Yes, health insurance can cover oral surgery, but the extent of coverage depends on the specific type of procedure, the reason for the surgery, and the terms of your insurance plan. In general, medical insurance covers oral surgery procedures that are deemed medically necessary, while dental insurance covers routine dental care and some major oral surgery procedures.
Understanding Medical vs. Dental Insurance Coverage for Oral Surgery
What is Covered by Medical Insurance?
Medical insurance typically covers oral surgery procedures that are considered medically necessary to treat a medical condition or injury. Examples of medically necessary procedures that may be covered by medical insurance include:
- Removal of wisdom teeth due to impaction or infection
- Treatment of oral cancer or other tumors
- Repair of jaw fractures
- Surgery to address cleft palate or other congenital birth defects
What is Covered by Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance plans typically cover a range of routine dental care services, such as cleanings, fillings, and X-rays. They may also cover some major oral surgery procedures, but the extent of coverage varies depending on the specific plan. Some dental insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost of procedures such as:
- Wisdom tooth removal
- Dental implants
- Bone grafts
- Oral surgery for sleep apnea
Common Oral Surgery Procedures Covered by Insurance
Medically Necessary Procedures
As mentioned above, medical insurance typically covers oral surgery procedures that are considered medically necessary. Here are some examples of medically necessary procedures that may be covered:
- Removal of impacted wisdom teeth: Wisdom teeth that are impacted or causing pain or infection may be covered by medical insurance.
- Treatment of oral cancer: Surgery to remove oral cancer or other tumors is typically covered by medical insurance.
- Repair of jaw fractures: Surgery to repair jaw fractures caused by accidents or other trauma is usually covered by medical insurance.
- Surgery to address cleft palate or other congenital birth defects: Surgery to correct cleft palate or other congenital birth defects of the mouth and jaw is typically covered by medical insurance.
Some oral surgery procedures are considered elective, meaning they are not medically necessary and may not be covered by medical insurance. Examples of elective oral surgery procedures include:
- Cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of the face or mouth: Procedures such as chin augmentation, rhinoplasty, and lip augmentation are generally not covered by medical insurance.
- Dental implants for non-functional reasons: Dental implants placed for aesthetic purposes rather than to restore function are typically not covered by medical insurance.
- Jaw surgery to correct bite problems: Surgery to correct misaligned teeth or a misaligned jaw is usually considered elective and may not be covered by medical insurance.
Out-of-Pocket Costs for Oral Surgery and How to Pay for Them
Even if your insurance covers a portion of the cost of oral surgery, you will likely still have some out-of-pocket expenses. These may include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
Options for Patients Without Insurance Coverage
If you do not have health insurance, there are a few options for paying for oral surgery:
- Patient financing: Many oral surgeons offer patient financing plans that allow you to make payments over time.
- Dental discount plans: Dental discount plans can provide you with discounts on a variety of dental services, including oral surgery.
- Government assistance: There are a number of government programs that can help low-income individuals with medical expenses, including oral surgery.
Utilizing Dental Savings Plans
Dental savings plans, also known as dental discount plans, are a type of insurance that can help you save money on oral surgery and other dental care services. These plans typically work by negotiating lower rates with dentists and other healthcare providers.
Tips for Navigating Insurance Coverage for Oral Surgery
Discussing Coverage with Your Dentist
Before scheduling oral surgery, it is important to discuss your insurance coverage with your dentist. They can help you understand what is covered by your plan and what out-of-pocket costs you may be responsible for.
Understanding Your Insurance Policy
Take some time to review your insurance policy to understand what is covered and what is not. Pay attention to your deductible, copayments, and coinsurance rates.
Knowing Your Options for Financial Assistance
If you are concerned about the cost of oral surgery, there are a number of financial assistance options available. Talk to your dentist or insurance company to learn more about these options.
Keeping Track of Out-of-pocket Costs
Keep track of all your out-of-pocket expenses related to oral surgery. This will help you file claims with your insurance company and budget for future healthcare costs.