While researching teeth-straightening treatment costs, you might be sitting there wondering how to manage the high prices. Then you remember: you’ve been withholding income every month in a health savings account (HSA). These pre-tax funds can be a reserve of payments for your dental and orthodontic expenses, easing the potential stress of a high price tag.
AlignerCo is already the most affordable home aligner option, but if you have an HSA, paying for it can be even easier. Every HSA is different but many will allow you to use your funds to pay for at-home aligners and other orthodontic treatments. Maybe you’ve never used your HSA before or maybe you’re an expert HSA spender. Either way, this guide will walk you through the process of using one to pay for AlignerCo.
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What Is a Health Savings Account (HSA)?
A health savings account is an account that holds pre-tax funds you can use to pay for eligible medical and dental expenses. You can put money in an HSA via a payroll deduction (taken out of your monthly paychecks) or by simply depositing funds like you would a regular savings account.
To qualify for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). This means a plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. It doesn’t matter if your HDHP is through your employer or you’ve enrolled on your own, HSAs are still available.
You can use your HSA funds to pay for a wide scope of medical and dental treatments. You can even withdraw money for non-medical reasons, although it will incur a 20% penalty. The HSA contribution limit is $3,550 for an individual and $7,100 for a family, and these funds will roll over from year to year, so you can hold onto them as long as you’d like.
Once your HSA reaches a certain amount, you can also choose to invest those funds in mutual funds or other options, depending on your account’s policies.
How to get an HSA
The most common way to start an HSA is through your employer. Many companies that offer an HDHP also offer an HSA, and you can enroll in both during an open or special enrollment period. Your employer will walk you through the enrollment process and provide any necessary forms.
But you can get an HSA if you’re self-employed too. Banks, brokers, credit unions, and insurance companies offer accounts to individuals. But you still need to have a high-deductible health plan to qualify. If you’re self-employed or your employer doesn’t offer HSAs, contact other financial institutions to see if they have HSA options.
Do HSA Funds Cover Dental/Orthodontics?
You can use your HSA to pay for a wide range of treatments and procedures, including preventative care, basic dental care, and orthodontics. So your semi-annual cleanings, fillings, root canals, braces, and clear aligners are typically fair game.
Still, you can’t use them for everything. Certain elective cosmetic procedures (like teeth whitening) and health insurance premiums aren’t normally included in HSA qualifying expenses.
What Types of Orthodontic Treatment Can an HSA Cover?
Lucky for you, HSAs typically cover most orthodontic treatments, including braces, Invisalign, and even at-home aligners. That said, every HSA plan is different, so some might have a more comprehensive list of qualifying expenses than others. You should check your HSA’s policy before beginning treatment to make sure that you can use it.
Many HSAs won’t let you use your fund for elective cosmetic procedures like whitening, bonding, and veneers. They each classify treatments differently, but most don’t consider adult orthodontic procedures to be cosmetic.
Can I Use My HSA for AlignerCo Clear Aligners?
Most HSAs will let you use your funds for at-home aligner treatment, including AlignerCo. But before using your account to pay, you should check to see how it classifies online aligner services. Certain HSAs consider home aligners an elective cosmetic treatment, which are usually non-qualified expenses. Most accounts, however, classify at-home aligners as orthodontic treatments, which are almost always covered.
On their website, AlignerCo is fairly confident that you can use your HSA (or FSA) account to pay for treatment. They say “Invisible Aligners for teeth straightening do fall under orthodontic service which is covered by most HSA & FSA accounts.” Even so, you should look over a list of your account’s qualifying expenses instead of assuming AlignerCo is included.
Will AlignerCo Help Me Use My HSA?
Not entirely. They’ll provide itemized receipts if you need them to confirm your purchase with your HSA. Their customer support team may be able to answer questions as well. But if there’s any paperwork or direct communication with an administrator involved, AlignerCo leaves that up to you. Fortunately, HSA reimbursements are pretty easy (see below), but it’s still nice to have a company that will walk with you every step of the way.
If you’re looking for a home aligner company that will take care of all your insurance and HSA procedures for you, check out Byte. Their insurance team knows the process inside and out and will handle any necessary paperwork and communication.
How To Use HSA Funds for AlignerCo Treatment
Like we mentioned, paying for home aligners with you HSA is a fairly simple process, and there are a few different ways to go about it. The easiest way to do it is by linking your account to a card. When paying for your AlignerCo treatment, just enter your card’s information on the checkout page like you would any other debit or credit card. Just make sure that online aligner service is a qualifying expense for your HSA first. If you use an HSA card for an unqualified expense, you will incur a 20% penalty and you’ll need to pay income taxes on that amount.
Your HSA might also allow you to make payments on your treatment directly from your online account. Or, you can get checks linked to your account, which work just like an HSA card.
Or, go ahead and pay for your treatment on your own, then get a reimbursement from your HSA. You can either write an HSA-linked check to yourself or transfer money from your HSA to a personal account. However, this only works if you purchased your AlignerCo treatment after establishing your HSA.
What If I Have Dental Insurance, Too?
If you have an HSA and a dental insurance plan that covers AlignerCo treatment, you might be able to pay for your clear aligners without spending a dime from your non-HSA funds. Not every dental insurance provider includes AlignerCo and other online aligner services in their orthodontic benefits, but some do. Even plans that cover home aligners, however, often come with age limits, lifetime spending limits, or other coverage limits.
This means that insurance plans will typically only cover part of your aligner costs, so you’ll still have some out-of-pocket expenses. No worries, because you can cover these remaining costs with your HSA if you’d like. If you have both, use both! Unless, that is, you’re planning on using your HSA funds for future medical or dental expenses.
Flexible Spending Accounts vs. Health Savings Accounts
They’re similar in name, but not always similar in function. Here are some of the differences you should know.
|Who qualifies||Only people with a qualifying high deductible health plan (HDHP)||Anyone whose employer offers them as a benefit|
|2020 contribution limit||$3,550 for an individual, $7,100 for a family||$2,650 for an individual|
|Contribution adjustments||Anytime||Only during open or special enrollment periods|
|Expiration||None, unused funds will roll over||Dec. 31 every year|
|Account ownership||Owned by the individual and follows you during employment changes.||Owned by the employer. You lose it if you change jobs.|
|Using funds||Can withdraw funds for non-medical expenses, but must pay a 20% penalty||Might not have access to funds for non-medical expenses|
Just like HSAs, you can usually use FSA funds to pay for AlignerCo treatment. However, it depends on the details of your specific account and its qualifying expenses.
AlignerCo is the most affordable at-home aligner company out there. Their prices are already extremely manageable, but an HSA can make their treatment even more accessible. If you’re considering AlignerCo, talk to your employer or HSA administrator about how to use your savings. Soon, you’ll be on your way to a brand new smile without breaking the bank.