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.
When you kick off SmileDirectClub treatment, finances are probably one of the biggest concerns. It’s more affordable than traditional orthodontia but still not that cheap. But an HSA account can help ease some of that financial burden. HSA policies vary, but most allow you to use their funds for online aligner services like SmileDirectClub. How? You’re about to find out. Read on for a thorough rundown of how to pay for SmileDirectClub with an HSA.
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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 SmileDirectClub Clear Aligners?
Most HSAs will allow you to use funds for SmileDirectClub aligners. But you should still review your account’s list of qualifying expenses—or reach out to your employer/HSA administrator—to confirm. Some HSAs will classify home aligners as a cosmetic treatment, which aren’t normally included in HSA-eligible expenses. Most of the time, this isn’t the case, but you should double-check to be sure.
Chances are, you’ll be able to use your HSA for SmileDirectClub treatment. Their website says if you have “a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA), you may be able to use it to pay for your clear aligners” because “Many HSAs and FSAs cover invisible aligners.”
Will SmileDirectClub Help Me Use My HSA?
Yes, they will! If you have a card linked to your HSA, you can simply use it during the checkout process. And if you don’t, SmileDirectClub suggests that you call their SmileExperts at 800-688-0450. They will help you process your order and access your HSA funds.
Sometimes, your HSA might need documentation to release your funds or provide reimbursement, and SmileDirectClub can provide receipts if necessary.
They don’t offer quite as much help with dental insurance processes. They will check to see if you have coverage and provide documents that you might need, but you’re on your own after that. 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 SmileDirectClub Treatment
Health savings accounts provide multiple ways to access your funds. The easiest is by getting a card linked to your account. You can use this card just like you would use a regular debit or credit card and it automatically withdraws funds (as long as you use it for qualifying expenses). You can also get HSA-linked checks that operate the same way. Some HSAs will even let you pay bills directly from your online account.
Just make sure that you only use your HSA for qualifying expenses. You can use it to pay for other things, but you’ll incur a 20% penalty and you’ll need to pay income tax on that amount.
You can also reimburse yourself from your HSA. Just use a different form of payment, then write yourself an HSA check or transfer money from your online HSA account into a personal account. You’re only able to do this for expenses that occurred after you established your HSA. So, you can’t reimburse yourself for treatment you had years ago, or you’ll incur the same 20% penalty.
What If I Have Dental Insurance, Too?
HSAs are not a type of dental insurance plan. They use your own money, taken directly from a paycheck, while insurance coverage comes out of the provider’s pocket, not yours.
Because they’re separate entities, it’s possible to use insurance coverage and an HSA to cover the cost of your SmileDirectClub treatment. Insurance plans that include orthodontic benefits sometimes include at-home aligner treatment like SmileDirectClub. In fact, SmileDirectClub has partnerships with UnitedHealthCare, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield that makes them eligible for in-network coverage.
But even if you receive insurance coverage, it probably won’t cover the entire cost, and that’s where the HSA comes in. You can use your HSA funds to cover the remaining cost. In the end, you might not even have to pay anything out of your personal, non-HSA funds.
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 SmileDirectClub treatment. However, it depends on the details of your specific account and its qualifying expenses.
Got money sitting in your HSA fund? It can go a long way toward making your SmileDirectClub treatment costs much more manageable. Check with your employer or HSA administrator to discuss the details of your account. SmileDirectClub is already convenient, but this flexibility can make the process even smoother.