It’s no surprise that vision insurance is misunderstood by many people. Depending on the reason for the doctor’s visit—a routine examination or an eye injury—it’s not always clear which doctor to visit. At its most basic level, vision insurance helps cover the cost of routine eye exams, contact lenses and glasses. Some vision plans also pay for corrective procedures such as laser eye surgery. Additionally, most plans include one pair of glasses or contacts a year.
Which Insurance Policy Covers an Eye Injury or Disease?
Routine vision exams to optometrists or general ophthalmologists may produce final diagnoses such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. During these exams, however, the optometrist or general ophthalmologist might detect a problem related to diabetes or some other disease. Meanwhile, medical eye exams may produce diagnoses such as conjunctivitis, usually called pink eye, a common occurrence among children. Most insurance companies focus on the reason for your visit, so your health insurance policy likely would not cover a routine eye exam but a follow-up visit with your doctor because of a problem detected during a routine eye exam might very well be covered. Plus, your health insurance probably would cover a doctor’s visit for an eye disease or eye injury.
What Does Vision Insurance Cover?
Vision insurance usually covers a percentage of the following basic services:
- Yearly eye examination
- Eyeglass lenses
- Eyeglass frames
- Contact lenses
- LASIK and PRK vision correction procedures at a discounted rate
Your specific vision care plan may have a limit on how often it will pay for lenses and frames, with many plans covering visits annually or every two years.
Who Provides Vision Care Services?
Frequently, plans for vision insurance, including those you buy or are provided by your employer, contract with eye-care professionals. In some plans, you use a certain eye-care provider and receive a discount on the services offered. Most plans purchased from a vision insurance company, however, are PPOs (preferred provider organizations), meaning your eye care is managed by a network of eye-care providers. In a PPO, you also can use out-of-network eye-care providers but must pay a greater share of the cost.
Typically, eye-care offices and networks include optometrists and general ophthalmologists. Some networks may also include ophthalmologists, who perform refractive surgery and provide LASIK or other vision-correction procedures.
Do I Need Vision Insurance?
If you or members of your family wear corrective lenses and need periodic eye exams and changes in your eye-lens prescription, it may be worthwhile to purchase vision-care insurance. If you do not wear or need glasses, you may be able to get a periodic eye exam through your regular health insurance plan.
BeneFinder’s agents can help you save money and time in finding the best vision insurance plan for you and your family.
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