Tricare chooses MetLife, not United Concordia, for dental coverage

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld a decision to award a $3.1 billion Tricare dental plan contract to a different insurer, its first change in 15 years.

Tricare Management Activity agency at the U.S. Department of Defense decided to give New York, N.Y.-based Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. a $3.1 billion dental plan contract rather than United Concordia Cos., based in Harrisburg, Pa.

Tricare managers decided that the MetLife provider network suited the military insurance program better than United Concordia’s network, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

United Concordia, a division of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Highmark, was the Tricare dental program provider for 15 years.

The division offered a fixed-price bid of $3.23 billion covering the next five years, while MetLife’s bid was $3.09 billion, the newspaper reported.

United Concordia challenged decision by arguing that it deserved bonus points for being the “incumbent contractor” because a “change in contractors may require beneficiaries to change [dental care] providers,” according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The GAO denied the protest.

United Concordia said in a statement that it is disappointed that the company’s protest was not successful, but will do its best to provide high-quality service during the transition period, which will last until mid-2012, the newspaper reported.

About 200 United Concordia employees are employed through the Tricare contract, which provides dental services to about 2 million military members, retirees, reservists and their families.

40 Responses

  1. Eddie Says:

    This is big news. Metlife is more of a national carrier and perhaps that weighed in on the decision.

  2. dentist pittsburgh Says:

    I think you’re right. I wonder if they give any more information on their reasoning or if that information is private.

  3. dentist from delaware Says:

    Met Life is a company who uses outsourcing to foreign country for administrative work.

    Another 200 jobs lost to outside of US —- great for eeconmy??

  4. frustrated Says:

    From a providers standpoint, it’s very frustrating. My office joined with United Concordia because they have a special fee schedule for the Tricare patients, we signed on with that. Now that it’s going to Metlife, they have been terrible, the fee schedule offered is a joke and they won’t negotiate at all, then thought we were asking for a miracle when inquiring about a separate schedule – just one more reason we don’t want to participate with MetLife.

  5. Cheryl Says:

    As a dental office, we are very happy for this change! I am not happy that they outsource jobs(maybe that will change with political change), but United Concordia has always been a pain and there fee schedules are extremly hard to get raised. Metlife has always been willing to review and raise our fee schedule and they are VERY easy to deal with and wonderful to work with all around. A very up and coming company, with excellent customer service and quick claim processing. Customer service is key! Soooo happy to hear this!

  6. Christine Says:

    As a policty holder of United Concordia, I was very unhappy with the deductible that was being offered to the military families. I am certainly not asking for free dental care but perhaps alittle better coverage than the current 1200.00 per year. That is nothing! I am all for change as long as it is a good change. The government is already taking so much from the families that SACRIFICE their own lives and loved one to protect this county in exchange for crappy Health/Dental Care.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    Metlife has the lowest reimbursment out of any insurance company my office participates with. United Concordia has a much higher allowance for each procedure. This change to Metlife will limit access to patients because alot of dentist’s do not accept Metlife due to low reimbursement and down coding. Good luck to all military famalies looking for quality dental care!!

  8. concerned Says:

    Not happy with the change. I don’t think Cheryl knows what she’s talking about (maybe she works for Metlife). Metlife is shoving their terrible fee schedule down dental provider’s throats and showing no sign of compromise.

  9. Lucy Says:

    We can thank Metlife for many future lay-offs of dental professionals.

  10. Peter Says:

    I work in the Washington DC area where a lot of Federal employees have MetLife dental — as do I. I always hear fantastic things about coverage and claims process and the extensive dental network. So I feel like it will be a positive change from a patient perspective. Griping about reimbursement rates is what physicians do best. In any other market its like employees sitting around complaining about salary — it might make them feel better but it doesn’t affect the quality of the work.

  11. David Urban Says:

    It would enlightening to patients if they knew there was a wide range in prices that dental offices pay for such things as filling material, lab services etc. Our office uses the best. But, since using the cheap generic altrrnatives(ADAapproved tho) mightbecome necessary. If ultimately what patients and their employers want is cheap dentistry- it can be delivered as such. With Met life as the militaty TriCare provider- yet again military families will get cheap care. What a shame to treat these filies so crappy. This is Veterans Day- lets honor these men and women better!

  12. Debbie Says:

    Just another way to screw the military. We will have to change our dentist of 10 years cause Metlife just doesn’t pay! The providers available do NOT speak English so we will probably just drop the insurance and pay out of pocket to stick with a reliable dentist.

  13. Andrea Says:

    I was informed by my current dental clinic that MetLife has a lower cap than United Concordia. Also, MetLife does NOT include the fluoride treatment with the dental cleaning. It is not covered in their plan, but with United Concordia, the fluoride treatment is FREE with the dental cleaning. I was also informed that the deductible will increase 40%. This is too many changes that I personally do not agree with. How does this help the military members? I do not see it making things better, but worse. I will not accept MetLife if this information is true. I am going to be calling them when their office opens to get the prices so I am prepared.

