What Is Vision Care Insurance?

Vision care insurance will often cover routine eye health expenses such as eye exams, contact lens fittings, contact lenses, and eyeglass lenses and frames. Some plans may even provide a discount on LASIK procedures and other corrective surgeries.

A vision care plan may cover the cost of these items in total, up to a preset limit, or it may require the policyholder to pay a flat fee or percentage fee to share the expense with the insurer.

Key Takeaways

  • Vision care insurance usually covers preventative and routine eye care.
  • This eye care insurance is often a value add-on to larger insurance packages.
  • If you don't need vision care, it may not be worth it.
  • Vision care insurance may cover contact lenses and eyeglasses frames and lenses, making them more affordable for purchase.
  • Employers, unions, government plans, and even associations may provide some form of vision insurance.

Understanding Vision Care Insurance

Vision care insurance tends to be inexpensive compared to other types of insurance because many of the covered costs are predictable and expensive claims are rare. It resembles a discount plan more closely than an actual insurance plan because insurance protects against unforeseen and potentially catastrophic expenses.

It's essential you fully understand each plan's costs and the benefits they come with when you buy vision care insurance. Take a look at the price for one year of vision insurance compared with the cost of an eye exam. Although vision care insurance is inexpensive, it may not be a good deal for the consumer if the premiums and co-payments under the plan are higher than paying for vision care expenses out of pocket.

Special Considerations

Eye diseases, which are unpredictable and expensive to treat, will generally be covered by health insurance, not vision care insurance. Vision care coverage through many employer-sponsored health plans generally works a little differently than other health insurance or major medical insurance plans.

Because eye exams can detect hidden medical problems, even those with perfect vision should get one from time to time. As someone ages, they'll need more frequent vision exams, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with poor vision, a family history of eye disease, or a condition that increases the risk of eye disease like diabetes should have more frequent exams. If routine exams are all that will be needed, then the cost of insurance probably isn't worth it.

Before purchasing eye care insurance, think about what you need in regard to your health, and what offerings that insurance provides that you will use, such as discounted lenses.

Availability of Vision Care Insurance

Vision care insurance can often be obtained through your employer, association union, or government programs like Medicare or Medicaid. Most vision insurance providers also offer policies that you can purchase individually.

Vision insurance is often a value-added benefit linked to indemnity health insurance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) contracted with managed vision care networks to provide eye care services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Vision Insurance

There are benefits and limitations to vision insurance, and whether you should get it or not may depend on how badly you need it. If you have a history of eye-related medical needs, it may be worth the extra money to purchase vision insurance. If you only go to the eye doctor once a year for routine check-ups, it might not be necessary for you to buy an expensive eye care insurance plan.

Overall, vision care insurance isn't expensive, and it may save you money over time, especially if you have recurring eye care troubles or regularly purchase corrective lenses. If you end up needing eye surgery, it can help with the cost as well.

Cons of vision insurance are that it may not necessarily cover the type of service you need or will not allow you to travel out of its network for treatment. In addition, if there is a specific brand of lenses you like using, or specialized lenses or frames, it may offer a limited line of brands.

Pros
  • These can often be easily added onto insurance plans.

  • You can also buy a plan individually.

  • Premiums are not expensive.

  • The plans offset the cost of corrective lenses.

Cons
  • You may not be able to use out-of-network services.

  • If you don't need regular eye care, it may not be worth the money.

  • Some vision care insurance limits what you can purchase in terms of eye wear.

The Bottom Line

Vision care insurance may be helpful to cover routine eye care such as exams, fittings and help pay for corrective lenses. Some plans offer more benefits than others, but if you don't have a reason to see an eye doctor more than a regular check-up, it might not be worth buying a plan, even if it is affordable.

How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?

It depends on your plan but you may pay as little as $5 a month for a basic plan from your employer or buying a plan directly from a provider. For example, VSP Vision insurance offers a $13 a month premium.

Is Vision Insurance Separate From Health Insurance?

Vision insurance is usually sold as an add-on to health insurance from your employer or you can purchase it separately.

What Insurance Does Walmart Vision Center Take?

Walmart's vision center takes its own Walmart Vision Plan and it is an out-of-network provider for many vision plans, including Cole Managed Vision, Eye Med, and Davis Vision, In order to find out if Walmart Vision Center takes your insurance, you must visit its website because it varies by state and location.

Who Takes Davis Vision Insurance?

Davis vision insurance offers a wide range of both in-network and out-of-network providers including Walmart, Visionworks. Costco, For Eyes, and Sam's Club.

Who Takes VSP Vision Insurance?

The VSP website claims to have thousands of in-network optometrists and ophthalmologists located all over the United States, including vision care centers in Costco stores.

What Vision Insurance Does Costco Take?

Costco's website states it "now accepts most vision insurance plans" for its vision care services.