MINNETONKA, Minn — People enrolled in most UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored and individual dental plans with orthodontic coverage can now purchase SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners for in most cases less than $1,000 out of pocket, helping plan participants improve their smiles, and potentially save time and thousands of dollars on orthodontic care.
SmileDirectClub and UnitedHealthcare’s new network relationship is among the first instances of a dental plan specifically covering, on an in-network basis, teledentistry and direct-to-consumer clear aligners, a care model pioneered by SmileDirectClub to improve access to, and affordability of, orthodontic care.
More than 1.5 million UnitedHealthcare dental plan participants with orthodontic coverage* can start the process by visiting SmileDirectClub.com to order an impression kit or schedule a 3D digital image at any of SmileDirectClub’s more than 235 SmileShops across the country. Through this collaboration, eligible UnitedHealthcare dental plan participants can review their benefits information and potential out-of-pocket expenses with SmileDirectClub customer care. Plan participants will soon be able to visit the SmileDirectClub website to enter their dental plan details to access real-time information and cost transparency.
SmileDirectClub connects people with a state-licensed dentist or orthodontist to remotely review and prescribe a personalized treatment plan, monitor progress and eliminate the need for in-office checkups, providing a convenient and cost-effective way for consumers to have their teeth straightened. SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners work best for people 12 or older with all adult teeth and mild-to-moderate crowding or spacing issues.
Nearly half (45 percent) of Americans say they are planning to make improving their oral health a priority this year, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.
“People in over 60 percent of U.S. counties1 do not have access to an orthodontist. SmileDirectClub increases access to a better, straighter smile through our teledentistry platform, giving more patients a convenient way to get the orthodontic care they need,” said Alex Fenkell, co-founder of SmileDirectClub. “By working with UnitedHealthcare, we will enable more people to get the smiles they’ll love and improve their confidence.”
“UnitedHealthcare’s new relationship with SmileDirectClub enables more people to improve their smiles, helping encourage them to make a greater commitment to their dental health,” said Tom Wiffler, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits. “Research shows oral health is connected to overall health, so working with SmileDirectClub helps further meet our dental plan participants’ oral health and whole-health needs.”
*Not all UnitedHealthcare dental plans include orthodontic coverage.
SmileDirectClub was founded on a simple belief: Everyone deserves a smile they love. Recognizing an opportunity to increase access to affordable dental care, the company pioneered remote teledentistry and became the market leader of doctor-directed, remote clear aligner therapy. A digital network of 240+ state-licensed dentists and orthodontists approve and oversee customer SmilePlans from start to finish. Customers enter the SmileDirectClub journey in two ways: An Impression Kit sent by mail or by visiting one of 235+ SmileShops for 3D digital images. SmileDirectClub was founded in 2014 by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman in partnership with Camelot Venture Group, whose portfolio companies include 1-800 CONTACTS and Quicken Loans. Available in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, SmileDirectClub is based in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, visit SmileDirectClub.com.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017