Retainer: FSA Eligibility

The cost of an orthodontic retainer is eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA). Retainer reimbursement is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is a retainer for orthodontics?

A retainer is a type of orthodontic appliance that is worn in the months and years following the removal of orthodontic braces that is designed exclusively for a person's mouth. Retainers are used to prevent the shifting of teeth in the period following braces removal and to continue to correct any bite issues that may still be present. Retainers are usually worn at night and can help maintain the shape of a person's smile, which is not only done for aesthetic purposes but can improve a person's overall oral hygiene by making teeth easier to brush and floss. In most cases, retainers are worn for a year or more after braces have been removed.

What are the primary types of retainers?

Depending on a patient's bite issues and how long he/she has worn braces in the past, an orthodontist will typically choose to go with one of three types of retainers, including:

Hawley Retainers: This is the most common retainer type that consists of wires and clasps that fit around the wearer's palette, which are attached to a hard plastic body that is custom-made to fit the roof of a patient's mouth. The clasps are designed to grasp specific teeth to ensure that the device stays in place, while a "bow" wire goes along the front teeth to keep everything in alignment.

Fixed Retainers: Also known as "bonded" or "permanent" retainers, these dental appliances are attached to the backsides of front teeth on the top or bottom of the palette. They do not go all the way around the jaw line, but their fixed placement will prevent teeth from shifting over time.

Clear Retainers: While they use the same design as Hawley retainers, clear retainers are designed to be less conspicuous and are made by taking a cast of the teeth with clear plastic and worn over the teeth at night. While they are much harder to spot as compared with other retainer types, they do not have the same lifespan as others and may need additional replacements made over time.

Eligibility Table

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Limited Care FSA Dependent Care FSA Health Savings Account (HSA) Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)

Eligible

Eligible with Rx

Eligible with LMN

Not Eligible

Specifically Not Covered

Eligible expenses for Limited FSAs can vary. To find out exactly what your Limited FSA covers, contact your FSA administrator.

Legal Information / Regulations

Eligible expenses for Limited FSAs can vary. To find out exactly what your Limited FSA covers, contact your FSA administrator.

 


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