The Pros and Cons of Using Insurance for Invisalign

As you consider Invisalign treatment to straighten your teeth, you will need to decide how to pay for this often expensive orthodontic work. Using your dental insurance is one option, but it comes with both advantages and potential drawbacks. In this article, we walk you through the key pros and cons of using insurance to cover Invisalign costs.

We aim to provide an objective look at the benefits insurance can offer, along with factors to keep in mind regarding coverage limits, waiting periods, and other restrictions. Our goal is to equip you with information to make an informed decision on whether insurance is the right payment method for your Invisalign treatment. Carefully weighing the trade-offs can lead to the best financial choice for achieving your ideal smile.

How Invisalign Works and Its Benefits Over Traditional Braces

Invisalign aligners are custom-made, clear plastic trays that gradually shift your teeth into the correct position over a series of trays. New trays are given every 2-3 weeks to continue the gradual teeth movement process.

Invisalign Trays Are Nearly Invisible

Unlike metal braces, Invisalign trays are made of smooth, comfortable, and virtually invisible plastic that allow you to smile confidently during treatment. The clear aligners are removable, so you can take them out to eat and brush your teeth.

Invisalign Provides More Comfort

Invisalign trays are very comfortable since there are no sharp brackets or wires. The trays are smooth and contour to your teeth. They do not irritate your mouth like traditional braces can. Invisalign trays are also removable, so you can take them out if needed for special events or photos.

Invisalign May Reduce Treatment Time

Invisalign can effectively straighten teeth for many people in 9-15 months. The total time depends on the severity of your teeth misalignment. Invisalign may provide faster results than traditional braces in less complex cases. Follow-up visits are also less frequent, typically every 4-6 weeks.

Invisalign Preserves Tooth Enamel

Invisalign aligners do not require any tooth enamel removal or bonding for the trays to grip onto your teeth. This helps preserve the natural tooth structure. Traditional braces, on the other hand, require brackets to be bonded to your tooth enamel, which may lead to enamel damage or tooth decay if not properly cared for during treatment.

In summary, Invisalign provides an innovative teeth straightening treatment with substantial benefits over traditional braces for the right candidate. However, Invisalign may not be ideal for complex cases or if cost is a concern. Consulting with an orthodontist can help determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign.

Factors That Determine if Insurance Will Cover Invisalign

Insurance Plan Type

The type of insurance plan you have will affect coverage for Invisalign. Dental insurance plans typically provide the broadest coverage for orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. Medical insurance plans may provide limited coverage, especially if the treatment is medically necessary to correct a condition like an underbite. Vision insurance and health savings accounts typically do not cover Invisalign.

Orthodontic Benefits Remaining

Most insurance plans that cover orthodontic treatment have a lifetime maximum benefit amount for orthodontics. The remaining amount of this benefit will determine how much of your Invisalign treatment costs will be covered. If you have used orthodontic benefits in the past for braces or retainers, less may remain available for Invisalign.

Necessity of Treatment

Insurance companies are more likely to cover Invisalign if it is medically necessary to correct a problem like an improper bite, teeth crowding, or jaw alignment issues that could lead to tooth or jaw damage if left untreated. Cosmetic reasons for wanting straighter teeth typically do not qualify for insurance coverage. Your dentist or orthodontist will need to provide records documenting the medical need for treatment.

Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Even with insurance, you will usually have additional out-of-pocket costs for Invisalign. Deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and benefit limits will typically mean you pay 20-50% or more of the total treatment cost. The national average cost for Invisalign is $5,000. Discuss estimated insurance coverage and your out-of-pocket responsibility with your provider before starting treatment to ensure the costs fit your budget.

In summary, several factors determine if your insurance will help cover the cost of Invisalign treatment. The specifics of your insurance plan, orthodontic benefits remaining, the medical necessity of your treatment, and your budget for any out-of-pocket costs are all important considerations when determining if insurance coverage for Invisalign makes financial sense for your situation. Discussing this information in detail with insurance providers and orthodontists is the best way to make this decision.

Strategies to Get the Most Insurance Coverage for Invisalign

Speak with Your Insurance Provider Contact your insurance provider to understand your specific orthodontic coverage and policy details. Inquire whether Invisalign treatment qualifies for coverage under your current plan and what percentage of the costs may be covered. Ask if there are any stipulations, exclusions or requirements that must be met to receive the maximum benefit. Obtain preauthorization from your insurance provider before beginning treatment to ensure coverage.

Compare Treatment Options

Discuss Invisalign treatment options with your orthodontist to determine the best course of action based on your specific needs. Compare the total treatment cost for different options to maximize your insurance coverage. For example, a shorter initial treatment phase may yield a higher percentage of coverage. You can then reassess your needs for any follow-up treatment.

Use Flexible Spending Accounts

If your insurance plan does not cover Invisalign or only covers a small portion of the costs, consider using a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses like Invisalign. The funds must be used within the plan year, so be sure to calculate costs carefully. Any unused funds will be forfeited.

Ask About Discounts and Payment Plans

Inquire whether your orthodontist offers any discounts for upfront payment or multiple family members receiving treatment. Many orthodontic practices also offer no-interest or low-interest payment plans that allow you to pay over time with fixed monthly payments. Taking advantage of available discounts and payment plans can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for Invisalign.

With proactive planning and coordination of benefits, you can achieve maximum insurance coverage for Invisalign treatment to minimize costs. Discuss all options with your insurance provider and orthodontist to develop an optimal strategy based on your unique needs and situation.



Ultimately, deciding whether or not to use insurance to cover Invisalign treatment involves weighing the pros and cons for your specific situation. While insurance can provide valuable financial assistance, you’ll want to determine if the reimbursement truly makes the process affordable based on your policy details. And be sure to closely review what’s covered under your dental plan, as orthodontics may be excluded or have limits.

With careful planning and understanding of the costs, insurance can be a helpful tool in affording Invisalign. But even if insurance isn’t an option, discuss payment plans or financing with your orthodontist, as there may be other ways to make this investment in your smile more budget-friendly. The key is doing your homework upfront so you can make the best decision for your needs when it comes to Invisalign treatment.

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