  14. Happy with Metlife Says:

    Those who are upset with their Metlife plan, needs to look it over. You have to remember that Metlife has SEVERAL options for dental insurance and its your EMPLOYER who makes the final choice. So if you don’t have the dental insurance you want, then you need to get your own policy. I have the BEST Metlife policy for dental thru my employer and LOVE IT. Never once have I had any problems finding a dentist, getting a claim paid or even talking with customer service. Don’t bash something you don’t know.

  15. Uncertain Says:

    Happy with Metlife: You are absolutely correct that is the EMPLOYER who makes the final choice. Our employer is the Federal Government, which has chosen to leave the recipients without the same level of coverage we were already receiving through United Concordia. My children are not going to be able to continue using the same dentist or orthodontist, which means we will lose the free benefits afforded us by both as long-standing customers. Further, the plan provided by Tricare has been equated to Medicare/Medicaid by many of the dentists in the area, who refuse to do business with MetLife.

  16. Jennifer Says:

    My provider of 6 years just dumped me because they will not accept Metlife. I have called several other local dental offices and they will not make a commmitment to service me either. Basically until the change officially occurs I can only schedule appointments up to February and nothing beyond.

  17. Kim Bechtol Says:

    Ridiculous! We have had the same dentist for our children for the last 10 years. We are in the middle of Orthodontics with one of our children ….. NOW WHAT? We lose all the good Doctors and Dentists because the plans are on the side or cost effectiveness vice GOOD medical/dental care! Come on guys, you can do better than that!

  18. Dan Says:

    I gave up with United Concordia and will not go with Metlife, either. I found a decent policy through Security Life. The down side is that there is waiting periods for certain levels of care, but it’s resasonable. We have full coverage (not including ortho) within one year. We pay $51 a month for a family of four.

  19. Rebekah Says:

    For those of you who think that Metlife is so great you must not be getting the full story. In our dental office the are asking the doctors to reduce their fees by 35% or more. As David Urban says, that means buying cheaper products which means poor quality for the patient. It could also mean reducing the staff because the doctor’s overhead has become to great. That contributes to the unemployment rate. That doesn’t sound like a good idea. No one wants to take a cut in pay or reduce their staff. Metlife is not willing to negotiate. What happened to making sure our military families have great care? It’s quite obvious the government doesn’t care. I don’t think they would be crazy about having their pay cut by 35% or more. Especially since they vote themselves a pay raise every year!

  20. kathie Says:

    Where is the call center for Metlife? When our office originally participated back in 2010 I believe it must have been somewhere towards India! How about the security involved with our active military. I can tell you one thing United Concordia took that seriously.

  21. Matt Says:

    Everyone stop and think. Everyone is complaining about nobody accepts metlife. What do you think is going to happen once each state determines that the military dental insurance has changed to Metlife? Obviously if they want to stay in business they’re going to change their business practices in order to provide services for patients with Metlife coverage. Honestly I’m extremely happy with the change. Goodbye United Concordia. I thought United Concordia was great until I had to deal with them recently. We’ve paid them a monthly amount for the last 12 years and have really never needed extensive dental work. Now that we have extensive dental work they won’t give a penny more than the 1200.00 cap. That is ridiculous. When I called to inquire about it the employee was extremely rude, so honestly I’m looking forward to the change. Lets all hope that the change is for the better.

  22. erd Says:

    [Portion deleted] like you really have a say in this anyways.
    also think of the jobs that will be created for metlife not the ones that were lost. think positive

  23. Amy Lambert Says:

    I have to change dentists now and I am NOT happy about it. I love my dentist and I’ve been going to him for years. I don’t want to go to a new dentist.

  24. ILoveMyCurrentDentist Says:

    My current dentist, who I’ve been seeing for years, is out of network. Nobody in my area that doesn’t have low customer reviews and malpractice sanctions will take metlife. Guess I’ve either got to pay out of pocket for a decent dentist or stop getting dental care. Thank you government.

  25. K Says:

    Think about the jobs lost from United Concordia. Your government chose to go with Metlife. They choose what services are covered, what your maximum is, the dentists choose whether they are in the network. If the fees are too low, they cannot afford to participate in the network. Many dentists that participate currently with Tricare Dental lose out on thousands of dollars (probably monthly) if they participate. This may or may not equal out to the business they get by being participating providers. Metlife received the contract because they offered a lower bid. Case in point. Hope you enjoy them.

  26. K Says:

    Also, when you are told by the dental office that the contract changes to Metlife May 1st it does. When you call to ask United Concordia, you are talking to people that will probably lose their job this summer. And no, many of those employees cannot disclose information about what Metlife will be doing. Most of them do not know. Anything they have heard, it is illegal to discuss. All you can do is wait for Metlife to contact you. And yes, your information automatically transfers over to them. You do not need to reapply for benefits.

  27. Sad for the change Says:

    What everyone needs to do is inundate Metlife’s call center with complaints. You also need to contact your post commander and let him know how you feel. Our office has tried working with Metlife and they will not talk to us. They said they will only consider changing if they get complaints from patients. You need to let your voice be heard. People in our area now have to drive more than 30 miles if they want a Metlife provider. With the cost of gas people aren’t going to want to do that. Start calling today!

