Cost of Orthodontic Treatment for Publicly-insured Patients

Orthodontic treatment is covered by public health insurance (GKV) up until a person’s eighteenth birthday depending on the extent of the problem. The extent of the problem is established in accordance with the Orthodontic Indicator Groups (KIG): this means, for example, that public health insurance companies will pay if two front teeth diverge by more than 3 mm from each other, or when the overbite of the molars is greater than 6mm. The treatment of any deviation smaller than this must be paid for privately. The orthodontist actually carries out the tariff classification. But the GKV will only pay for simple standard treatment procedures that are described by such words as ‘advisable’, ‘cost-effective’ or ‘adequate’. However, orthodontics has made some impressive progress over the past few years and now offers a lot of modern braces that are not covered by the GKV. Strictly speaking, it is no longer possible to provide effective orthodontic treatment for a cost of around €2,500, when we consider that it used to cost twice that amount, in real terms, before 1990. This is why almost all orthodontists charge publicly-insured patients additional costs ranging from a few hundred Euros to more than €3,000. Unfortunately, it is not really possible for patients to understand the relationship between the prices charged and the service offered. For the layman the market for additional services has become far from transparent.