Good oral health is key to overall health. When your teeth and gums aren’t healthy, it can have repercussions for your whole body. But insurance companies aren’t always up to speed when it comes to covering necessary dental expenses. Fortunately, most dental expenses are covered under the Flexible Spending Accounts many employers are now offering, giving you an extra funding stream for dental care you may have been putting off. And end-of-year is always a great time to schedule that care–before FSA benefits run out.
What Is an FSA?
A healthcare FSA or Flexible Spending Account is a pre-tax account that covers certain medical, dental and vision care expenses that aren’t covered by your healthcare plan. You can use pre-tax dollars to cover important medical and dental needs. An FSA is not medical insurance but rather a special account to help cover things not covered under your plan. FSAs are often included with high deductible insurance plans as a way to help patients make up for any coverage shortfalls.
How Do FSAs Work?
With high-deductible plans playing a greater role in 21st Century healthcare, more and more employers are offering FSAs to reimburse employees for unexpected out of pocket expenses. Your employer can put up to $2,650 per year in an FSA for those extra medical and dental needs. But there are strings attached. For example, you have to use FSA money before the end of the year or lose it. This is why the end of the year is such an important time to think about your FSA plan and any medical or dental needs you have.
What’s Covered Under an FSA Account?
Patients are often surprised at the wide range of services covered by an FSA, usually much greater than services covered under a traditional healthcare plan. FSA funds can be used for everything from acupuncture to breast pumps, along with insurance co-payments, prescriptions, some over the counter drugs and medical equipment. Most dental services are also covered, and this can be a godsend for folks with no insurance or high-deductible or preventive care only dental plans. Some of the dental treatments covered under FSA plans include:
- Endodontic services (treatments related to the pulp of the tooth)
- Oral surgery
- Periodontal services related to gum health
- Sealants and fluoride treatments
- Orthodontic services, including braces
Is Teeth Whitening Covered by My FSA?
Cosmetic procedures are not covered by an FSA account. This includes teeth whitening which is almost always done out of pocket. Your dentist may offer payment plans for cosmetic services.
Why Covering Dental Care with FSA Funds Makes Sense
Dental coverage is often limited under traditional insurance plans. We’re living in an era of high deductible plans, especially for dental needs, and so often only basic cleanings and X-rays are covered in full. Dental care is also something you may tend to put off or put on the back burner while dealing with other medical needs, even though oral health is crucial to overall health and well-being. Using your FSA for dental care makes so much sense because it gives you a chance to take care of those important but neglected oral health needs. For example, a client whose dental insurance is limited to check-ups and other routine care can cover a root canal with funds from an FSA, bringing much-needed relief without having to dip into their general savings.
This Fall, Talk with Your Dentist About Your FSA
For so many reasons, fall is an ideal time to make that dental appointment you’ve been putting off for months. The kids have gone back to school, and it’s time to practice a little self-care. Fall is also the time to get in any needed dental treatment before your FSA funds disappear at the end of the year. At Greenhill Family Dental, we have years of experience with FSA programs and can help you identify and plan for covered dental treatments to help you move into the new year with a healthy smile. Plus, we offer our own in-house dental insurance plan that may be a great complement to your FSA.