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Some members of the National Guard and reserves no longer can pay dental premiums via payroll deduction since the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. became the new contractor for the Tricare Dental Program on May 1, a Defense Department news release said.

The program covers military family members and reserve-component servicemembers, excluding active-duty, activated National Guard, and reserve members who receive free military dental services, Army Brig. Gen. W. Bryan Gamble, deputy director of TRICARE Management Activity, said in the release.

The change affects about 8,000 reserve-component troops who are on orders to active duty for more than 30 days. These troops have been identified and will not lose coverage. However, they will receive paper bills and must make their premium payments by check, electronic funds transfer or credit card until the payroll deduction option becomes available, the release said. Defense Department finance officials, Tricare representatives and MetLife staffers are working on a long-term solution to the payroll deduction issue, Gamble said.

MetLife offers slightly lower premiums and more benefits than previous programs, the release said, including increases to the annual maximum, lifetime orthodontic maximum and an additional $1,200 maximum per year for services related to accidents or injuries.

Servicemembers who think they might be affected are asked to check their pay statements and contact MetLife at 855-638-8371 if they do not see a premium payment.


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