If you are looking to reduce the costs of regular eye care visits and prescription eyewear, then you may want to consider vision insurance. Vision insurance options consist of health and wellness plans that can assist you in paying for eye procedures. There are also vision plans that offer discounts for vision correction surgery.
Major medical insurance policies sometimes provide unlimited benefits once copays and deductibles are paid, but vision insurance plans act as discount plans that will provide you with additional benefits and discounts. These discounts and wellness benefits increase your savings towards vision care and correction. You can use vision insurance to pay for much of the cost of basic eyewear or to upgrade enhancements and eyewear to premium standards. These benefits can go towards progressive lenses, anti-reflective coating or photochromic lenses, making the items much more affordable.
While there are many advantages to obtaining a vision insurance plan, you should understand certain things about the costs of the plans and the benefits that they offer before purchasing. This is especially important because plans vary and what works for other insured customers may not work for you. It is in your best interest to consult your eye doctor to be advised of the benefits of the plan you are considering before signing. This will help you to be secure in your decision and ensure that there are no surprises after signing up. For more information on where you can purchase vision insurance, the different types of medical plans that already include vision benefits, what will be covered in the event of eye conditions and diseases and more, refer to the sections below.
Where to Purchase Vision Insurance
If you are receiving group vision insurance, then vision insurance is likely administered through your company, association or school district. Like dental coverage, vision is often available as an add-on to other health care coverage plans through your group plan for an additional fee.
You will not qualify for group vision insurance if you are self-employed. However, there are still ways to receive this type of insurance by yourself if you are not a part of a group. Another way that you could obtain group vision insurance is through participation in a government health care program like Medicare and Medicaid. While these are both considered group insurance programs, self-employed, unemployed and other qualifying applicants may enroll in coverage without association through a job, academic assembly or another connotation.
Most of the time, your vision insurance will be a value-added benefit that is linked to your indemnity health insurance, health maintenance organization or preferred provider organization. Your health insurance will usually be connected with vision care networks to allow eye care services.
Indemnity health insurance is one of the most traditional health insurance plans that people have. These plans grant you the privilege of choosing your own medical providers. Another type of insurance is health maintenance organization, also known as an HMO. An HMO is a group of health care providers, including doctors and laboratories that specialize in providing health care assistance to members of the plan at discounted rates. Under this insurance, members are able to obtain health care from the providers within the network. The last type of health insurance is the preferred provider organization or PPO. This network consists of health care professionals who provide services to members of the plan at fixed rates that are lower than the retail price. With PPOs, you have the option to seek services from out-of-network providers but at a higher rate.
After you buy vision insurance, you can begin using your benefits. You will gain access to health service providers within the plan’s network after signing up. Depending on the plan, these providers include optometrists and ophthalmologists. You will also have access to eyewear stores, optical laboratories and LASIK surgeons. Vision insurance can also cover routine and preventative eye services at a lower rate.
Available Vision Insurance Plans
You can expect vision plans to be available as vision benefits packages or discount vision plans. With a vision benefits package, you will typically receive eye care services for free and eyewear at a fixed rate. You will receive these benefits in exchange for an annual premium or membership fee, along with a small copay. Some vision benefits packages or discount plans will include a deductible. The deductible is a fixed dollar amount that you have to pay out-of-pocket prior to the insurance benefits being activated.
Plans can be designed to fit your needs. There are plans that suit school districts, unions, large and small companies and more. If you are using a vision plan, then the following products and services will be covered or discounted:
- Annual eye examinations
- Eyeglass frames
- Eyeglass lenses
- Lens coatings and enhancements
- Contact lenses
- Discounts for LASIK and photo refractive keratectomy (PRK)
After obtaining vision insurance, you should have no issues contacting your service providers, as many providers have services that are geared towards answering your questions and resolving any disputes regarding your eye care within the network.
Cost of Vision Insurance
Depending on how your program is designed and through which avenue you obtain coverage, your vision insurance costs will vary. For instance, vision coverage through job-based insurance health insurance plans is often less expensive than purchasing an individual plan directly from the provider. There is a possibility that your costs will also differ based on the state you live in. In most cases, a monthly premium is a small amount, usually less than $20.
Although you may have to pay for vision insurance coverage, the benefits of having insurance far outweigh the costs of the plans. You must keep in mind that in addition to a monthly premium, you may be subject to copayments or co-insurance payments for services and products. Without insurance, you could pay close to $200 for one visit to the eye doctor, while if you have insurance, then you would pay close to a $10-copayment for an eye exam.
Some plans also provide extra benefits that cover purchasing contact lenses. With these plans, you can purchase contacts in the place of your glasses or as an addition to your glasses. This is dependent on the plan you choose. When shopping through several different insurance plans, it is important to compare them and see which plan works best for you. Your insurance provider should cater to your eye care needs.
If you work for a company, then it is likely that you will pay a nominal fee for group vision insurance through payroll deductions. You may also pay through a flexible spending account. These accounts allow you to use your pre-tax dollars to buy selected health benefits, like vision insurance. If you are self-employed and looking to purchase insurance, then it is important to note that you will be billed monthly or annually if you buy an individual vision insurance plan.