Spirit Dental Review
Operated by Direct Benefits, Inc., Spirit Dental provides a one-stop service for all who require comprehensive dental plans. The philosophy of Spirit Dental as they put it, is that they are in it for the ‘little people of America’. They are looking to service consumers with plans that work for you at any stage of your life.
Why do Spirit Dental need to provide dental plans?
The relationship between the market and consumers in dental care has led to Spirit Dental being able to provide plans which look to fulfil demand. The reason for this is that the American Dental Association (ADA) reports 21% of adults have not visited their dentists in the last few years and the most common reason for this was the cost for dental services to be provided. In fact, the National Association of Dental Plans claims that 46.3 million adults over 65 years old in the USA have no dental coverage at all.
Children also suffer from dental health issues in the USA with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting 20% of children aged between five and eleven having at least one tooth exhibiting untreated tooth decay. In addition, 13% of children aged between 12 and 19 also show signs of exhibiting untreated tooth decay.
Spirit Dental’s Mission
Their mission is to provide comprehensive dental care at affordable rates to all citizens of the USA, from children, to adults and senior citizens. Currently, Spirit Dental has over 100,000 people enrolled in its plans. With both no waiting period and a guaranteed acceptance, Spirit Dental looks to provide care for all.
Although Spirit Dental does not offer specific dental insurance for children, children are covered if you choose to opt for a family insurance plan.
The plans Spirit Dental Offer
Spirit Dental has two plans as well as an opportunity to add vision insurance for which you can compare and see which suits your needs most. All you need to do is visit their website and request a free quote for your circumstances. Once you have selected your plan and signed up, it usually becomes effective on either the 1st or 15th of the month (you should receive your ID card after approximately ten business days). In the following you will see an overview of each plan:
Spirit Dental Network
This plan offered is regarded as the one with maximum savings and the most affordable. You must use an in-network dental provider and the way it works is that Spirit Dental pays the portion of expenses that are covered, directly to the dentist after you have paid your deductible. You can receive discounted rates with this plan courtesy of a network of 483,000 access points and 115,000 unique providers.
Spirit Dental Choice
Unlike with the Spirit Dental Network, you are not restricted to just an in-network provider. Instead, you can see any dentist you like and if, when choosing that dentist, it turns out to be an in-network dentist, then you can access additional savings.
The Spirit Dental Choice fee-for-service plan works differently in that how it works is that you pay for the entire bill and then after, you submit the expenses to Spirit Dental who then in turn will reimburse you for the amount of which your policy covers.
Reimbursements for dental services will vary depending on your providers but on average you tend to see cover from 50% – 100% for both usual and customary expenses.
Costs behind the plans
The amount you will pay for your plan is variable. It will depend on your choice of plan and your geographical location (both state and ZIP code).
There is also a one-off $100 deductible to be paid.
Below you will see an example of the costs for plans. The table covers plans for individuals and for families which you will see differ in price from state to state:
|Spirit Dental Network||Spirit Dental Choice|
|Beverly Hills, California||$46.23 per month||$147.94 per month||$63.60 per month||$203.52 per month|
|Atlanta, Georgia||n/a||n/a||$43.32 per month||$139.25 per month|
|Orlando, Florida||$31.63 per month||$101.22 per month||£43.52 per month||$139.25 per month|
|Cleveland, Ohio||$28.85 per month||$92.32 per month||$39.69 per month||$127.01 per month|
|Brooklyn, New York||$52.12 per month||$180.10 per month||n/a||n/a|
|Chicago, Illinois||$45.03 per month||$151.72 per month||$61.77 per month||$205.26 per month|
|Houston, Texas||$31.63 per month||$101.22 per month||$43.52 per month||$139.25 per month|
In the USA, consumers are also having problems with vision care, with 23.7 million adults in the USA suffering from vision loss.
The addition of vision care offers numerous features such as savings on eye wear, eye care and lenses. Both the Spirit Dental Network and Spirt Dental Choice plans allow you to include the vision plan for only $7 per month.
As well as the dental coverage plans on offer and the addition of vision care, there are also other additional benefits that Spirit offer:
- Wellness Card – This is a free prescription discount card.
- IHear – The Spirit free benefits program provides access to discounts on hearing aids as well as hearing consultations.
- PetRX – This is a card to help you make savings on prescriptions for your pets.
Why do consumers choose Spirit Dental?
At Spirit Dental, they are looking to acquire consumers for the long-term and this is apparent from the benefits on offer and reasons behind why people choose to have their plans with them. Some of these are:
- Loyalty is rewarded. Benefits attached to plans increase in coverage annually the longer you hold a plan with them.
- The annual maximum is up to $5,000 which is more than some competitors offer.
- Applications have guaranteed acceptance.
- Their plans cover a large breadth of dental services.
- In-network and out-of-network catered plans.
- Many plans have no waiting periods.
- Entitled to three cleanings per year.
- Implants and other major procedures are covered.
- Additional benefits such as the Wellness Card, IHear and PetRX.
- Dental provider tool online to help you find the best option.
- Spirit Dental take social responsibility worldwide. They do this by supporting Smile Network’s mission to provide palate and cleft lip procedures at no cost to children in developing countries.
Spirit Dental is not perfect though
Although Spirit Dental likes to reward its clients, it does not mean the plans they offer are right for everyone. See below the drawbacks with a Spirit Dental plan:
- The plans have a maximum of up to $5,000 which may not be suffice for your needs.
- You are required to pay a $100 deductible, although this is a one-off payment.
- There is a $25 non-refundable enrolment fee.
- Spirit Dental is available in all states except Washington.
- The primary policyholder must be aged 18 or older.
You can receive a full refund (minus costs from submitted claims and the $25 non-refundable enrolment fee) if you choose to do so within 30 days of sign up. However, if you cancel after the initial 30 days, you are not entitled to a refund and you are restricted from deciding to enrol again with a Spirit Dental plan for the following two years.
Spirt Dental’s insurance plans are underwritten by Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation.
Better Business BureauDirect Benefits, Inc. (the parent company of Spirit Dental) is rated ‘A+’.
Spirit Dental look to provide extensive coverage for everyone across most of the USA. Although costs are high per month, it does mean you are entitled to comprehensive packages where you can find the perfect one for you. The plans are designed to be flexible, allowing them to suit anyone’s needs and requirements. As well as the focused dental plans being of a very high standard, Spirit offer many additional benefits to entice consumers. The wide coverage and flexibility ensure picking plans becomes simpler for consumers as they can bring it all in to one place.