While braces are often seen as a cosmetic procedure, they can actually provide preventative dental health care. Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean than straight teeth, and are therefore more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Crooked teeth can also affect speech and the ability to chew. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not fully cover braces. If you are responsible for the entire cost, you could end up spending thousands of dollars. The cost may vary significantly depending on the orthodontist, type of braces and amount of dental work required. There are several options for those who cannot pay the entire bill at once. Most orthodontists offer a flexible payment schedule, or you can look into different insurance options, or take out a loan.
Call different orthodontists to inquire about pricing and payment schedules. While they probably can't pinpoint what your specific braces will cost without seeing you first, you can get an idea of their price range. Call orthodontists in different areas. If you live in a rural area, call one in the city. If you live in the city, call one in the suburbs and so forth. Orthodontists in different regions often charge different prices. If you live near a state line, call an orthodontist or two in the neighboring state. Schedule free consultations with at least three orthodontists.
Inquire about the different options with your insurance company. It may cover a portion of the cost, or you may be able upgrade your policy, usually during the next enrollment period. Also, look into other insurance policies your company offers or into other individual plans to see if it's worth switching. If the insurance company covers a specific percentage, find out the maximum coverage amount.
Look into a third party medical loan company, such as Care Credit and Springstone Patient Financing. Even though the loan accrues interest while you are making payments, consider that some orthodontists will give a discount if you pay for the braces up front, which you can do with the loan. In those cases, the added interest may not exceed your budget. Make sure the loan company will not penalize you for paying off the loan early.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are covered by more than one insurance company, the coverage amounts can be tricky. Inform each insurance company of the other and find out how much they each will cover considering the circumstance. Be sure to take note of the times of your inquiries, the names of those you spoke to and get the information in writing whenever possible.
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