Insurance can save you a whole lot of money on your dental expenses, covering all or part of your preventative care, basic treatments, and even more complicated procedures like bridges and crowns. But what about byte’s at-home aligners? Since online aligner services are still newcomers to the orthodontic game, dental insurance companies have various policies on them.
If you have a Cigna dental plan, your byte treatment might be partially covered. Or it might not. Every plan is slightly different, but byte will help you check on your coverage and navigate the claim process. By the end of this guide, you’ll know what to expect from your Cigna plan when it comes to byte treatment.
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How Much Does byte Cost?
If traditional orthodontics take a bite out of your bank account, home aligners take a nibble. But that nibble is still significant. byte’s standard, all-day aligner treatment, for example, is $1,895. And if you choose their At-Night aligners (which you only need to wear for 10 hours a day), it’s $2,295. Those prices include all of your clear aligners, one set of aftercare retainers, and the HyperByte device (which empowers byte’s fast treatment times).
Do those prices look a little steep? You can spread them out over 29 months by enrolling in a bytepay financing plan. Since bytepay is an in-house payment plan, you don’t need a credit check to qualify. Here’s how they look:
- All-day treatment: $349 down payment, then $83 a month
- At-Night treatment: $449 down payments, then $99 a month
Add it all up and you’ll notice that these payment plans end up being more expensive than the sticker prices. That’s primarily because they include a subscription to byte’s Smile Protection Plan, which provides new aftercare retainers every six months (for five years) and will replace lost or stolen retainers twice. On their own, byte’s retainers cost $129, so it will save you money in the long run.
How Do Orthodontic Benefits Work?
Just because you have dental insurance, however, doesn’t mean your orthodontia is automatically covered. That’s where orthodontic benefits come in. The problem is, not every plan includes them. If you plan on getting orthodontic treatment at some point, you’ll want to enroll in a plan with orthodontic benefits when you choose one.
But as we’ve already mentioned, every insurance plan is different and their orthodontic benefits can vary too. They’ll typically cover traditional, in-office treatments like braces and Invisalign and some will cover remote treatment like byte too. Even so, orthodontic benefits aren’t all-inclusive. Most times, they’ll only cover a certain percentage of treatment. And they also often have restrictions like age limits, lifetime spending limits, and waiting periods.
Let’s say your treatment costs $3,000 and your orthodontic benefits cover 50%. If they have an age limit, it’ll probably only cover costs for patients up to age 19. And if they have a lifetime spending limit of $2,000, you’ll still have $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. That’s why it’s important to understand the particulars of your dental plan before you begin your treatment.
Does Cigna Cover Orthodontics?
Out of Cigna’s three main dental insurance plans (Dental 1000, Dental 1500, and Dental Preventative, the only one that usually provides orthodontic coverage is Cigna Dental 1500. In many cases, the 1500 plan will cover 50% of the treatment cost, up to the lifetime maximum, which is $1,000. So, if you got Invisalign treatment for $4,000, Cigna would cover $1,000, and you would still need to pay $3,000 out of pocket. These plans can vary based on your location, your employer, and the size of your family. Some plans might also have an age restriction, only covering treatment for dependents up to age 19. There might also be a waiting period after you enroll and before you can use your orthodontic benefits.
Some Cigna plans will also offer discounted treatment if you go to an in-network dentist or orthodontist. If you’re considering an in-office treatment like braces or Invisalign, it could be significantly cheaper if you go to an in-network dentist.
Does Cigna Cover byte?
Most of the time, if your Cigna plan has orthodontic benefits, it likely covers traditional treatments like braces and Invisalign. But will they cover at-home aligner services like byte? The answer depends on your specific plan.
Cigna hasn’t come out and said whether they will cover at-home aligners like byte, but they sometimes cover teledentistry, which is a good sign. byte adheres to the ADA’s guidelines for teledentistry, so they might fall under that label on Cigna’s plans. There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s to check with Cigna. Fortunately, byte will do that for you. Just enter your information on byte’s insurance page and they’ll let you know if your plan will cover their treatment.
Will byte Help Me With Insurance?
They’ll do more than help you. They’ll take care of everything. At the outset, they’ll do a preliminary check to determine whether you might have coverage. Then, after you proceed with treatment, they’ll complete and submit your claim paperwork. And if your claim is denied, they’ll find out why and look for ways to correct it, whether that means contacting the provider directly or filing an appeal.
byte is the only at-home aligner company that goes this far to help you navigate your insurance processes. Some competitors, like Candid and SmileDirectClub, will do a preliminary check for you, but they won’t handle any paperwork or communications after that.
How Do I Use My Orthodontic Benefits?
Even if you have coverage through your Cigna dental plan, byte will usually be considered an out-of-network treatment provider, which means you’ll need to submit claim paperwork for reimbursement. If you’ve never dealt with insurance claims before, this might seem like an intimidating prospect. But as we’ve mentioned, byte will handle the paperwork for you. They’ll fill out your claim form quickly and accurately, so you just have to sign it.
Just pay for your aligners up front, or enroll in a payment plan, then contact your byte advisor to get the ball rolling on your claim. They’ll send in your form and communicate with Cigna on your behalf. If for some reason, your claim is denied, byte can even submit an appeal for you.
What If I’m Not Covered?
Even though Cigna has a standing partnership with byte, not every one of their plans covers at-home aligner treatment. But don’t worry, there are still ways to manage your expenses. You could switch providers and/or plans, but you can only do that during open enrollment periods or if you have a qualifying life event. And if you have insurance through your employer, they might not offer plans from other providers. If so, you could enroll in an individual plan to supplement your employer-provided one. But that means you’ll be paying more in premiums, so you’ll have to make sure the savings are worth it.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are also options. These accounts allow you to use your pre-tax income to pay for medical and dental expenses, and byte accepts HSA/FSA payments, which can save some money. You’ll just need to make sure that your HSA or FSA considers at-home clear aligners a qualifying expense.
And if $1,895 or $2,295 is looking like too much for a lump-sum payment, you can break it up into more manageable chunks by enrolling in bytepay, byte’s in-house financing plan. These plans require a $349 or $449 down payment, followed by 29 monthly payments of $83 or $99. The best part is that there’s no credit check involved, so everyone qualifies.
If you’re considering byte treatment, start poring over your Cigna insurance benefits because you might receive some coverage, making your aligners even more affordable. Cigna doesn’t have specific partnerships with any home aligner companies, but there’s a chance that you’ll still have orthodontic benefits. Insurance information might seem murky, but byte will handle every aspect of your claim process, so you can have a smooth ride to an affordable, transformed smile.