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Vision insurance is not typically not included in your health insurance plan and can include benefits such as preventive eye exams and ophthalmologist visits, prescription eyewear, and contact lenses. Vision insurance also may give you discounts on elective vision corrective surgery.
The best vision insurance companies have a variety of available plans, are easy to sign up for, have competitive premium costs, and have high financial strength ratings.
Best Overall : VSP Vision Care
VSP is our top pick because it offers multiple plans with flexible coverage and costs, and because it is the largest provider of vision insurance available to most people.
Largest vision insurer in the U.S.
Monthly premiums start at $13
No waiting period
Helpful online plan wizard
Complaints of slow reimbursements
Not combinable with Medicaid plans
Vision Service Plan (VSP) was founded by a group of optometrists in 1955 and has steadily grown to more than 88 million members and 40,000 network doctors worldwide. VSP currently has thousands of private practice doctors and more than 700 Visionworks locations in the United States.
VSP offers four types of plans: Standard, EasyOptions, Enhanced, and EyewearOnly120. For the Standard plan, monthly premiums start around $13 with an eye exam copay of $15, covering up to $150 in new frames. While it does not cover LASIK, you can receive a coupon for an average of $1,000 off of your services.
There are options for upgrades to your lenses, such as scratch-resistant and anti-glare coatings, progressive lenses, and UV protection. VSP also provides savings and resources for those with diabetes since those with the health condition often also have declining vision abilities.
One drawback for those currently on Medicaid is that VSP's benefits cannot be combined with it. That means if you wanted to use VSP's $150 credit to pay for frames and still had $50 remaining to pay, you couldn’t use a Medicaid credit to pay the remainder. You’d have to pay out-of-pocket.
Best for Plan Options : EyeMed
EyeMed is the best vision insurance company for plan options because it offers multiple plans with things like allowances for frames and no waiting periods.
Wide network of providers
Premiums start at $5 a month.
No waiting period
Baseline plan only gives a discount on frames
Limited options for out-of-network care
EyeMed was founded in Cincinnati in 1988 and has more than 62 million members. Its plans work with major providers such as Pearle Vision, LensCrafters, and Target Optical.
EyeMed maintains three tiers of insurance—the more you pay in premiums, the larger the discount you receive on frames and lenses. Each plan covers the eye exam and provides great discounts on glasses and contacts, plus there is no waiting period.
The most basic plan, EyeMed Healthy, starting at $5 per month, only provides a discount on glasses and contacts in the form of a coupon. The higher-priced plans, EyeMed Bold and EyeMed Bright, with costs from $17.50 to $30 a month, respectively, offer better benefits. These plans give you an allowance for frames and lenses rather than a coupon. With a copay, you also cover the cost of lens improvements such as UV protection.
When you visit one of EyeMed's more than 100,000 in-network providers, you can receive a 15% off coupon for LASIK, 20% off of the remaining balance of frames over $150, and 40% off additional pairs of glasses.
Most Comprehensive Coverage : Davis Vision
Davis Vision considers your eye health as part of a bigger wellness picture that includes hearing aids and diabetic programs not always covered by medical insurance.
Wellness and diabetic outreach program; hearing aid discounts
Four of five major eyecare retailers in network
Discounts on LASIK
Poor out-of-network coverage
Limited LASIK coverage
Davis Vision began as a New York-based optical laboratory in 1917. The modern-day Davis Vision was incorporated in 1964. Four out of five major eyecare retailers are part of the Davis Vision network, and you can get in-network exams and eyewear in locations across the country. It has its own collection of glasses, with pairs costing as little as $40 with a breakage warranty included. Individual plans are sold through Superior Vision. Both Davis Vision and Superior Vision are part of Versant Health.
There are two types of plans offered by Davis Vision: Standard and Premier. The Essential plan starts at just $12.50 a month with $15 eye exams, lenses covered in full, and an allowance on frames up to $125. The Classic plan costs approximately $20.62 a month and gives you a $150 allowance on frames. The Premier plan is $22.50 a month and provides a $200 allowance on frames.
