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Vision Insurance

The costs of eye exams and prescription eyewear can quickly add up, especially for families. Vision insurance is designed to help manage the costs associated with routine eye care.

What is vision insurance?

Vision insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance that is designed to reduce the costs associated with routine eye care services. While health insurance will cover financial costs related to eye injuries and disease, vision insurance is more of a wellness benefit used to assist with the cost of prescription eyewear and eye exams.

Typically, vision insurance plans provide specified dollar amounts for the purchase of eyeglasses and contact lenses and payments for eye exams. Some plans may even offer discounts on refractive surgery.

Vision insurance may be offered through an employer, association, school, or government program. Individuals who are self-employed can also purchase vision insurance on their own.

Types of vision insurance

Vision insurance is typically available in two forms: as a discount vision plan or a vision benefits package. Both of these plans can be custom designed to meet the needs of different employers and organizations.

Discount vision plans allow you to purchase eyewear and eye care services at a discounted rate. In return, you (or your employer) must pay an annual membership fee or premium.

Vision benefits packages provide payment for eyewear and eye care services up to a fixed dollar amount. In exchange, you pay an annual fee and a small co-payment whenever you visit the eye doctor.

What vision insurance typically covers

Vision insurance usually covers the following basic services: 

  • Annual eye exams 
  • Eyeglass lenses 
  • Eyeglass frames 
  • Contact lenses 
  • Discounted refractive surgery rates (LASIK, PRK, etc.)

To reduce costs, people with vision plans should stick to in-network eye care providers. Some vision plans will have limits on how often they will provide reimbursement for eyeglass lenses and frames. Always check your vision care plan before an appointment to see what services will be covered.

Supplemental payment options

Not everyone is eligible for group vision plans. For the self-employed and people with families, it may be worthwhile to look into supplemental policies that can be purchased individually through a vision insurance provider.