When it comes to regular checkups few people will add eye doctor to this list. At any stage of life – from childhood to senior years – having your eyes checked should be a regular routine.
Many people think their eyesight is just fine until they put their first pair of glasses: than they see the world clearly for the first time in years. Vision is essential medical need, but unfortunately is sometimes overlooked when it comes to choosing a health insurance provider.
Vision insurance may or may not be included in your employer health insurance plan or your private health insurance plan. Every insurance plan is different and some cover more and others coverless when it comes to vision insurance. Unfortunately, this part is often overlooked when making a choice which insurance plan to select getting only basic coverage. If that is your case you might consider purchasing additional vision insurance to your health insurance.
The additional vision insurance will help you keep your out of the pocket expenses at a minimum for things such as regular eye exams and expenses related to eyewear or LASIK procedures.
1. Benefits of Visual Insurance and Policy Options
An additional insurance will help you pay for expenses related to:
- early eye checkups
- contact lens examinations,
- corrective vision wear
- corrective eye surgery.
More and more vision insurance providers expand their coverage to their policy holders and their families for things like permanent vision correction surgeries and similar more expensive procedures. Every insurance provider has different options but as a general rule you will get the most of your insurance by choosing an eye care provider that is listed in your insurance company’s list of network providers.
Such network providers offer benefits and services at reduced rates to members of participating vision insurance plans.
It is important to note that many vision plans now offer flexible spending accounts (FSA) allowing you to use your pre-tax earnings deducted automatically from your salary to help pay for your vision-related expenses. Check with your tax consultant in advance to see if this option is of interest for you as the money deposited onto such an account will not necessarily roll over to the following year.
2. Frequent exclusions
Just like with any type of your insurance, the vision insurance has a number of exclusion. Read your insurance policy carefully to know what it does not cover. These exclusions will vary based on your insurance, but the most common ones are:
- Contact lens examination
- Eye exams during a hospital stay
- LASIK and similar corrective vision procedures
- Light sensitive lenses
- Eyeglass tinting
- Replacement of lost or stolen prescription lenses or frames
- Vision therapy
If your insurance does not cover these, you might need to pay for them out of your own pocket. That said, there are always options to include these at an additional cost. Check with your insurance provider about the possibilities
3. Vision Discount plans
A vision discount plan is a plan that offers a flat rate discount on vision procedures, meaning it gives discounts for certain surgical procedures, routine eye examinations, eyewear and more. After the discount has been applied, you need to cover the rest of the costs. The main advantage of a vision discount plan over a vision insurance is that the monthly premium is usually lower making it a great option for families on a budget.
4. Is it cheaper not to have an insurance?
Compared to dental or other types of insurance, vision insurance is relatively inexpensive. The cost for vision insurance will vary depending on the state you’re in, but the average cost of the vision insurance is around $15 per month. Having a vision insurance plan usually means you have lower co-payments, deductibles and broader benefits. It is especially interesting if you wear glasses or lenses but make an appointment with your representative to see what is best for you.
5. Getting the Most of Your Insurance
To get the most value out of your vision insurance you need to understand the benefits it provides, what it is that it does not cover and the probability of you needing those services as well as how broad the network of participating eye doctors is. If you subscribe to vision insurance as a part of your traditional health insurance plan, certain eye diseases as well as unexpected eye damage surgeries will not need to be charged to your vision insurance but to your health insurance. Also, if you have money deposited to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), make sure to use that money on eye care before it expires.