As we near the end of 2017, I have decided to share a few tips on how to make orthodontic treatment (braces, Invisalign, etc) affordable for you and your family in 2018. Many companies exist that attempt to offer low-cost, shortened treatment options, but most of these cannot replace comprehensive treatment with an orthodontist who has trained for many years to offer the best quality care.
Orthodontics are more affordable than you think!
Most people have dental benefits through their employer, but many employers do offer multiple dental insurance plans. As we enter open enrollment season, check the plans that your employer offers. If there is an option for orthodontic coverage, it may be worth signing up for that plan.
Unlike most dental procedures, most orthodontic coverage has a set “lifetime maximum.” This lifetime maximum will be in place as long as you carry that insurance. Make sure the plan includes coverage for adult orthodontic coverage if the treatment will be for an adult. Invisalign treatment is covered under these orthodontic benefits!
If your employer does not offer plans with orthodontic coverage, have a conversation with your HR department. You may not be alone, and your employer may be able to renegotiate the plan.
As the year draws to an end, think about the possibility of contributing to a health care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for 2018. This is also a great benefit that many employers offer to their employees. With an FSA, you can contribute pre-tax dollars to orthodontic treatment. In 2017, you could contribute up to $2,600 to this account. This can save you between 10-40% depending on your tax bracket!
Most orthodontists accept these FSA accounts as forms of payment. This is a win win for orthodontic treatment. The only caution regarding this type of account is to be mindful of timing; if you do not use the amount you set aside for the year, you will most likely forfeit the remaining amount.
If you are anticipating orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child in the near future, start trying to put away small amounts of income every month to build up for your investment. Many offices (including ours) offers an additional discount for paying upfront for treatment. While this is not the best option for everyone, these savings can be significant for some families.
Though this may seem counter intuitive given the 3rd tip above, paying for treatment over time can help orthodontic treatment become affordable for all families. Since orthodontic treatment is completed over a year or more in most cases, most orthodontists offer 0% interest financing for treatment. This can make monthly payments for braces or Invisalign similar to a monthly cell phone bill.
With flexible financing options, individual family situations can be addressed and payments can be made over months or years. Most offices will work with you to find the best solution for your family.
Depending on your state, there may be various programs that help provide affordable orthodontic treatment. For example, in our state of South Carolina, Children’s Rehabilitative Services offers financial assistance to families to help pay for orthodontic services. These programs can offer assistance for some families who qualify for the benefit.
Since every state is different, it is best to contact your local orthodontist to see what types of programs might be available.
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