About 75 percent of Americans need vision correction, whether through glasses, contacts, or surgery. As a result, vision insurance is one of the most popular health and wellness plans, as it reduces the cost of regular eye exams, glasses, and contacts. In addition, some vision insurance plans offer more benefits, with discounts on LASIK surgery and some other elective vision correction treatments.
Vision Insurance – What’s Right for You?
A regular eye exam is as essential to maintaining your health as undergoing a yearly physical. An eye exam can identify developing eye health conditions in the initial stages when treatments can be far more effective. If you or your loved ones wear glasses or contacts, the prescription typically changes over time, and a yearly exam is critical to maintaining healthy, sharp vision.
How Does Vision Insurance Work?
Vision insurance may be part of your benefits package or purchased separately by an individual. Vision insurance differs from a typical health insurance plan, which covers the cost of medical treatments with copays, or covers the entire cost of care when the deductible is met.
Rather than covering the entire cost of your eye care, vision insurance works as an ongoing discount card to significantly reduce the cost of eye exams, eyeglasses, and contacts, with some plans offering discounts on the cost of LASIK surgery. However, you may be required to use an in-network provider to take advantage of the discounts.
What Does Vision Insurance Include?
Vision insurance plans include benefits that can help you in detecting eye disease or serious vision problems early, and make maintaining good eyesight a bit more affordable. This includes costs related to contacts, eyeglasses, and annual eye exams. Plus, many plans offer discounts for LASIK or PRK procedures — health insurance doesn’t necessarily cover it because it isn’t considered medically necessary.
Visits with in-network doctors may require pre-authorization before your exam, whereas for out-of-network ones you may need to pay upfront then submit receipts for reimbursement, assuming your provider covers it.
What Does Vision Insurance Exclude?
Vision insurance plans don’t cover the treatment of eye diseases — that’s usually covered under your regular health insurance plan. In other words, health insurance typically covers eye care when it’s related to a medical condition. Let’s say you have eye complications from diabetes, diagnosed high blood pressure, or cataracts, then your health insurance may cover the eye care, whereas vision insurance may take care of the eye exam if your medical insurance doesn’t.
Benefits of Vision Insurance Coverage
The common benefits of vision insurance include but are not limited to the followings:
- Annual routine eye exam
- Eyeglass frames/lenses and contacts
- Pre-determined discounts on all vision-related expenses
- Balance paid by plan with required copayment
- Eye care for major medical problems
What is the Cost of Vision Insurance?
Vision insurance is typically affordable. If you, your spouse, or your children wear glasses, vision insurance helps reduce the cost of regular eye exams, glasses, and contacts. Health insurance covers the cost of treating eye injuries and other serious medical problems, but without vision insurance, you will pay the total price for eye exams and the purchase of new glasses, lenses, frames, and contacts. In addition, some health insurance companies offer “bundled” health insurance plans that include vision, dental, and health insurance.
To review the options for vision insurance, get help from a local insurance agent who can explain the benefits of each plan and help you choose the best plan for your family and your budget.