Invisalign is an investment in your smile, one that can last forever. As a result, it’s fairly expensive. Between all the office visits, dentist’s fees, and manufacturing costs, Invisalign can cost a few thousand dollars, which you might not be ready to pay. Fortunately, your dental insurance might be able to help.
Dental insurance plans sometimes cover Invisalign treatment, although it depends on your specific provider and plan. This guide will help you navigate your insurance details and know what to expect.
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Average Cost of Invisalign (Before Insurance)
If you’ve already gotten an estimate on Invisalign treatment, you know how expensive it can be. If not, you can expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000. The exact price depends on your condition, your dentist or orthodontist’s fees, your location, and more.
It can even fall outside that range if you have a particularly easy or complicated condition. For example, a minor case of spacing might take less time to correct and, therefore, less money. While a severe case of overbite and crowding might come with a higher financial and time commitment.
Concerned About the Cost of Invisalign?
Even if your insurance plan covers some of your Invisalign treatment, you might be intimidated by the price. Fortunately, Invisalign isn’t the only clear aligner brand out there, and it’s definitely not the most affordable. If you’re interested in straightening your teeth without breaking the bank, visit our review of the best Invisalign alternatives below.
How Do Orthodontic Benefits Work?
It’s natural to think that every dental insurance plan includes orthodontia, but this isn’t always true. Some dental insurance plans have orthodontic benefits and some don’t. And even the plans that include orthodontia can come with restrictions.
You can enroll in a dental insurance plan either through your employer or on your own. Once you have insurance, you can use it for whichever treatments it includes (unless there’s a waiting period, but more on that later). Often, orthodontic benefits will cover a certain percentage of your orthodontic treatment or pay up to a certain amount.
Which Companies Cover Orthodontic Treatment?
Most dental insurance companies have a plan or plans that include some type of orthodontic benefits. These benefits will often cover braces, Invisalign, and (sometimes) at-home aligners. But if you want more information on specific insurance providers, take a look at our specific provider guides:
- Does Delta Dental Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does Aetna Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does MetLife Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does Cigna Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does Guardian Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
- Does United Concordia Cover Braces & Clear Aligners?
Do Orthodontic Benefits Cover Invisalign?
Many times, orthodontic benefits do cover Invisalign, but it depends on the plan. Typically, the most basic plans won’t include any orthodontic coverage, while the more comprehensive, more expensive plans will. Every insurance company outlined above has a plan (or multiple plans) that might cover braces or clear aligners.
This coverage also can extend to other in-office aligner treatments like ClearCorrect and Six Month Smiles. But to be sure, you should double-check with your dentist/orthodontist and insurance provider.
Many plans with orthodontic benefits will only cover part of your treatment. Sometimes they will cover up to 50% of your treatment, and other times there will be a lifetime coverage limit of $1,000 – $3,000 (on average), sometimes both. Rarely, if ever, will a plan offer 100% coverage with no limit.
Additionally, there are some restrictions that you should keep in mind as you shop for dental insurance and enroll in a plan.
In-Network vs. Out-of-Network
Each dental plan has a network of dentists that are approved to file coverage claims. If you choose an in-network dentist or orthodontist, you will receive coverage for the treatments outlined in the plan. If you don’t like any of the in-network dentists, you can always go to an out-of-network one. You just won’t get the same level of coverage.
Most insurance providers have fairly sizeable networks, especially if you have a PPO plan, so you should be able to find a good fit. However, if you’re adamant about an out-of-network dentist, you may have to find other ways to manage the costs.
This is one of the most common restrictions on orthodontic benefits. In most cases, plans with age limits will cover orthodontic treatment for people up to age 19, but not for adults. You should always check for an age limit as you examine your insurance plan.
Many plans will also have a maximum amount that they’ll cover for orthodontic treatment over your lifetime. These limits are often somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000, but could be more or less, depending on your plan. For example, if your plan covers orthodontia with a $2,000 lifetime maximum and your Invisalign treatment costs $4,500, you’ll likely need to pay the $2,500 difference.
Additionally, some plans may have a waiting period before you can use their benefits. These waiting periods can be anywhere between a few months and a full year. So, if you enroll in a plan solely so that you can get Invisalign, be conscious of any potential waiting periods, or you might have to hold off on your treatment for a few months.
