Some 71% of the population wears either glasses and 22% wear contacts to help them see better. Without insurance, you are left to pay the entire amount out-of-pocket. Costs include visits and corrective devices—and for a growing number of people, the cost of a pair of glasses is simply unaffordable.
Your costs decrease with insurance. For those who need corrective lenses, the savings received from having insurance offsets the cost of insurance, often paying for itself and then some. Even if you’ve never worn glasses, you may start to see a decrease of vision abilities once you hit your 40s and suddenly need corrective lenses.
If you’re considering getting a new vision plan, you want one that pays for the types of services that you need. We found the best vision insurance plans by considering the availability of the plans, premium costs, coverage, caps, customer reviews, and more.
The 5 Best Vision Insurance Companies of 2021
Best Overall: VSP Vision Care
Largest vision insurer in the U.S.
Monthly premiums start at $13
Occasional complaints of reimbursement being slow
Not combinable with Medicaid plans
VSP Vision Care was founded by a group of optometrists in 1955. It currently has over 88 million members and more than 40,000 network doctors, making it the largest vision insurer in the United States. This carrier has received an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
VSP Vision offers two types of plans: Standard and EasyOptions. For the Standard plan, monthly premiums start at just $13.86 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 15% off of your services.
There are options for upgrades to your lenses, such as scratch-resistant and anti-glare coatings, progressive lenses, and UV protectionVSP Vision 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 Vision Care’s benefits cannot be combined with it. That means if you wanted to use VSP Vision’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.
Why We Chose It: VSP Vision is our top pick because there are multiple plans with flexible coverage and costs, and because it is the largest provider of vision insurance to the most people.
Best for Plan Options: EyeMed
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 over 60 million members. EyeMed plans work with major providers such as Pearle Vision, LensCrafters, and Target Optical and maintains an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.
EyeMed maintains three tiers of insurance—the more you pay in premiums, the more you will receive as a discount on frames, lenses, and contacts. Their baseline plan EyeMed Healthy, starting at $5 per month, only provides a discount on frames 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. None of EyeMed's plans have a waiting period.
When you visit one of their over 44,000 providers, you can receive a 15% off coupon for LASIK, 20% off of the remaining balance of frames, and 40% off additional pairs of glasses.
Why We Chose It: EyeMed has three insurance options to help consumers decide which coverage is most important to them for the price.
Most Comprehensive Coverage: Davis Vision
Offers wellness program, diabetic outreach program, and hearing aid discounts
Four out of five major eyecare retailers are part of their network
Poor out-of-network coverage
No plans cover LASIK
Davis Vision began as a family retail optical business in 1917. The modern-day Davis Vision was incorporated in 1964 when founder Lawrence Davis opened an ophthalmic laboratory in New Hyde Park, New York. 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. The company received a C+ from the Better Business Bureau.
There are three types of plans offered by Davis Vision: essential, classic, and premiere. The standard plan starts at just $25.50 a month with $15 eye exams, lenses covered in full, and an allowance on frames up to $125. The classic plan costs approximately $40.32 a month and gives you a $150 allowance on frames. The premier plan is $44.13 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.
Why We Chose It: 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.
Best for Lasik Surgery: UnitedHealthcare
Available in 44 states
Coupon for 35% 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 over 75 years of experience servicing 27.8 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 only wear glasses or contacts, while Plan B covers those who wear glasses as well as contacts. Premiums start at $11.40 a month for Plan A 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 copy for contact lenses.
There are 80,000 providers across UnitedHealthcare's networks in 44 states. Laser eye surgery (LASIK) is discounted up to 35% through providers in the Laser Vision Network of America. And if you combine your vision insurance coverage with other UnitedHealthcare coverage, such as health or dental, your total premiums will decrease.
Why We Chose It: UnitedHealthcare offers 35% discounted LASIK procedures through the Laser Vision Network of America that offers more than 550 correction locations.
Best for Contact Lens Users: Humana
Multiple plans that give you an allowance to spend on contact lenses
No annual deductibles with the Vision PPO
Annual vision exam with $15 copay
High costs when going out-of-network
Lack of different plan options
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. Humana maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Customers choose between two vision plan options with Humana: HumanaOne Vision Focus Plan and Humana Vision PPO. Coverage costs 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—this 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 a $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.
Why We Chose It: Humana tailors policies with contacts in mind providing the most generous contact coverage, realizing that contacts are just as important for patients who use them regularly.
What Is Vision Insurance?
Vision insurance is used to help reduce the costs of glasses, contacts, and eye exams. This supplemental insurance can also 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. But some insurance plans offer coupons to offset the costs. Other medically necessary eye surgeries and treatments for conditions like glaucoma and cataracts will only be covered by your health insurance.
Often, vision insurance only covers 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 only cover 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 in which you live. Note that some companies charge an enrollment fee as well. If you’re applying for vision insurance through your employer, you may only be able to enroll 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.
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.
How We Chose the Best Vision Insurance Companies
We looked at companies that had a large national network for coverage. We also looked at the company’s ratings from companies like J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau to see if there were any negative legal actions or trends. We also considered the cost and coverage limits of each company's plans.
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Saydah, Sharon H., Robert B. Gerzoff, Jinan B. Saaddine, Xinzhi Zhang, and Mary Frances Cotch. “Eye Care Among US Adults at High Risk for Vision Loss in the United States in 2002 and 2017.” JAMA Ophthalmology 138, no. 5 (2020): 479.
American Optometric Association. "Adult Vision: 41 to 60 Years of Age." Accessed December 15, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. “Vision Service Plan.” Accessed December 14, 2020.
American Foundation for the Blind. "A Guide To Living With Diabetes and Vision Loss." Accessed December 14, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. “EyeMed Vision Care, LLC.” Accessed December 14, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. “Davis Vision (Guardian).” Accessed December 14, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Revises Outlooks to Positive for UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and Its UnitedHealthcare Subsidiaries." Accessed December 14, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. "Humana, Inc." Accessed December 14, 2020.
VSP Direct. "Is Vision Insurance Worth It?" Accessed December 14, 2020.