Health savings accounts (HSAs) offer a great way to set aside funds for health care costs. Copayments, hospital bills, and prescriptions can all be paid by funds from an HSA — but that’s not all they cover.
You can also use HSAs to help pay for dental care. While dental insurance can help cover costs, an HSA can also help cover any out-of-pocket expenses resulting from dental care and procedures.
Let’s look at some of the eligibility requirements and get a better idea of which dental expenses are covered by an HSA.
Is your dental cost medically necessary?
According to the IRS, qualifying medical expenses can include any medically necessary medications, products, procedures, or programs. These services must be designed to treat or prevent a specific dental issue and can’t apply to cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening.1
Generally, most of the expenses associated with visiting the dentist can be covered by an HSA. This includes out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Let’s take a closer look at the specific dental expenses that can be covered by an HSA.
What dental expenses are HSA-eligible?
HSAs can help pay for a variety of dental services and orthodontic procedures. Here are some of the specific dental procedures your HSA can cover:2
- Crowns and fillings
- Teeth pulling
- Prescription medications
- Dentures and dental implants
HSAs and orthodontic expenses
HSAs can be used to pay for orthodontic expenses, as long as the surgery or procedure is recommended by a dentist or orthodontist.
What dental expenses are not HSA-eligible?
Here’s a list of some of the items, procedures, and medications that can’t be paid for by your HSA:
- Teeth whitening
- Denture maintenance items
What are dual purpose expenses?
Generally, the items listed above won't be covered by an HSA because they’re considered “general use.” A general use expense is defined as anything that’s used for dental maintenance and broad medical well-being but isn’t tied to a specific medical issue.
A toothbrush, for example, would be considered general use and not eligible for HSA coverage.
However, items listed as general use can be charged to your HSA if the expense is necessary to treat a specific problem.
If your dentist determines that a general use item is essential to your health, they’ll classify the expense as “dual purpose.” When a specific charge is classified this way, you’ll be able to use your HSA funds to cover the expense. In order to prove that a purchase is dual purpose, you’ll need to submit proof from your dentist that the purchase was medically necessary.
Things to consider before using an HSA for dental expenses
When it’s time to pay your dental bills, an HSA can help ease some of the financial burden — as long as your expenses are tied to a specific medical problem.
It’s important to double check whether the specific treatments, products, or procedures you pay for are eligible for HSA coverage. Be sure to reach out to your HSA provider for details about what qualifies under your plan.