How to Get Orthodontic Benefits
Orthodontic benefits typically come as part of your dental insurance package. You will rarely have the option to add orthodontic benefits to a plan that doesn’t normally include them. That said, some companies might offer supplemental orthodontic benefits as an option. Some Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiaries, for example, allow you to add Class IV (orthodontic) coverage to their plans. But this isn’t usually the case.
Otherwise, if you want to add orthodontic benefits, you’ll need to switch to a plan that includes them. The problem is that you can only change plans during an open enrollment period or if you experience a qualifying life event, which includes:
- Changes in household (marriage, divorce, birth, death)
- Changes in residence
- Loss of health coverage
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
If you have to wait for the next enrollment period and your plan also has a waiting period, you might not be able to get your treatment covered for months.
If you have insurance through your employer, check with the Human Resources office to see if there’s an option with orthodontic benefits, or if the company would be open to sponsoring a different option.
Other Ways to Manage Orthodontic Costs
If your plan doesn’t include orthodontic benefits and you don’t have any other options, you might be out of luck. But don’t worry, there are still ways to save money on your treatment.
Dental Discount Plans: Certain providers may also offer dental discount plans (or dental savings plans). These are not insurance plans. Rather, they’re like a subscription where you pay a monthly or annual fee and receive discounts on certain procedures or designated dentists. Sometimes these plans include orthodontic treatments.
Shop around: Different dentists have different rates. And there’s nothing wrong with getting multiple estimates on Invisalign to compare prices. Just make sure that the dentist you choose is in your provider’s network or you might not receive coverage.
Use an HSA or FSA account: These accounts are nice because they allow you to make tax-free contributions that you can use later on health expenses. They’re an option in many employer-sponsored insurance plans. If you have an HSA or FSA, you can use it to pay for your Invisalign treatment.
Consider online clear aligners: If you like the appearance of clear aligners but don’t want to pay Invisalign’s high prices, you might consider getting clear aligners from a provider like SmileDirectClub. They’re a faster and cheaper alternative that can treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding, spacing, and even some bite issues.
Even though Invisalign is expensive, be encouraged by the fact that you might receive some assistance from your dental insurance, depending on your specific plan. Be sure to consult your dentist or orthodontist and talk to your employer or insurance provider about your plan’s details before jumping into treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which insurance companies cover Invisalign?
Almost every dental insurance company offers some type of orthodontic benefits with certain plans, and most include Invisalign. If you or your employer uses Delta Dental, Blue Cross Blue Shield, MetLife, Aetna, Cigna, Guardian, UnitedHealthCare, United Concordia, or Humana, there will likely be a plan option that offers orthodontic benefits. Just make sure you’re aware of any age limits, lifetime maximums, and other restrictions.
Which insurance companies cover at-home clear aligners?
Certain insurance companies have partnerships with at-home aligner companies that bring them in network. For example, Anthem and Guardian (and others, coming soon) have partnerships with byte; UnitedHealthCare, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have partnerships with SmileDirectClub; and Anthem also partners with Candid.
What do orthodontic benefits cover?
Orthodontic benefits often partially cover the costs of in-office treatments like braces and Invsialign. Some will also cover at-home aligners. Plans might only provide this coverage for children up to age 19, or they might impose a lifetime coverage maximum.
How much does Invisalign cost?
Before insurance, Invisalign treatment typically costs anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000. The exact cost depends on your condition, your dentist’s rates, your location, and more. Check out our True Cost of Invisalign guide for more info.
How much of my treatment cost will dental insurance cover?
It depends on your plan. Some plans will cover 50% of the total cost. Others will cover a particular amount (like $1,500 or $2,500). Your plan’s summary of benefits will tell you how much you can expect to receive.
What is the best alternative to Invisalign?
If you’re looking for an in-office option, ClearCorrect is a very similar clear aligner treatment that can even have lower costs than Invisalign. For at-home options, we like byte for their average 3-month treatment time and their excellent customer support. Learn more about each company in our comprehensive ClearCorrect and byte reviews.
How do I get dental insurance?
Many people are able to enroll in a dental insurance plan through their employer. If your employer doesn’t offer dental insurance, some companies also offer individual and family plans.
Can I add orthodontic benefits later?
Not usually. Certain companies might offer orthodontic benefits as an add-on, but these options are few and far between.