Last week we discussed dental insurance, but a good look at supplementals wouldn’t be complete without taking a peak at how to get your eyeballs covered. Want discounts on contacts, lenses, and exams? Stick around.
How Vision Insurance Works
Let’s get one thing clear: vision insurance is worth it--if you need corrective vision materials like contacts or glasses. If neither you nor a member of your family needs corrective vision, then paying out-of-pocket for your yearly exam may be the best economic decision. However, vision insurance, like dental insurance, is also there for you when the unexpected (and expensive) happens. It’s all Murphy’s Law in the insurance world, and we’re here to help you navigate through it.
Vision Insurance vs. Health Insurance
An important distinction to make before we move on is what exactly is covered by vision insurance vs. what is covered by health insurance.
Health insurance will cover eye exams IF you need them for an underlying medical condition, such as cataracts and complications from diabetes/high blood pressure, etc. (1) Health insurance will also typically cover you for eye injuries and eye diseases. Eye specialists such as ophthalmologists (specialists in eye surgery) are normally covered by health insurance.
Vision insurance covers for your yearly eye exams and can provide lenses and contacts at a significantly reduced price. Eye specialists such as optometrists (vision testing specialists) and opticians (technicians that verify vision correction) can be covered through health or vision insurance, depending on the contract terms.
Regardless, a staggering 66% of Americans 18 and over report using glasses, contacts, or both--so the odds are good that if you don’t have some type of vision correction yet, you or somebody in your household have a pretty high chance of needing them in the future (2).
The Average Cost of Glasses and Contact Lenses
The average cost for vision insurance is modest: anywhere between $10 a month for basic coverage to $30 or $40 a month for larger families and/or premium benefits. Typical savings on contact lenses runs the gamut of around $150 for elective contacts, and sometimes up to 100% covered if they are considered “medically necessary.” Glasses “can cost just $8 or up to $600 for those without insurance. For name brands, prices can range between $50 and $1,000 or more. At an eye doctor's clinic, prices for eyeglasses will vary depending upon the frames, lenses and region of the country. The price for eyeglasses nationally is $196.” (4).
The important things to keep an eye out for are:
1. Is your preferred eye doctor in-network?
What About LASIK Surgery?
This question gets its own brief overview because it can be a little tricky.
LASIK surgery is the most common type of refractive surgery, used to fix near- and farsightedness and myopia. Effectively, it reshapes the cornea to enable light to enter in such as way as to allow for vision that can be 20/20 (or better).
As far as if it's covered by insurance...long story short, LASIK surgery usually ends up being classified as a cosmetic choice made by a customer. Since it isn’t medically necessary, it typically will not be covered by insurance--health, vision, or otherwise.
But during the quoting process, it’s always worth it to ask!
No Time Like the Present!
Well, quotes are free and time is short. If you’re interested in discounts on your corrective vision care (and want extra incentive to get your yearly eye exam), inquire today!