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New bill enables veterans to purchase low premium dental coverage

July 25, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Senate July 13 passed a new bill that allows veterans to purchase low premium dental coverage from private insurers.

The VA Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., transitions a dental insurance pilot program that was established in 2014 to a statutory program serving all eligible veterans, survivors and dependents who are in the Veterans Affairs system. The program serves as a portal through which veterans can purchase low premium dental coverage from private insurers. Veterans who are already eligible to receive dental care directly from the VA will not be affected by this program.

"We're supportive of all efforts to extend dental coverage to veterans, and reauthorizing this program certainly would do that," said ADA President Carol Gomez Summerhays, herself a third-generation Navy veteran. "Anything that deals with the military and veterans is very important to me."

"Making sure veterans have dental care is the right thing to do," said Sen. Burr in a news release. "The veterans' dental insurance pilot program has a track record of success, and it is time to open it up to all veterans. Medical professionals have long known that proper dental care is linked to better overall health. I am pleased the Senate has recognized the value of this dental benefit for veterans and has passed my bill."