Orthodontic braces are an extremely common dental treatment for kids today. And many adults too. But orthodontic treatment can be costly – so you need to understand how to make the most of your extras cover.
Dentists will often refer children to an orthodontist between age 7 and 9. At this age, the orthodontist will usually just assess the child’s teeth or jaw issues and suggest future treatment.
Depending on your level of cover, this consultation will usually attract a ‘general dental’ benefit under your extras cover.
It’s common for orthodontic braces to be fitted in the early teenage years. A complete set of second teeth will have come through – but not yet set in cement. So moving teeth tends to be more efficient and effective at this age.
Making the most of your extras cover
Private health insurance extras cover provides varying levels of orthodontic benefits. Most insurers will classify orthodontics in a similar way to major dental treatment. If you are joining Defence Health or upgrading your cover, that will mean a 12-month waiting period before treatment can commence. If you have already served the 12 month waiting period, we’ll recognise it.
Some insurers have a waiting period of two or even three years before orthodontic treatment benefits will be paid.
Different insurers also have different rules about how they pay benefits. All funds will have some type of limit on their benefits – each year, each policy or a ‘lifetime limit’ for each member of the family treated.
Unlike other insurers, Defence Health does not have a lifetime limit on orthodontic treatment. We pay benefits (up to your annual limit) in each financial year, for the duration of the treatment. We’ll even provide benefits if you need further treatment in the future.
This can mean significantly more in benefits for you over the course of your family’s orthodontic experience.
Managing the cost
Some orthodontists offer a discount for payment up-front. At Defence Health we don’t encourage up-front payment as it does not give you and your family any flexibility to change dentist if you move location. And payment up-front means you may be thousands of dollars out-of-pocket initially.
We encourage you to discuss a payment plan with your orthodontist. Most will accept an initial deposit and then monthly repayments over a period of around 20 months. At Defence Health you can then claim as you pay, up to your maximum benefits each year.
With the right level of Defence Health extras cover, each member of your family can receive orthodontic benefits on payments made over the entire period of their orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment can be an expensive process that will take many years to complete. For families with private health insurance extras cover, the treatment cost is far more affordable.