The U.S. Department of Defense has given Delta Dental of California a new 5-year TRICARE Retiree Dental Program administration contract.

Delta Dental, a subsidiary of Dentegra Group Inc., San Francisco, now administers the program, which provides dental benefits on a voluntary, enrollee-paid basis for military retirees and the retirees’ dependents.

About 1 million of the 5 million retirees and retiree family members who are eligible for the retiree dental coverage have signed up for it, according to Delta Dental.

Plan members can choose between seeing dentists in a preferred provider network or paying more to see out-of-network dentists.

The new contract takes effect Oct. 1, 2008.

The new plan, which is the largest enrollee-paid plan in the United States, will cover some implant services at 50% of allowable charges, will provide 80% coverage for some posterior composite restorations, and will increase the orthodontic lifetime maximum to $1,500, from $1,200, Delta Dental says.

The deductible is $50 per person year year, and the annual maximum is $1,200.

Delta Dental does not count preventive and diagnostic services toward the annual maximum.