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      November 12, 2019

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Spirit Dental vs Avia Dental

Best Dental Insurance Plans

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

2019

Dental Insurance Reviews

3.5 stars
Spirit Dental

SPIRIT DENTAL Visit Site

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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2.5 stars
Avia Dental

AVIA DENTAL Visit Site

Cost:

Plans start at $8.25/month or $99/year

$20 processing fee at time of registration

Benefits:

Prescription and Vision discounts included

Acceptance guaranteed

More than 40,000 dental providers

Annual and monthly payment options

Plans:

Discount Dental Plans

Avia Dental Plan has been in business since 1994 and is committed to helping individuals, families, and groups of any size to save money on dental care.

This service works as a discount dental plan and also includes discounts for prescriptions and vision expenses. You can expect to pay $8.25 per month or $99 per year for an individual, $12 per month or $144 per year for two people, and $13.25 per month or $159 per year for a family of 3 or more. All plans include a one-time $20 processing fee.

Avia has one of the lowest fee schedules on the market. This means that you will spend less money for your typical dental services. For example, Avia members will only pay $15 for a periodic oral exam, instead of the $50+ that most dentists charge for cash patients. An adult cleaning is only $35, and a children's cleaning and fluoride treatment costs $46. That could save you a lot of money for your routine care.

If you need something more involved like a root canal, you'll get even bigger savings as an Avia member. A molar root canal can easily cost upwards of $1100 if you're paying out of pocket, but with the Avia discount dental plan you'll only spend $490. That savings would easily pay for your membership with just one procedure.

We had some issues navigating the site. Specifically, when we tried to search for dental plans in our area by zip code, we were taken to a third-party site and told that our IP address disqualified us from their offer. We spoke with a very friendly Avia representative who said that it was a known issue and who walked us through a better route to get the information we needed (click on your state on the map, then click on the blue Sign Up Now button on the right side. Select your state in the dropdown box, and then scroll down past the sign up form to see detailed information about their discount plans in your state).

Unfortunately, despite having more than 40,000 dental providers who accept Avia dental plans, this provider doesn't offer coverage in a long list of states, which may include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

And, in our major metro area, there were only a few practices that came up as part of Avia's network of dentists. Those offices have a reputation of low-quality service, recommending unnecessary procedures, and not practicing a high standard of care with their patients. None of the dentists with a great reputation in our area were in Avia's network.

For that reason alone, Avia ranks at the bottom of the providers of dental insurance and savings plans in our review: there are just too many prospective customers who won't find what they need on this site, just because of where they live. And, even if Avia is available in your area and seems to be a good way to save money, you'll need to be sure that there's actually a dentist you trust that accepts their plans - otherwise you might wind up with subpar dental care that costs you more in the long run. We recommend that you consider the higher-ranked dental insurance and discount plans in our review.

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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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