Insurance for braces
April 27, 2012 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Our 10 yr old needs braces. Should we buy ortho insurance? What kind? Use medical reimbursement plan? Combination of insurance and medical reimbursement? Is AFLAC a good plan to go with?

Reading through the older threads, I saw suggestions for using medical savings accounts, but nothing about insurance. We have not been to or chosen an ortho, yet. The dentist says we need to start getting ready for it.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I need adult braces and what I've been doing is going to a bunch of different orthodontists for consults and they break down the financial aid options right then and there with me. I definitely recommend this because you will probably get input on which loan company each orthodontist takes, and they will define the plan that puts the payments into the smallest forms possible. Usually there are like 3 options: pay in full, pay monthly, use loan.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:01 AM on April 27, 2012

If you have an insurance option where your employer pays for most of it and you make some level of contribution, do that, because that means somebody else is paying at least part of your expense.

If not, buying dental insurance on your own just for this purpose is not likely to help much. For major work there's usually a long waiting period, so you'll be paying in for several years before you qualify; there's a high deductible, and there are limits on what's covered that are well below actual cost. That's because the insurance company is not interested in bets they will lose. If you do the math you'll find that self-funded insurance (as opposed to employer-funded) is going to cost just about the same as just paying cash.

If your employer offers a pretax medical savings plan (FSA) of some kind, do that, because you'll have tax savings versus just paying cash. You can use this for other medical expenses as well. Be careful to match your anticipated expenses with the plan years, because they're generally use it or lose it plans.
posted by beagle at 8:43 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

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