Paying for braces can be a huge and sometimes unexpected expense for a family or an individual to face. Whether the braces need to be worn for two years or four years, the orthodontist will want to be paid in full by the time the braces come off. A health savings account is the perfect tool to help budget for orthodontia. It works like an IRA where contributions can be withheld directly from a paycheck, and all contributions help to reduce an earner's overall tax liability.
Verify that your health insurance plan offers a health savings account. If your current health plan does not, you may consider switching health plans or health insurance providers if possible. Call the customer service number and request an application form be sent to you through the mail or access the online application if available. Fill out the form, submit it to your health insurance company and await confirmation of enrollment. Also check to see if your employer offers a health savings account and whether they offer a company contribution.
Get a quote from the orthodontist for the total cost of treatment and the length of time you will be allowed to make payments. In 2010, the maximum yearly contribution for a health savings account is $3,050 per individual and $6,150 for a family. If the cost of orthodontic treatment will exceed the maximum allowable HSA contribution but either the treatment or payments for treatment will last longer than one year, you may be able to use the health savings contributions from consecutive years to pay the balance. Most health savings accounts stipulate the funds must be used to pay for treatments within the same calendar year the contributions were made, but you should verify this with your health savings account administrator.
Design your health savings plan to function the way you need for your lifestyle and the arrangements you make to pay for the braces. Health savings deductions will be taken directly from your paycheck and deposited into a separate account for you. You may request a debit card to access those funds as needed, or you may request a payout at the end of the year. You can use the debit card to make payments at orthodontic checkups. You may also choose to pay the orthodontist's bill on your own and simply reimburse yourself at the end of the year by requesting your payout from the plan adminstrator.
Keep a copy of all paperwork associated with the braces. In order to receive full reimbursement, you may need to show a copy of any receipts or bills you received, as well as any payment contracts that were agreed to, and a record of all payments made over the course of year.