Straight teeth and beautiful smiles aren't just for kids; parents want attractive smiles too. But orthodontia is pricey, and finding dental insurance that covers braces for adults can be challenging. Nonetheless, more plans are now offering orthodontic benefits for adults. So, if you don't have adult coverage, don't give up – there are options to help you afford the treatment you need.
Employer-Sponsored Dental Insurance
Dental insurance is often a part of an employee's health care package, allowing your employer to decide on the plan and level of coverage. But not all dental plans include orthodontic treatment, and if they do, it is often limited to children under the age of 18. Today, however, employers may opt for plans that cover orthodontic treatment for adults.
If you aren't sure whether your dental plan has adult coverage, check with your human resources department. If the answer is yes, ask if there are yearly or lifetime maximums, or waiting periods before treatment can begin. You also need to know if there are any types of non-covered braces, and if you're required to see a dentist or orthodontist within your insurer's network.
Individual Dental Insurance
Dental insurance was only available through your employer not too long ago, but more insurance companies are now offering individual dental plans. And if you enroll in a medical plan through the Affordable Care Act, you may enroll in a dental plan. Unfortunately, not all of these individual plans offer orthodontia coverage, and even fewer offer it for adults.
On the other hand, DeltaCare USA PAA48 is an example of an individual dental program that covers orthodontic treatment for adults. The annual premium is $105, and your expense for 24 months of orthodontic treatment is $2,500, which is about 50 percent less than the average treatment fee. You must choose a dentist or orthodontist who has contracted with Delta Dental to accept this reduction. There are no deductibles or maximums with this plan and no claim forms are necessary, but as with all benefits, you should carefully read the plan's orthodontic limitations. Those of DeltaCare PAA48 are located on page 29 of its Disclosure Form.
Discount plans – also called dental savings plans – are not considered dental insurance, but allow you to purchase dental services at lower prices. Because of the significant discounts given by network dentists, these programs are becoming more popular, and most of them offer price reductions on adult orthodontia and cosmetic procedures. Careington Care 500 Plan, for example, is a savings plan offering 20 percent off of the dentist's regular fee for adult orthodontia. To join, you pay a $30 non-refundable processing fee and a $75 yearly fee for one member.
Discount plans are a good choice if you already have dental insurance but no coverage for orthodontic treatment, or if you have reached your plan's yearly or lifetime maximum payout. By the same token, the use of products like Colgate® Cavity Protection ultimately prevents the fillings and other treatments that can cause you to reach these maximums too quickly.
Shopping for Your Orthodontic Coverage
When looking for the right plan for you and your pocketbook, carefully compare your options. Not all dental plans are created equal; plan limitations, waiting periods, yearly costs, discounts or copayments can vary greatly. And because most of these plans require the use of a network dentist, make sure there are dentists in your area that you can visit for treatment. When you find a plan that meets your needs, don't hesitate to ask your dentist or orthodontist if he or she would be willing to join the program.
Databases like DentalPlans – which represents over 40 discount plans – make it easy for you to compare yearly fees, discounts and network dentists. The National Association of Dental Plans is another great marketplace where you can search for any type of program: group, individual or discount.
Finding dental insurance that covers braces for adults may take some time. But with more discount programs and expanded dental networks popping up today, you can have straighter teeth and a gorgeous smile without breaking the bank.