Davis Vision’s coverage also offers discounts on LASIK and other health-related services. It provides discounts on hearing aids, a wellness program called Fit Fwd, and has a diabetic outreach program. This company recognizes the gaps in traditional health insurance and has established programs to fill them.
Best for Lasik Surgery : UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare offers 40% discounted LASIK procedures through QualSight LASIK that offers more than 900 correction locations.
Available in 50 states and D.C.
Coupon for 40% off LASIK
Coverage options vary from state to state
You pay more for out-of-network coverage
In 2003, UnitedHealthcare acquired Golden Rule Insurance (started in 1940), making it one of the largest healthcare providers in the country with more than 75 years of experience servicing more than 46 million people. It has 1.3 million physicians in its network. The company has an AM Best Financial Rating of an A, demonstrating financial solvency and strength.
UnitedHealthcare vision coverage offers two comprehensive plans: Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is for people who wear either glasses or contacts, while Plan B covers those who wear both glasses and contacts. Premiums start at $10.40 a month for Plan A and $14.30 for Plan B, with neither plan requiring a waiting period. Both plans have $10 copays for vision exams, $10 copays for lenses, an allowance of $150 for in-network frames, and a $0 copay for contact lenses.
There are more than 80,000 providers across UnitedHealthcare's networks in 44 states and the District of Columbia, plus their networks of partner providers. Laser eye surgery (LASIK) is discounted up to 40% through providers through QualSight LASIK. And if you combine your vision insurance coverage with other UnitedHealthcare coverage, such as health or dental, your total premiums will decrease.
Best for Contact Lens Users : Humana
Humana is ideal for users who wear contact lenses because it has multiple plans with contact lens allowances and no annual deductibles.
Allowance for contact lenses
No annual deductibles with Vision PPO
Only $15 copay on annual vision exam for glasses
High out-of-network costs
Initiation fee of $35
No cancellations for 12 months
Humana was founded in 1961 in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the largest owner and operator of hospitals in the country. Humana even has a foundation that provides disaster relief to areas as well as support for health organizations based in Louisville.
Customers choose between three vision plan options with Humana: HumanaOne Vision Focus Plan, Humana Vision PPO and a materials only. Coverage costs and options vary from state to state, with most plans starting between $13 and $16 per month. There is a $35 initiation fee charged your first month when you sign up, but the fee is waived if you bundle with dental insurance.
Humana plans include an annual vision exam with a copay of $10 to $15. The HumanaOne Vision Focus Plan gives you $115 to spend on contacts. The Humana Vision PPO gives you $150 for contacts and access to an annual $40 contact lens fitting appointment. Both plans state that you'll never pay more than $40 for an annual eye exam, and if you choose the Vision PPO, you won’t even have an annual deductible.
Vision insurance can help offset the cost of vision-related expenses not covered by your regular health insurance. While all of the companies on our list have positive attributes from large provider networks to multiple plan options and discount programs, we recommend checking out VSP Vision Care first. Not only is it the largest vision insurer in the country, but it also offers flexible coverage and varying costs for a variety of budgets. Additionally, it was founded by a group of optometrists so the company is well-versed in the vision industry.
Compare the Best Vision Insurance Companies
|Company||Plans (#)||Coverage Limit||Waiting Period||Providers In-Network (#)|
|VSP Vision Care
Best for Plan Options
Most Comprehensive Coverage
|3||Varies||Contact for details||Nationwide|
Best for Lasik Surgery
Best for Contact Lens Users
|3||Varies||Contact for details||Contact for details|
Guide to Choosing the Best Vision Insurance Company
How Much Vision Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
The amount of vision insurance coverage you need varies greatly. When trying to figure it out, assess your vision needs. If you need cataract surgery or want laser surgery you may need more coverage than someone who wants only a yearly eye exam. Think about things like if you need glasses, wear contacts, and if your prescriptions frequently change. Speak to your doctor about your needs and then discuss them with the insurance provider so everyone is on the same page.
