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How Vision Insurance Works

Many people may be unfamiliar with how vision insurance can help lower the cost of caring for the health of their eyes. If you wear corrective lenses, vision insurance can make purchasing them and getting checkups more affordable than if you choose to pay out of pocket.

How Does It Work?

If your employer offers it, you can sign up for a group vision insurance plan; the premium will likely be lower and deducted from each of your paychecks. If not, you can sign up for an individual plan and send your payments directly to the vision insurance company. Once you’re covered, you will have access to benefits such as discounted eyeglasses, contacts, and routine optical exams.

Which Doctors Can I See?

Some vision insurance plans require that you see in-network doctors, meaning they are on a list of approved providers. Other plans will allow you to see any doctor who is an accredited optometrist or opthamologist. If you already have an eye doctor whom you see regularly, make sure you confirm whether or not their services will be covered under the insurance plan you are considering.

What’s Covered

Most basic vision insurance plans will offer discounts on eyeglasses, contact lenses, and vision exams. These work less like standard health insurance and more like discount plans. Often, there will be an allowance per year for eyeglasses and contact lenses (for example, the insurance plan will cover up to $130 for eyeglasses, and anything beyond that you will be responsible for).

More Comprehensive Plans

Some other plans cover more than just routine exams and corrective lenses. These more expensive plans also help to cover the cost of surgeries and managing eye-related diseases such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Luckily, a preexisting condition does not make it terribly difficult to sign up for a vision insurance plan.

Is Vision Insurance Right for You?

If you wear eyeglasses or contacts and regularly need to purchase them, a vision insurance plan might end up saving you money in the long run. If you do not currently wear corrective lenses, you might be better off just paying out of pocket for your annual eye exam. If you’re considering a plan, make sure you calculate how much you will spend with and without the coverage to ensure you make the most sensible choice.

Updated on April 1, 2020

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