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      July 3, 2020

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Careington vs Spirit Dental

Best Dental Insurance Plans

To help you find the Best Dental Insurance Plans, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Careington and Spirit Dental.

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Where can you get the best dental insurance? If you're one of the 74 million Americans who aren't covered by an employer or government plan, chances are you've asked yourself that question recently. One big reason people avoid dental insurance is because those plans can be expensive.

The price for dental insurance can vary depending on where you live, but it's not uncommon for a basic cleaning to cost $100 - and that doesn't include the x-rays, the exam, or the cost of any repair work or fillings the dentist discovers during your visit. Fortunately, you can purchase your own coverage.

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Best Reviews

2020

Dental Insurance Reviews

4 stars
Careington

CAREINGTON

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Cost:

Plans start at $8.95/month or $89/year

One-time processing fee of $20

Benefits:

No exclusions - anyone can join

Nationwide provider access (minus Vermont and Washington)

Vision and Telemedicine Add-ons available

Plans:

Discount Dental Plans

Careington wants to give you simple and affordable access to discounts on a range of healthcare services, ranging from dental to vision and including unique add-ons like telemedicine access. At the time of our most recent review, this dental discount plan provider was in good standing with the BBB: an A+ rating and accreditation, after being in business for nearly 30 years. (Note: Careington is not available in Washington State or Vermont.)

The site is very easy to use. Enter your zip code to see what Careington plans are available in your area. In our major metro area, these are the options:

  • Careington 500 Dental Savings Plan: the most popular coverage offered by this provider, this plan has premiums of $8.95/month for an individual, $13.95 for two individuals, or $16.95/month for a family of 3 or more. The payment schedule for this plan has a member pay of $34 to $44 for an adult cleaning and $60 to $74 for a filling. You'll also get a 20% discount on orthodontics for both children and adults.
  • Careington Dental Discount Plan: this coverage has the same premiums as the 500 plan. It also gives you a broader network of dentists to choose from, but the downside is that you'll pay more for the services you receive (like $95 for a filling instead of $74, for example).
  • Careington Dental & Vision Discount Plan: premiums for this coverage are $9.95 for one, $14.95 for two, and $17.95 for a family. In addition to the dental discounts described above, you'll also have access to discounts on eye exams, lenses and frames, and LASIK vision correction. The dental discounts aren't as generous on this plan ($60 for the cleaning, $98 for the filling), but that may be offset by the vision discounts (which are administered through VSP's Vision Savings Pass).
  • Careington Dental, Vision, Plus Telemedicine: for premiums ranging from $12.95 for an individual up to $21.95 for a family, you'll get access to discounts on dental and vision services and products. Additionally, you can also access telemedicine through DialCare for non-emergency medical issues and questions when your primary care doctor is unavailable. No need to go in for a visit when a telemedicine doctor can evaluate you remotely and even prescribe an antibiotic or other needed medication. Prescription discounts are also available through this plan.

Exact costs for services depend on where you live and the plan you select. Be sure to use the provider search to make sure there are dentists in your area. In our location, there was a good selection of dentists to choose from, many of which we knew to be reputable and skilled.

All plans require a one-time processing fee of $20. Your coverage begins immediately; if you need service right away, you can get your ID number through the toll-free number for Member Services.

Careington is a great option if you're looking for dental discount plans, and especially if you'd like some affordable extras like telemedicine or vision discounts. This company has a strong reputation, low premiums, and a good network of dentists and other providers.

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3.5 stars
Spirit Dental

SPIRIT DENTAL

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Cost:

Plans start at $31.63/month

Benefits:

Guaranteed acceptance

3 cleanings and 2 exams per year included with every plan

$100 lifetime deductible

No waiting period on major services

Plans:

Dental Insurance

Spirit Dental is a fully-featured dental insurance plan, not a discount plan. All coverage options through Spirit include the following benefits:

  • No waiting on preventative, basic, or major services
  • 100% coverage on 3 cleanings and 2 exams per year
  • Guaranteed acceptance
  • $100 lifetime deductible
  • Coverage for crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, root canals and more
  • Child orthodontics included in every play

Spirit Dental Insurance is a product of Ameritas. You'll find Ameritas plans quoted on other sites in our review, so be sure to comparison shop and see if it makes more sense to purchase your coverage through a third-party site with other providers or directly from Ameritas through Spirit Dental.

When you get your list of providers, you can filter the results by other preferences like distance, specialty (orthodontist, pediatric dentist, and so on), weekend hours, and so on. Then, click on any dentist's name to get a cost estimator for the practice; we liked that "cost effective" ones are highlighted in green. Unfortunately, until you have a member ID number, you won't be able to access the cost estimator unless you create a user account. Be aware of the disclaimer: "It is unlawful to misrepresent yourself as the insured member in order to gain access to this system for any purpose." So, if you really want access to that cost estimator, don't enter false information!

There were plenty of dentists in our area, including several that we know to have a fantastic reputation for affordable, skillful dental care.

Dental insurance through Spirit isn't cheap. In our area, we could expect to pay a minimum of $31.63 per month for an individual plan, with a coverage limit of $750 in the first year, $1,000 in the second year, and $1250 in the third and subsequent years. That same plan costs $63.26/month for two people, and $101.22/month for a family of 3 or more. Those premiums all apply to Spirit's Network plans. If you want to use the dentist of your choice and s/he is not in the Ameritas network, you'll pay more ($161.63 for coverage of $1200 every year for a family plan, as an example).

Spirit Dental offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but if you've received any services under your plan you will not be eligible for a premium refund. You can still cancel your plan within those 30 days with no penalty.

Direct Benefits is the distributor of Spirit Dental's plans, and that company enjoys an "A+" rating at the BBB. There were also very positive customer comments registered there, particularly praising the company's helpfulness in sorting out any issues with getting coverage, confirming benefits with dentists, and so on. For all of these reasons, including the many benefits that come with every Spirit Dental Plan, we give this provider a solid 3.5-star rating, especially for those who want traditional dental insurance and not a discount dental plan.

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Continued from above

When it comes to Dental Insurance, you have two main options: traditional dental insurance or discount dental plans. With dental insurance, it works as you'd imagine you pay a monthly premium, and you may or may not have an annual deductible.

On the other hand, discount dental plans give you access to savings on dental services and are often valid for use from the day you pay for coverage. Many of these dental savings plans have options for further discounts on vision, hearing, prescriptions, and even telemedicine services.

So, what's the advantage of using one over the other? It really depends on what you're looking for. Many people like the security of a traditional dental insurance policy, because they're already familiar with how they work. However, a growing number of consumers are opting for discount dental plans: even though you have to pay at the time of service, the amount you save compared with paying 100% out of pocket can be significant.

No matter which type of dental coverage you need, what should you consider as you choose the right provider and plan for you or your family? Here are several criteria to keep in mind:

  • Type of Plans Available. If you already know you want a discount dental plan or traditional dental insurance, does the site offer it? How many providers are included? Can you choose from a wide range of plans, premium levels, and options?
  • Pricing. What will you pay for your coverage? Do you have the option to pay monthly or annually as you prefer? Will the dental insurance or discount plan save you enough money to justify the premiums and any enrollment fees?
  • Reputation. What do others have to say about their experience using the service and/or the plans provided? Is the company rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Support. Many dental insurance websites have licensed agents available to help you with your decision, assist you in completing the enrollment, and so on. How easy is it to get help if you need it?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Dental Insurance and discount dental plans available today. We hope this information helps you find the best coverage for a healthy smile at the right price!

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