Vision insurance plans work a little differently than health insurance plans, as they don’t often have co-insurance or different levels of coverage. The amount of coverage can vary depending on your policy, so understanding your plan will help you get the most out of it and help protect your eyesight. If you’re asking, “What does my vision insurance cover?” you’ve come to the right place.
“Vision plans are essential because of the fact that your prescription continually changes and you should be updating your glasses regularly,” said Dr. Chris Day, an optometrist. “Vision plans, as a rule, don’t cover everything, but they sure help.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Regular Eye Exams
Vision insurance plans usually cover one eye exam per year, although some will cover one every two years. This exam will usually consist of a vision check, an eye pressure measurement and other health screenings.
“It’s important to have regular eye exams to ensure that not only are you seeing as best you possibly can, but to maintain the good health of your eyes,” Day said.
The eye changes shape naturally over time, and that affects your prescription. Day recommends a health check of your eyes at least once every two years, while the best standard of care is an annual exam, especially for people who wear contact lenses. Eye problems can accelerate quickly, so regular checkups are important for good eye health.
Coverage for your prescription lenses, whether glasses or contacts, is included in most vision insurance plans. Some plans cover up to a certain dollar amount, while others may cover a certain percentage of the cost. In some plans, you can use your entire benefit on multiple sets of lenses, so if you pick a pair of glasses and have benefit dollars left over, you can use that toward a backup pair. Plans vary on whether and how much they cover for specialty lenses such as safety glasses or features such as coatings for lenses, so be sure to research your options as you pick your frames and lenses.
Some vision plans will provide discount options on laser surgery for your eyes, such as a dollar amount for an approved procedure or for using a specific provider. If your plan doesn’t include any coverage for vision-improvement surgery, check your health insurance to see if you quality for any courtesy discounts on the procedure.
Check Before You Buy
Each vision insurance company has its own policy, Day said, so the best move is to check with your insurer about your policy. Clarify the amount you have to spend and any deadlines that you have to keep in mind. Some policies offer their benefits over two years, while others provide annual coverage. Because of the wide variety of insurance policies that are available, it’s easy to find a vision insurance plan that fits your needs. Once you purchase one, you’ll be well on your way to good eye health and improved vision.
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