Dentistry
Cosmetic
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Updated on January 13, 2023
8 min read

Orthodontic Insurance That Covers Braces for Adults

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You don’t have to be a child for braces to be a wise investment for your health and your smile. Adults can get braces, too.

If you are an adult who wants your teeth straightened, adult braces can help realign your teeth for an upgraded smile.

Orthodontic treatment with braces can also improve the health of your teeth, mouth, and jaw.

clipboard on table between doctors two hands

Can Adults Get Orthodontic Insurance?

Without a dental insurance plan, braces can be costly. They can cost approximately $6,000 (and even more for complex needs).2

Many dental coverage plans cover a portion of orthodontic dental services for children 19 years or younger. Insurance covering braces for adults is available, but is less common sinceit is often considered cosmetic.

Finding dental insurance plans that include coverage for adult braces can be challenging. Some dental insurance policies set an age limit on orthodontic coverage, which is usually around age 19.

If your insurance company offers coverage for adult braces, check the yearly maximum benefit or lifetime maximum for braces. Some dental policies pay a percentage of the dentist’s fees, while others cover a flat fee.

Lifetime maximum benefit amounts for braces are the most common limitation. Orthodontic insurance companies that cover braces for adults can help you save money on what may otherwise be a significantly expensive procedure.

Top 6 Dental Insurance Plans for Adult Orthodontics

Here are some of the best dental insurance plans for adult orthodontics:

1. Delta Dental

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Delta Dental is the biggest dental coverage provider in the United States.

This provider offers many plan choices with different levels of orthodontic coverage at various price points. There are plans for basic orthodontic coverage (at a low cost) to comprehensive coverage (at a higher cost). 

Depending on where you live, you may be able to sign up for Delta Dental on your state’s health insurance exchange or healthcare.gov. Whichever dental plan you sign up for will cover at least a portion of your orthodontic treatment.

Pros of Delta Dental Cons of Delta Dental
Higher annual maximums than other providers Can have long waiting periods for basic care and orthodontics
100% coverage for preventative care, no waiting period Has a $10 enrollment fee
Offers coverage for basic care, bridges, dentures, and teeth whitening
Up to 50% payout for oral surgery
Covers orthodontics for children and adults up to 50%

2. Aetna

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A major health and dental insurance company, Aetna was acquired by CVS in November 2018. CVS is a nationwide drug store chain and maintains Aetna under the CVS Health subsidiary.

Aetna offers discounts for orthodontics for less than 12 dollars per month. While not all dental plans provide orthodontics coverage, Aetna offers various discount plans that include orthodontics procedure coverage or discounts.

Pros of Aetna Dental Cons of Aetna Dental
Covers 100% of preventative care Some plans may require referrals to see a specialist
Offers family plans Can have high deductibles
Certain plans allow you to see any dentist at any time
Some plans cover up to 75% of orthodontic services

3. Aflac

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American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, or Aflac, provides dental insurance supplements with an optional rider for orthodontics.

However, policies and pricing are not available entirely online. You must fill out an online form or call Aflac for a quote, which is not ideal for many buyers.

Since Aflac offers dental insurance as a supplement and orthodontic coverage as a rider, you can create a somewhat customized insurance policy to meet your needs. Like other insurance companies, monthly costs and coverage differ by level.

Pros of Aflac Dental Cons of Aflac Dental
Customizable policy Difficult to find pricing online
Direct deposit reimbursements Some coverage only available through employers
You can see the dentist of your choice No 100% coverage on preventative care

4. Humana

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Humana is a major insurance company in the U.S., providing medical and dental plans, among others. They offer several options for dental plans, which vary in costs and coverage.

The diversity of Humana’s dental plans allows you to choose the type of care you need. Your Humana plan may cover a portion of your adult braces or offer a discount, but not all of them will.

Pros of Humana Dental Cons of Humana Dental
Wide variety of plans to choose from More focused on preventative care than orthodontic care
Unlimited yearly maximum payout Not all procedures may be covered
100% coverage for preventative care with no waiting period
Lifetime deductible you only pay once
Extensive provider network

5. Cigna

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Cigna is another major carrier of insurance plans in the US. They boast robust nationwide coverage and offer multiple tiers of dental policies.

One advantage of Cigna is that it’s easy to start a policy if you’ve recently lost coverage. Thanks to their wide network, it’s usually easy to find a dentist in your area that takes their insurance.