Compare Vision Insurance Companies
As is the case with all types of insurance, it’s recommended to shop around and compare providers. Compare savings on plans that offer a percentage discount on services and ones that cap amounts per service or visit. You will want to compare vision insurance companies on several factors including:
- Network providers: Research where the in-network providers are and choose a company with options in your area.
- Type of coverage: Be familiar with what is covered, such as glasses, contacts, and eye exams. Some companies may offer full coverage while others may provide only a discount, and they may only offer the option for the services once per year while others may be more flexible.
- Exclusions: Know what the vision insurance policy doesn’t include. You don’t want to sign up for a plan and not get the services you need. For example, a plan may not include coverage for contact lenses, so if you wear contacts, you’ll want to choose a different provider.
- Price limits: Are there price limits or are certain brands excluded in the plan? Know how much allowance you will have to spend on glasses and contacts versus out-of-pocket costs. You also should know what the maximum coverage amounts are and if they apply yearly or lifetime.
Using Your Vision Insurance Benefits
If you purchase vision insurance, you want to get the most out of it. You want to use your benefits. Stay in touch with the company and see if they offer any discounts or extra perks. Go to your preventive care appointments and follow your doctor’s recommendations. By getting the most out of your vision insurance benefits you will save money in the long run.
What Is Vision Insurance?
Vision insurance is used to help reduce the costs of glasses, contacts, and eye exams. This supplemental insurance also can help offset the costs of LASIK. Some people may opt for a vision discount plan, which can be purchased separately from insurance that provides discounts to providers rather than allowances with co-pays.
Plans vary, which means consumers need to read the coverage items before they purchase. While some plans pay for vision exams fully, others require a copay. Similarly, the coverage for glasses, lenses, and contacts varies among providers and plans.
What Does Vision Insurance Typically Include?
Vision insurance typically includes coverage for annual exams, lenses, frames, and contacts. Providers may offer higher-tier plans that also include appointments for contact fittings, lens protection, and LASIK surgery. Plans may cover certain brands or have price limits for frames and contacts.
What Does Vision Insurance Typically Exclude?
Many companies will not fully cover what they consider elective surgery, such as LASIK. Some insurance plans offer coupons to offset the costs. Other medically necessary eye surgeries and treatments for conditions like glaucoma and cataracts will be covered only by your health insurance.
Often, vision insurance covers only specific brands or price ranges when it comes to glasses or contacts. It's important to understand what is covered so you aren't disappointed and forced to change styles or brands. Other exclusions vary, depending on the cost and extensiveness of the plan. For example, some cheaper plans may cover only glasses and not contacts.
What Are the Expected Costs of Vision Insurance?
You should expect to pay between $5 and $15 per person per month for vision insurance. This is in addition to copays or deductibles, which vary based on which services you’re trying to get and the state where you live. Note that some companies charge an enrollment fee as well. If you’re applying for vision insurance through your employer, you may be able to enroll only once a year.
Is Paying for Vision Insurance Worth It?
The value of vision insurance is different for each person. Consider how often you see an eye doctor and whether or not your prescriptions change frequently to help you decide if vision insurance is worth it for you. VSP, our top choice, states that the average eye exam without insurance can cost around $152, with the average pair of glasses with lenses in the $200 to $300 range.
Assume your average annual costs are one exam and a mid-range pair of glasses costing $200; your total annual out-of-pocket cost would be $352. If you paid $12 a month for 12 months, with a paid annual vision exam and $150 credit for glasses, you'd end up paying a total of $194 and would save $158. If your vision is fine and you just want a check-up every few years, vision insurance may not be worth it for you.
We researched and reviewed more than a dozen vision insurance companies based on factors including the number of available plans, coverage options, and coverage limits. In addition, we looked at policy costs, deductibles, and network sizes along with industry reputation and years in business.