If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your tax-free health funds won’t last forever, which means you’ll need to spend them every year or lose them. What can you spend them on? Quite a bit, actually. FSAs are established through your employer and you can use the money you deposit for a variety of dental or orthodontic treatments.
You can use your FSA to pay for your Byte aligner treatment too. Every FSA is slightly different. Not every account will cover at-home services, but many will. And Byte will handle all of the hard stuff—questions, eligibility, paperwork, and more. If you don’t know where to start (or even what an FSA is) this guide and Byte’s support team will give you everything you need to use your FSA funds effectively.
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What Is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
An FSA is a savings account that allows you to deposit pre-tax money for the sole purpose of paying future health care expenses. You can choose to deposit a certain percentage of your paycheck, and your employer might contribute as well, although it’s not required. You can link an FSA to a debit card and use it just like you would any other card. Or, you can file for reimbursement on eligible expenses. The current limit on FSA deposits is $2,650 per year, so you shouldn’t plan on having more than that available for treatments.
People who have routine health expenses—like prescription drugs and office visits for chronic conditions—often find FSAs helpful, since they have a set number of tax-free dollars to cover their month-to-month health expenses. But even if you have intermittent expenses, you can simply choose to deposit less money in your FSA and it can help cover whatever comes up.
It’s important to remember that FSA money does not roll over from year to year. It’s a “use it or lose it” system. So if you’re approaching the year’s end and still have funds left, you’ll want to find something to spend them on.
How to get an FSA
You can only set up an FSA if your employer offers it as an option. When the benefits coordinator goes over your options, they will likely let you know whether or not you have the option of getting an FSA. If you’re interested, your employer will provide the forms you need to get started.
Do FSA Funds Cover Dental/Orthodontics?
You can use FSA dollars for a wide variety of dental treatments and procedures. The specific qualifying treatments can vary based on your plan, but FSAs can typically cover preventative care, basic procedures, and other dental procedures.
You can also use it for prescription drugs if you need them . FSAs don’t ordinarily cover cosmetic procedures, though, so teeth whitening, veneers, etc. are probably out of the question. Sometimes orthodontic treatment is considered cosmetic and other times it’s not. It depends on your specific FSA.
What Types of Orthodontic Treatment Can an FSA Cover?
You can use FSA funds for just about any orthodontic treatment that isn’t considered cosmetic. How are cosmetic treatments determined? It’s different for various FSAs, so you’ll need to check with your specific plan and employer.
Generally, orthodontic treatments that you receive in-person, like braces and Invisalign are eligible for FSA payments. Our understanding is that most FSAs can also be used to cover at-home aligner treatment with services like Byte or SmileDirectClub. However, this does not always seem to be the case. Since at-home aligner treatment is not suitable for correcting more severe misalignments, some FSAs do seem to classify this form of treatment as cosmetic and may refuse coverage.,
Can I Use My FSA for Byte Clear Aligners?
Just like with dental insurance, it depends on your specific plan. Most FSAs will refuse to cover cosmetic dentistry. This normally just means procedures like teeth whitening, but can sometimes include at-home aligner treatment. It all depends on how the FSA classifies online aligner services like Byte.
That said, many FSAs will include at-home aligners under qualifying orthodontia. According to Byte’s website, impression kits, aligners, and retainers “are a covered expense for almost all flexible spending and health savings accounts.” So, you’ll most likely be able to use your FSA if you want.
Byte: The #1-Rated Clear Aligner Service
Out of all the clear aligners we’ve reviewed, Byte is the #1 option we feel most comfortable recommending not only to our readers, but also to our family and friends. They scored 4.7/5 overall based on our 5 review criteria (effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer support) — a higher rating than any other provider.
If you decide Byte is the right treatment option for you, be sure to take advantage of this special promotion. For a limited time, they're offering their impression kit for just $14.95. If you decide to purchase their full aligner treatment, you'll also receive $100 off plus a free BrightByte Pro LED Whitening Kit (normally goes for $249).
On top of this, Byte also accepts FSA funds, which can help make purchasing Byte even more accessible.
Will Byte Help Me Use My FSA?
Yes! In fact, Byte will walk you through every part of the insurance and payment process. Just let your Byte advisor know and they can put you in touch with their insurance team, who will help you navigate your provider’s payment or reimbursement procedures. They’ll even fill out all the necessary paperwork for you, so you can be sure that it will be timely and accurate.
Byte is the only at-home aligner company that handles the entire insurance process. Other companies might check to see if your plan covers their treatment, but leave you to file the claim on your own.
How To Use FSA Funds for Byte Treatment
There are two ways to use an FSA account. You can either link it to a card or not. If you’ve linked your account, you can use the card just like you would a regular debit card: enter the card’s information at checkout. These cards are often automatically approved if you’re using them for a qualifying treatment, although the FSA administrator might ask you to submit additional receipts or paperwork.
If you don’t have an FSA card, you’ll need to pay for treatment yourself, then file for reimbursement. In this case, you would need claim paperwork, which will vary based on your FSA and provider. Your employer should have this paperwork available, and they might help you submit it too. Or, you can just ask Byte. They’ll fill out the necessary forms and communicate with your FSA or insurance provider for you.
What If I Have Dental Insurance, Too?
There’s a chance that you might be eligible to use dental insurance coverage and FSA funds to pay for your treatment. If your dental insurance plan includes orthodontic benefits, they may partially cover your Byte treatment. In this case, Byte would fill out your claim paperwork and help you receive the appropriate discounts or reimbursement.
However, insurance will rarely cover the entire cost of orthodontic treatment. They also might have age limits (some cover children but not adults) or lifetime spending maximums. So, you’ll still have out of pocket costs. But if you also have an FSA, you can use that too. If you want to use both, you’ll pay for the entire cost with your FSA, then Byte will help you get a reimbursement from your insurance provider.
The benefit of using dental insurance is that the provider will cover some of your costs. Using an FSA is still using your own money since it came out of your paycheck. If you think you might have other medical expenses later in the year, you might hold off on using up your FSA funds. However, if the end of the year is approaching, make sure to use all your remaining FSA dollars or else you’ll lose them.
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||Anyone whose employer offers them as a benefit||Only people with a qualifying high deductible health plan (HDHP)|
|2020 contribution limit||$2,650 for an individual||$3,550 for an individual, $7,100 for a family|
|Contribution adjustments||Only during open or special enrollment periods||Anytime|
|Expiration||Dec. 31 every year||None, unused funds will roll over|
|Account ownership||Owned by the employer. You lose it if you change jobs.||Owned by the individual and follows you during employment changes.|
|Using funds||Might not have access to funds for non-medical expenses||Can withdraw funds for non-medical expenses, but must pay a 20% penalty|
Just like FSAs, you can usually use HSA funds to pay for orthodontic treatment, even at-home clear aligners. Again, it depends on your specific plan, so you’ll want to check the details before signing up for either one.
Using your pre-tax funds can help make the cost of home aligners a whole lot more manageable. So, if you have an FSA, paying for your Byte treatment might be easier than it initially seems. Compared to other at-home teeth-straightening services, Byte goes the extra mile to ensure that you can access your insurance coverage and FSA funds. So, if you’re still unsure where to start or how to proceed, get in touch with Byte’s support team, and they’ll take it from there.