- Depending on your dental plan, dental implants may be covered.
- However, there can be restrictions, and not all parts of the procedure may be covered.
- Medical insurance rarely covers dental implants.
- The dental implant procedure can last months, so you may not have to cover all of the costs at once.
The importance of healthy teeth is never so clear as when you need a big procedure. And those often come at a high cost.
Dental implants are no exception. The procedure could range from a single implant with an abutment and crown to several implants with the option of removable or non-removable replacement teeth, with total costs running from $3,200 to $6,000, according to the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute.
If you’re in need of dental implants, here’s what you should know about paying for them, including insurance and savings options.
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Does dental insurance cover implants?
Some dental insurance plans will cover implants. But the details will depend on your individual plan, and you may find that your policy doesn’t cover all the costs associated with getting an implant, leaving you on the hook for a big portion of the bill.
“The first step is usually extracting the tooth and grafting the area to prepare the site for a dental implant,” says New York dentist Dr. Bethany Wong. “Usually, the part that insurance will cover is the extraction and grafting. Some insurance policies may cover the steps that follow, which are the dental implant and implant crown. But usually, these parts are only partially covered if at all.”
Meet the Expert
Dr. Wong completed dental school at Columbia University in 2014. As a Chief Resident at then-Long Island Jewish Medical Center, she received additional training in implants, plus cosmetics and dental trauma. She has worked at a Woodstock, N.Y., practice since 2016.
Even if your dental policy pays for implants, you may have to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in. And your coverage may exclude consultations, X-rays and anesthesia. The type of implant your dentist uses can determine coverage as well.
Another factor is the reason for getting your implant in the first place. Many dental insurance policies cover implants in the event of an accident but not when they are considered a cosmetic procedure.
Or with a cosmetic implant, your insurance may cover up to a percentage of the cost—up to 50%, for example. Again, coverage rules vary, so it’s important to check with your insurer in advance.
Check with your dental insurance company to make sure that the cost of an implant won’t put you over the plan’s annual coverage limit. If it does, your benefits may be reduced, leaving you paying more than expected in out-of-pocket costs.
Another potential hitch is that dental plans may exclude coverage if you were already missing a tooth before your coverage began.
Does medical insurance cover dental implants?
In general, health insurance rarely includes coverage for dental implants. One possible exception: If you lost the tooth in an accident, you may be able to get some of those costs covered.
For example, if a car crash sends you to the hospital and a dental implant is deemed necessary, your medical insurance might provide some coverage. But keep in mind that this is a rare occurrence.
Can you pay for dental implants with FSA or HSA funds?
Both of these tax-advantaged savings accounts help you pay for eligible medical costs. But make sure you understand the rules for using either for dental implants.
You may have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your job. And FSA funds can be used to pay for a wide range of out-of-pocket health care costs, including dental expenses. Just be aware that you may have to provide a receipt for your implant, as well as a letter of medical necessity signed by a doctor.[4, 5]
A health savings account (HSA) is similar to an FSA, except that you can get one through your employer or on your own if you buy your own insurance. You also have to have a high-deductible health plan to be able to contribute to an HSA.
If you have an HSA, you can use the funds in the account to pay for dental procedures like dental implants—but only if you’re not getting the implant for purely cosmetic reasons. A medical diagnosis may also be required.
If you’re getting your health insurance on the marketplace, you’ll see some plans labeled “HSA-eligible,” and you can sort by those plans, too.
How to save money on dental implants
“Dental implants are becoming a more common procedure. Patients come to our practice inquiring about implants every day, and certainly the financial aspect can be overwhelming and a factor in deciding how they will proceed,” says Wong.
“If a patient has dental insurance, we would try to maximize their insurance benefits to help cover some of the costs. Our practice has a dental savings plan that also provides our services at a discounted price.”
Asking about savings plans and discounts can be a useful option, especially if you’re worried about paying for the potentially high cost of dental implants. But keep in mind that you might not have to pay for everything all at once.
“What many patients don’t know is that even one implant, start to finish, can take on average six to eight months,” says Dr. Wong. “Payment can be broken down into the different steps which are performed several months apart to ease the burden of the whole payment up front.”