The Cost of Braces
One of the first thoughts most people have when it comes to braces for their child is that it’s going to cost a lot of money. But that’s not really the case when you consider the long-term benefits and problems that they can help avoid.
Orthodontic procedures, like most other medical procedures, may cost several thousands of dollars, because of all the work involved. If your child needs braces, it can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000. The good news is that there are options for those who do not have the funds readily available to pay for braces and orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few payment options for braces to consider:
- Flex Spending Accounts. These accounts are set up through your place of employment and allow you to take pre-tax dollars to set aside and use for medical expenses. Because you never know when you may need this additional financial assistance, it’s a good idea to get the FSA account started now. That way, when you need it, the funds will be there.
- Loans. Taking out a loan to pay for orthodontic treatment may also be a solid option. Whether it is a loan with family and friends or a personal loan obtained through a financial institution, you may be able to qualify for low-interest loans that allow you to get the work done that your child needs, and you can spread the payments out over a comfortable period of time.
- Payment plans. Speak with your Kansas City, MO, orthodontist, as most do offer some type of payment plan that will allow you to make monthly payments for braces and orthodontic treatment. This is usually a service provided interest-free, and they will be flexible in working with you to ensure that you have a comfortable payment amount each month.
Paying for your child’s braces and orthodontic treatment may be a concern, but you shouldn’t let it discourage you. The payment options are there to help you so that you can help your child. When you or your child gets braces or other orthodontic treatment they may need, it comes with a host of benefits that you may not even realize.
By choosing to get your braces with the award-winning Kansas City orthodontists at Burleson Orthodontics, you may find that the rate is slightly higher. That’s because our doctors are specialists in the area of straightening teeth and will minimize the amount of time spent in treatment, as well as helping to avoid the need for additional treatments later in life. As orthodontic specialists, all we do is straighten teeth, so we get the job done right, the first time, saving you a lot of time and money in the long run!
You’ve made a wise decision to meet with Burleson Orthodontics for your child’s braces. We can answer all of your questions, including those about our typical cost of braces and the variety of payment options we provide.
How do I pay for my child’s braces?
Like any major dental or even medical procedure, orthodontic procedures can cost several thousand dollars, not all of which is covered by your insurance (depending on the plan – see below).
How much you may have to pay out-of-pocket depends on the type of procedure and, of course, the specifics of your insurance policy. One way many of my patients pay for their procedures is by utilizing the benefits of what is known as “Flex Spending,” where an account through their work can be used to pay for braces with pre-tax dollars.
How can you make the most of your employer’s Flex Plan so that the amount out of your pocket is reduced to a more manageable figure? Here are three solutions you can take action on starting today:
How To Eliminate Flex Spending Headaches
The First Way: Sign Up Early
Preparation is key to success in any endeavor. To make the most of your Flex Plan, set aside your flex spending dollars now. Many employers set higher limits than you think on the amount of Flex Spending Dollars you can contribute each year, tax-free, from your salary to pay for health care expenses like orthodontic treatment.
Case in point: Many employers allow $2,500 or even $5,000 of pre-tax earnings to be set aside for your flex plan. Are you getting all of the money you can to pay for your child’s orthodontic care?
Maybe, maybe not. Failing to sign up early could cost you more in out-of-pocket orthodontic expenses, especially if your plan is not set up and ready before your child’s orthodontic treatment begins. If you have a new plan, work with your plan administrator to sign up early for next year in order to maximize your savings!
The Second Way: Make Your Employer Aware of Family Status Change
Different employers have different sign-up deadlines for the Flex plans, but typically at the beginning of the year, your employer asks you how much money you want to contribute to your Flex Plan for the year.
The problem with making annual decisions about your healthcare coverage is that you only have one opportunity to enroll unless you have a qualified “family status change.”
So what, exactly, IS a “family status” change? Family Status changes like marriage, birth, divorce, or loss of a spouse’s insurance coverage are qualified reasons to change your plan, and possibly add more coverage for orthodontic treatment.
The Third Way: Choose Wisely!
Finally, give some thought to calculating how much money to contribute to your flex plan at work this year. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, visit your doctor’s office for an initial consultation.
Your treatment coordinator(s) can help you plan exactly how much money you should contribute to help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses when it’s time to actually pay for, and receive, the procedure.
Here’s something you may not know about your friendly flex plan: If you put in more money than you need, by law, you lose the money! You have three months after the end of the calendar year to submit claims for eligible expenses from the previous calendar year. Any money left in your account after this three month period is lost.
Does my insurance cover braces?
These days, there are as many different types of insurance plans as there are patients in our office. But our experiences tell us that “most” insurance policies cover “some” of your child’s orthodontic expenses.
I realize that answer sounds very vague, but here are a couple of variables you need to answer before an insurance agent can help you determine what, how long, and how many procedures fall under your insurance:
- The type of procedure (braces, etc.)
- The duration of the procedure (two months, six months, a year, etc.)
- The cause of the procedure (a patient presenting with pain, a parent’s concern, traumatic injury or accident, a congenital birth defect like cleft lip or palate, etc.)
- The nature of the procedure (to correct pain/discomfort, cosmetic, etc.)
Talking to your insurance agent will help you get the right answers you need.
TIP: Keep an insurance journal of every interaction with your carrier. Write down the date, time of the call, name of the person you contacted, and the exact instructions or recommendations following the call. Later, if your insurance company doesn’t remember what they told you, you’ll have it accurately written down. If they still don’t remember, ask them to pull the recorded audio tape from your previous call, so that you can accurately “remind” them of exactly what they told you.
At Burleson Orthodontics, we offer a variety of treatment options for straight teeth in our Kansas City, Liberty, Raymore, and Excelsior Springs, MO, orthodontic offices. During your child’s initial Burleson Orthodontics Exam, together we will determine which treatment option is best for them. Click on the icon below to learn more about the types of braces.