Guest Post by Liz from Wonder Woman I’m Not.
Braces are a dreaded necessary for many of us parents with pre-teen to teenage children. Fortunately our older child didn’t require them — but we knew early on that our younger child would need them.
Our daughter recently had her braces put on and I’m happy to say that we were able to pay for them with cash. Our ability to do so was the result of advanced planning, research and taking advantage of several programs.
Here’s what we did…
Our daughter started to see an orthodontist when she was six (at our dentist’s recommendation). By starting early, we were able to proactively correct a problem without surgery or additional appliances adding to our bill. Most orthodontists do not charge for the preliminary appointments.
Get a second opinion:
We switched orthodontists half way through the preliminary treatment. Our first orthodontist wanted to start the braces before she lost all her baby teeth plus he wanted to remove four permanent teeth. Our current orthodontist is more conservative about removing teeth and advised us to wait. He would have put them on early but then it would cost us twice as much because they would have been on twice as long.
Initially we went to the orthodontist closest to our house. Once we decided to switch we decided to make price as well as quality one of the key points. By asking around, I found a high-quality dental complex that offered supplemental insurance in addition to cheaper prices.
This orthodontist offered a 10% savings if we paid cash. If this isn’t offered up front I would definitely ask for it. By paying cash we saved a little over $300!!
If your employer offers this option I would encourage you to use it. However keep in mind that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Money goes into the flexible account pre-tax so you will have a tax savings that you wouldn’t normally have unless your medical bills are large enough to claim on your taxes. Your savings would depend on the tax bracket you are in but could be 20% or more of your cost.
Here’s the final breakdown of what we spent:
Initial Cost =$6,100
Insurance Paid = $1,100
Insurance Group Disc = $460
Supplementary Insurance = $1,410
10% Cash Discount = $ 315
Total Out of Pocket- $2,815
I had about half stuck back in an ‘unexpected’ fund that I used for the down payment. I requested reimbursement immediately from my flexible spending account and used that money to pay the balance. I did make sure to replace the money from the ‘unexpected’ fund once I received the second reimbursement from our flexible spending.
Every time I see that shiny smile, I’m relieved to know that it’s all paid for!
In addition to being a wife and mother, Liz works outside the home and blogs at Wonder Woman I’m Not – a home management blog for the busy woman striving to find balance in their lives.