Pros of Cigna Dental Cons of Cigna Dental
Robust nationwide network of dentists May have long waiting periods
Easy to pick up on lost coverage Doesn’t cover dental implants
Competitive premium rates
Covers braces, but with a long waiting period
100% preventative care coverage

6. DentalPlans

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DentalPlans.com is a marketplace where you can find a dental discount plan or a dental insurance policy. While it’s not an insurance provider, it can be a great place to find coverage or an alternative that suits you.

To use DentalPlans, you’ll enter your location information and browse available plans. Most plans are dental savings plans, in which dentists agree to participate by offering a discount for users.

Pros of DentalPlans Cons of DentalPlans
30-day money-back guarantee on plans purchased through the marketplace Non-refundable enrollment fee
Easy to search and compare many different plans and discounts Fewer traditional insurance plans
Once you choose your plan, it’s activated quickly
Alternative to traditional plans

What Does Dental Insurance for Orthodontics Typically Include?

Orthodontic insurance for adults typically includes discounts and some coverage for treatment.

This coverage may include:

  • Exams
  • Imaging
  • Traditional braces
  • Retainers

However, just because you have orthodontic insurance does not mean your braces will be free. When orthodontics is included in a dental insurance policy, you will likely experience waiting periods before benefits begin.

Once benefits begin, you will need to meet a minimum deductible before the insurance begins to pay. Depending on your dental plan, you could still owe 50% or more of the cost of orthodontic treatment.

How Much Will You Pay Out-Of-Pocket?

Even with a high-quality dental insurance policy that includes orthodontic treatment, you may still have to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for traditional braces and similar treatments.

The costs depend on the policy you choose.

Does Insurance Cover Clear Aligner Treatment? 

Many dental insurance policies cover clear aligner treatment like Invisalign the same way they cover braces.1

Your insurance company may pay for a certain amount of your clear aligner treatment or cover a specific dollar amount.

Usually, there is a lifetime cap on the amount insurance will cover for orthodontic treatment.

Is Orthodontic Insurance Worth it?

The cost of braces can differ based on the type of treatment and length of treatment needed. Without insurance, braces can cost up to $6,000, and clear aligners can cost around $4,000.2 Insurance can offset some of this cost.

However, insurance can be pricey on its own. If you can’t afford orthodontic coverage, there are other ways to save on orthodontic treatment.

It is up to you to decide if orthodontic insurance is worth it. You can meet with a local orthodontist to determine an estimate of costs without insurance. This can help determine if you can afford treatment without insurance or need alternative options. 

Alternatives to Orthodontic Insurance

Here are some alternative ways to pay for adult orthodontic treatment:

Orthodontic School Clinics

Instead of going to a full orthodontic practice, consider visiting a local dental school.

Most states have dental schools that welcome patients on specific days. Students need to complete supervised treatments as part of their orthodontic training with their faculty members. They offer their services at reduced prices.

Payment Plans

Most orthodontic clinics provide payment plans for patients without dental insurance. Many clinics team up with financing companies to offer flexible payment options that cost less than conventional credit financing.

Many payment plans require little to no interest and are payable for up to two years. 

Flexible Spending Accounts

Even if your dental plan does not pay for orthodontics, your employer may provide a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

If your employer provides this perk, it is best to contribute the maximum amount allowed into your account.

The money you place in the account is not taxed. This means your dollar will go further. Use this money to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, such as braces and deductibles.

Your FSA or HSA may also cover co-pays and dental office visits.

Dental Assistance Programs

Many states offer dental assistance programs to help low-income families receive necessary dental treatment. In some circumstances, not-for-profit organizations can help.

Summary

Dental insurance plans may offer coverage for orthodontic treatment, including adult braces. Top dental insurance providers include Delta Dental, Aetna, Aflac, and Humana. The coverage for the cost of your braces depends on your plan and your provider.

Insurance policies are expensive, but some alternatives can offset the cost of your adult braces. Dental schools, payment plans, and flexible spending accounts are alternatives to orthodontic insurance that help you pay for treatment.

Last updated on January 13, 2023
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on January 13, 2023
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Ways to pay for Invisalign® treatment.” Invisalign.com, 2022.
  2. Anderson, E., et al. A Comparative Expected Cost Analysis Study on Dental Services and Products Used in the United States.” Account and Financial Management Journal, ResearchGate, 2020.
  3. Imani, M., et al. “A decision-making process to undergo orthodontic treatment: a qualitative study.” Patient Preference and Adherence, National Library of Medicine, 2018.
  4. Navabi, N et al. “Orthodontic treatment and the oral health-related quality of life of patients.” Journal of Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 2012.
  5. Braces Have Changed, From Metal to Tooth-Colored to Clear.” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2017.
  6. Orthodontia.” MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, 2021.
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