People who wear glasses or who have visual disabilities understand the importance of vision insurance, but the same might not be said for those who don’t normally have any vision problems.
Those who are young and have excellent eyesight are not likely to have vision insurance high on their list of priorities. Only those with foresight understand the importance of taking preventative action to ensure good eye health for the long haul, especially if vision problems due to aging is common in the family. That is why it is so important to have vision insurance. In short, vision insurance is essential to save on the medical services and maintenance your eyes need over time.
Understand the Types of Vision Insurance
Of all the vision insurance providers available on the market, there are basically only two types of vision insurance options out there. Review the following for more information on the differences between a vision benefits package and a discount vision plan.
Vision Benefits Package – This type of vision insurance typically requires the beneficiary to pay an annual fee and a low copay per visit. In exchange, the enrollee gets an array of eyecare services for free or within a fixed price range as well as other items and services at a lower rate than individuals without vision insurance.
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Discount Vision Plan – This type of vision insurance entails having the enrollee pay an annual premium or membership fee. As such, the beneficiary gets eye health care services and eye wear for discounted rates. The main difference is that there are no “free” services under this type of plan. Individuals with great vision and little need for ongoing vision services may find this to be the cheaper, more efficient alternative.
What does vision insurance cover?
There are several services covered under vision insurance policies. Of course, it depends on the plan you have elected. Review the following for a sampling of the services offered through the majority of vision insurance plans.
Eye exam – Typical vision insurance plans cover the majority of a person’s yearly eye exam. For example, the cost of an eye exam without insurance may cost upwards of $200 or more. A good vision insurance plan may grant one free eye exam annually or charge an affordable copay. The copay may be as low as $10, depending on the stipulations of your plan.
Eyeglass frames – The cost of eyeglass frames can increase your eyecare expenses greatly if you opt for designer frames. Even non-designer high quality frames can sell for $150 to $200. With vision insurance, your copay can range between $25 and $50, saving you a great deal on the frames alone. Again, your copay is determined by the coverage stipulations of your plan. Some plans even offer one free pair of frames.
Eyeglass lenses – The lenses are the most important part of glasses, as they contain the proper formula to help you see adequately. Depending on the properties of the lenses you have opted for such as anti-reflective, photo chromatic or polycarbonate, they can run you a few hundred dollars. Vision insurance coverage can reduce the cost of lenses considerably and bring the cost down by 25 percent or more.
Contacts – Contacts may be an option in your plan, either as a replacement for glasses or in addition to them. Your plan dictates how much your lenses cost, if they are available.
Surgery – Some plans offer discounts on surgical procedures such as Lasik and PRK.
How to Apply for Vision Insurance
Applying for vision insurance can be quite easy if your employer offers it through an existing medical plan. In addition, you can apply for vision insurance through a school, Medicare or Medicaid. See the general process to apply for vision insurance below.
- See if your medical insurance provider has a vision insurance option. If so, you can elect to add it to your coverage plan.
- Otherwise, review the plans of several different vision insurers offering plans in your area by entering your zip code on their websites.
- Narrow down your list of potential carriers by costs, services and availability.
- Fill out an application.
Vision insurance plans are typically opt-in for health insurance plans, so make sure you check with your health insurance provider to see if this is an option before you start shopping around. When vision is an add-on service, it typically only adds a few more dollars per month to your plan.
Best Vision Insurance Companies in the U.S.
VSP Direct – Accepted by almost 40,000 vision care service providers, VSP provides discounts on Lasik procedures and offers its beneficiaries a new pair of glasses or contact lenses annually. The company offers savings on comprehensive eye care services such as eye exams and other regular maintenance.
Humana – Humana vision insurance boasts flat rates, yearly glasses frame replacements and discounted eyewear through framesdirect.com. It offers competitively low rates on eye exams and low copays. With a one-time enrollment fee, policyholders are given comprehensive vision care reasonable rates.
Davis Vision – Davis Vision has a comprehensive list of vision care services that fits the individual needs of its enrollees. The company features an exclusive rate for Transitions Signature lenses and features coverage for yearly eye exams, glasses, safety eye wear and vision wellness management.
UnitedHealthcare – With UnitedHealthcare vision insurance, beneficiaries do not have to endure waiting periods. Furthermore, coverage extends to both adults and children. The company offers discounts on out-of-network providers and LASIK surgery.
EyeBenefits – With EyeBenefits, enrollees do not pay a monthly fee. Instead, they pay an annual fee, and experience no limits on how many times they can access the vision care services within the year. In addition to paying a percentage toward routine eye care services, the company offers 20 percent discounts on glasses exams and 30 percent discounts on contact lens exams. In addition, LASIK surgery patients may get 50 percent off for the procedure.
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