Does Medicaid Cover Braces? Overview
The answer is Yes, well, sort of. Medicaid will pay for your braces but only if these devices are deemed a medical necessity by an approved physician. Medicaid also considers your age, the state you reside in, and why you want to straighten your teeth.
Even if an orthodontist recommends that Medicaid pay for your braces, you will still need approval from you’re local Medicaid office. This is because Medicaid is provided on a state-by-state basis, so decisions on what will and what won’t be covered vary by quite a lot.
However, if your income isn’t as high, you can take advantage of Medicaid’s coverage for braces because the standards that apply to you will be relaxed. Some states also have special provisions for children who come from low-income families.
Coverage is hard to come by even if braces are medically necessary, even for children. Also, if you’re looking to get Medicaid to pay for aesthetic braces you will be disappointed.
What Are Braces?
Dental braces are wire-based devices that physicians use to fix congested and crooked teeth or jaws. Dental braces work by moving or straightening your teeth in order to improve how they look and how the teeth feel.
Braces can help improve the well-being of your teeth and gums in the long term and make it easy for you to chew by spreading the biting pressure across all your teeth. Most people who need braces get them when young but adults can also benefit from getting struts.
Braces put pressure on the teeth and slowly move them in the desired direction. As the force takes effect, the bones in the jaws shift to enable your teeth to move. Braces will allow you to have the perfect smile. After all, who doesn’t need one?
When Does Medicaid Cover Children’s Braces?
Federal laws necessitate that all states provide dental benefits to children enrolled in Medicaid via the CHIP (child health insurance program). Some of these benefits include:
- Routine teeth check-ups.
- Teeth restoration.
- Teeth Cleaning.
- Relief from teeth pain and infection.
Medicaid only covers orthodontic treatment for persons of 21 years and under when these services are deemed necessary by a physician. However, medical conditions that qualify people for Medicaid coverage for orthodontic procedures vary state by state.
Medicaid usually pays for kids’ braces when required to correct a disease, injury, or handicapping malocclusion. Dental problems that interfere with normal mouth functions such as chewing and swallowing and other routine activities may require braces to be fixed.
Such problems may include:
- Jaw problems.
- Cleft palate or lip.
- Overjet protrusions.
- Congenital defects.
- Severe crossbites, underbites, and overbites.
- Missing or extra teeth due to pre-existing genetic conditions
When Does Medicaid Cover Adult’s Braces?
Although Medicaid, for the most part, only pays for children’s orthodontic procedures, in recent times, it has expanded its coverage to include indigent or low-income adults, pregnant women, or disabled persons. However, in the case of braces, adults rarely qualify.
Medical necessity is a critical factor in determining whether Medicaid will pay for braces in adults. For instance, Medicaid can pay for braces in adults how have dislodged teeth or broken jaws as a result of an accident.
Adults who have ailments that affect the jaw and neck also have a valid reason to lay claim to dental coverage by Medicaid. Medicaid will also pay for teeth repositioning procedures to correct the following conditions:
- TMD or TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorders).
- Sleep Apnea.
- Handicapping Malocclusions.
When presenting your case for Medicaid to pay for your braces, ensure the data is detailed with regard to a medical condition that’s impacted by problems with the mouth or jaws. Braces can be approved without treatment if you’re experiencing pain, you’re ill, or you have an infection.
Also, if the condition impacts the normal functioning of your body or your ability to go about your routines, then braces can also be approved by Medicaid.
What Doesn’t Medicaid Cover?
Again braces are approved for medical reasons only. Some of the procedures with regard to orthodontics that Medicaid won’t pay for include:
- Treatment to correct crowded teeth.
- Braces meant for aesthetic purposes.
- If the patient has shown a lack of enthusiasm to maintain oral health and hygiene standards.
Medicaid won’t also pay for premium orthodontic options such as Invisalign for both kids and adults because Medicaid is a mass program that pays for the least expensive treatment option.
How Can You Determine If You Qualify for Braces with Medicaid?
In 2019 the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) sought to clarify what is a medically necessary orthodontic procedure. However, individual states still have a lot of say in what their Medicaid plans will cover and won’t cover
A free consolation with a Medicaid-approved orthodontist can help you better understand if you should get braces and whether your Medicaid plan will pay for all the expenses or a fraction of them.
If Medicaid decides to pay for the cost of your braces partially, no need to panic dental insurance isn’t as expensive as Medical insurance, and you can get one to pay for as much as 1500 USD, about 25% of the cost.
But considering that the out-of-pocket costs for braces range from around 5000 USD to 7000 USD 3rd party dental insurance plan really saves you a lot of money. There are other options you should consider to manage dental expenses if Medicaid doesn’t pay, and they include:
- Getting your dental services from university dental school clinics
- No-interest financing
- Cash discounts
- Tax-exempt saving accounts
Also, non-profit programs such as Smiles for a Lifetime and Smiles Change Lives can also offer you cut-price braces if you are a low-income individual who is in need of braces and can’t afford the entire cost of orthodontic treatment.
To sum it all up, each US State establishes laws about which dental services are covered with regard to braces and what makes you eligible for coverage. So you need to contact your local office to get a final answer as to whether Medicaid will pay for your braces.