  28. SSG US Army Says:

    Metlife will be a change for the better. From all the reading I’ve done this is going to save my family 500 dollars a year, even if we have to drive 30 miles. If your only complaint is that you have to drive 30 miles then you don’t really need to complain. If you can’t handle change then you also don’t need to live life in the military.

    $500 goes a long way toward Christmas.

    For providers that are having problems with this change, all I have to say is that you suck. If you can’t handle the change then you are that money whoring asshole that I’ve had to argue with in the past.

  29. Marie Says:

    I work for a dental office and with what Metlife is offering the dentist at our office, it is not just possible to continue providing a good quality of care. It is sad that we will be losing a lot of military patients but the rate of reimbursement that Metlife has set just would not allow a dental office to continue operating. Yet, Metlife insurance does have some good plans but the military plan that will take effect on May 1 is NOT. All insurance have thousands of different plans and it depends on how much your employer, in this case, the military, is willing to pay the insurance carrier.

  30. Ashton Says:

    I am already tired of MetLife and we haven’t even started it yet! I got a letter from my dentist (I’ve been going to for years) stating they do not except MetLife because of it’s crappy coverage basically. I have also found out that most dental clinics in this area will not accept it. LOVELY! Now I get to go search for another dentist and start all over. Oh and my dentist sent me a list of the coverage compared to United Concordia, the difference is horrible. Just another way for the military to save a buck I suppose.

  31. Randy Says:

    Also got the letter from our dentist (she’s the daughter of a military vet). They reviewed the coverage differences and can not afford to continue seeing military dependents. Maybe they can write the coverage difference down as “Charity” on their taxes…not how I want my family to be seen.

  32. Jodi Says:

    Are you kidding me???!!! I have been with the same dentist for 12 years and they have dropped all of military people because of this. Who is the [expletive deleted] that approved this [expletive deleted]! I am too pissed off to find out!!
    Damn it!

  33. H Paul Says:

    What a massive mistake this was. MetLife has caused more problems in a few months than United Concordia did in 15 years. Typical low bid contractor behavior. The contract with MetLife should be terminated immediately and returned to United Concordia. 3.1 BILLION dollars??? Based on what I’ve experienced and heard and read they don’t deserve 3.1 thousand dollars. MetLife’s administration of this program has been a disaster. Our military personnel and their families deserve better.

  34. H Field Says:

    Metlife is turning out to be joke. It has already cost my family money on something United Concordia paid 100% on. I am discovering as time goes on the more money we are going to have to pay out of pocket. The dental office do not want to take Metlife even though we in the Hampton Roads area with its huge military population. It may save the government money but the famliy members of the service members are getting screwed.

  35. Sally Says:

    I think it was definitely a good change for both the members and providers. We are a provider contracting with both Metlife and United Concordia PPO networks. Our experiences in working with both companies, we find that Metlife benefits/claims administration and fees are better than United Concordia that occasionally implemented unqualified, clinical restrictions on certain procedures (cost saving, likely). It is also hard to request a fee increase from UC. I think military members should find it easier to find a Metlife dental provider than UC. We plan to end UC participation in the near future.

  36. amber Says:

    What a gigantic scam, I can’t even get them to pay for a regular cleaning that I was due for!!! This is absolutely horrible! I was so excited when I saw the new benefits, but turns out it’s just a gigantic scam. Metlife needs to be shut down. Now I see what the civilians have been complaining about. I guess we were spoiled with united concordia. Does anyone know of a group that can help us get switched back?

  37. Becky Says:

    METLIFE is a joke. I wish we had United Concordia back. I just called because it hasn’t been coming out of my paycheck and this was my second call and they said o sometimes it comes out of the paycheck and sometimes it direct bills…great job, NOT.

  38. JC Says:

    After finding that our dentist that we have seen for years does not accept Metlife, after researching dentist that would live up to the work we have received from our former dentist , they all did not accept Metlife. One even said that they don’t accept that insurance, “because it is similar to Medi-cal”, ouch. Ones that I do find accept Metlife have 1,2,3 stars on average if that for reviews online. I wish we could get United Concordia back, if there is a petition out there please post one, myself and others would most certainly sign it.

  39. BH Says:

    - Call centers are US based only. If it is outsourced it is in the US. Yes folks, there are outsourcing places in the US as well as international.
    - Plan is decent. Could see some improvements on high end care but basic care is pretty reasonable. If you’re paying out of pocket, there’s a decent chance your provider is charging way more than most in their area.
    - If a provider doesn’t accept Met, don’t sweat it. You can file your own claims. Providers will help you do this even if they won’t do it themselves. It will increase up-front costs but you’ll be reimbursed.
    - Billing is the area needing most improvement. Just call in and make one-time payments for best success. They have a habit of billing a month in advance. Don’t flip out, it won’t be due until close to the end of the month they’ve billed to. Recurring payments and payroll are not worth the effort.

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