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Woman trying on her glasses she bought with vision insurance

Vision Insurance 101

Vision insurance isn’t a part of your standard health care plan. Having a solid vision package is a must for those with impaired eyesight. Others may not be completely sold on buying additional insurance. If you’re wondering if vision insurance is worth the extra cost, we’ve answered some common questions that might be on your mind.

What benefits are included in vision insurance?

Vision insurance takes care of routine optometrist visits and typically helps pay for the cost of prescription eyewear, like contacts, frames and lenses. Your plan may also provide financial assistance with corrective surgeries, such as LASIK. Medical eye conditions (such as infections and injuries) are covered by your standard health coverage. Like a regular health insurance plan, you may have to pay a deductible or pay a co-pay whenever you use your vision insurance.

When you are comparing insurance plans, pay close attention to what specific services each package offer. You may be persuaded to buy a cheaper plan. However, for a little extra, you could receive discounts on thinner, quality lenses that are scratch-resistant or have other protective coatings.

How do I buy vision insurance?

There's more than one way to enroll in a vision insurance plan. A vision package is typically added to your preexisting healthcare plan. For example, if you already have a standard health plan provided by your workplace, you can inquire about vision coverage, which may or may not be offered. Did you sign up for a qualified health plan from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace? If so, you will need to examine the details of your plan for specifics regarding adult vision coverage; pediatric vision care is covered by all qualified health plans.

Where can I use my insurance?

You might be thinking your vision insurance can be used anywhere. For the most part, that’s not the case. Certain providers may accept your insurance and offer their services at lower, discounted rates. Avoid visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist outside of your insurance network. Not only will you have to pay full price for your eye exam, but in order to seek some reimbursement, you’ll need to hold onto the bill for your insurance provider. Even then, your request for partial reimbursement will have to be evaluated.

I have perfect vision. Do I really need this?

You might consider buying insurance if your spouse has poor eyesight. Parents should strongly consider adding a vision insurance plan. Your child will be receiving a lot of information visually, and if he or she is developing nearsightedness, sitting in the front row will not be sufficient. Adding more people to a plan tends to lower the monthly premium than the individual cost. Have you had the same prescription for years? Compare your previous expenses to the costs you would receive with an insurance plan. If there is a minimal difference, then a vision plan may not be for you.