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      October 18, 2019

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Spirit Dental vs Dental Save

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 Dental Save.

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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.

Continue reading below reviews

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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3.5 stars
Dental Save

DENTAL SAVE Visit Site

Cost:

Plans start at $9.99 per month or $99 per year

NO activation fee on yearly plans; $20 activation fee on monthly plans

Benefits:

Prescription, Vision and Hearing Discounts included

50,000 dental locations through Dental Save and Careington networks

No waiting period: discounts are effective from day one of membership

Plans:

Discount Dental Plans

Dental Save is a discount dental plan that "works like a wholesale price club for dental care", giving members access to discounts up to 50% on all dental procedures in their network.

Most of the providers included in the Dental Save plans use the Careington network, so we encourage you to read our review on that company and determine if it would make more sense to go directly through Careington or to use Dental Save for its other benefits. Some of these extras that are included are Hearing; Vision and Prescription discounts are included in both Dental Save and Careington plans.

Pricing with Dental Save is straightforward. On the main Pricing page, it's easy to toggle between yearly and monthly plans. Here's what you can expect to pay for this dental care discount program:

  • Individual: $99/year or $9.99/month + $20 activation fee
  • Dual: $165/year or $14.95/month + $20 activation fee
  • Family: $199/year or $17.95/month + $20 activation fee

When we visited the Dental Save website, we got a pop-up offering us a discount of 15% on our plan subscription if we entered our email address.

Figuring out what you'd pay for service can be time-consuming. Once you have a list of providers in your area, you can see the network in which they participate and the fee schedule used by their office. Almost every single in-network dentist in our major metro area used the Careington POS network with a CI-4 fee schedule. If you're scratching your head, wondering what a CI-4 fee schedule is, you're not alone. We had to go to the Careington site and pull up a PDF of prices.

Here's what we found there. A preventative visit like cleaning (for an adult) would cost $55, while fillings would be somewhere between $84 and $92. How much would those cost out-of-pocket at your dentist's office? In our area, the average cost for the cleaning alone would easily be $100. So, for a family of 6, you could spend $600 for those cleanings, or pay the $200/year in Dental Save premiums and $330 for the cleanings. That saves you a total of $70, just on cleanings. You'll save more if you need fillings or more extensive procedures.

We found a few stray typos on the Dental Save site that made this service feel less experienced and professional than some of their competitors. ("Countinue whitout 50% off" and "Lear More" on a pop-up, for example. We also got a chuckle out of an image used on the Fee Schedules page that showed a charge for a "temporary feeling" instead of "filling")

On a positive note, the company has been in business for nearly 40 years and had an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review. Better yet, there were absolutely no complaints registered with the BBB regarding this dental care discount program. That's a big part of the reason behind our 3.5-star rating for this dental discount plan: despite the typos and the fact that they primarily offer Careington plans that can be purchased directly, this company has a good reputation for customer service.

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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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