The dental care that you receive will be covered by dental gold cards, not dental insurance plans.
DVA dental services are also different from private dental plans in that they don’t pay your dental bills directly after you receive treatment from a dentist. Instead, the DVA requires that you submit receipts for treatment to them for reimbursement. You can submit dental receipts sent to you electronically directly from the dental care provider, or you can send them a paper copy of dental claims through mail.
Filing dental claims with dental care is straightforward, as done through their website. The dental gold card will be credited for the full amount of your dental bills, but it may take several weeks to process dental claims. You can check your dental status by logging into your dental account through the DVA website.
However, remember that dental gold cards aren’t dental insurance plans. You’ll still be responsible for paying any deductible or co-payments that weren’t covered under dental care before you can submit dental claims. For dental care providers who aren’t enrolled in dental care, dental reimbursement usually takes longer to process. This is because dental administrators must review claims. You can check up on the dental status of your DVA account after the dental claim submission deadline of each year.
Contact the US Department of Veterans Affairs to find out more about dental gold cards, dental services they provide, and who’s eligible for them. The DVA website will help answer your dental care questions, including dental gold card eligibility.