0
The number of people estimated to be visually impaired worldwide!
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Moderate and severe visual impairment worldwide!
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Blind worldwide!

80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured!

https://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/

One of our most important senses is our sense of sight. What helps protect the ability to clearly see our friends, family, and everything around us? Vision insurance, of course! Insurance has changed quite a bit since Obamacare (Affordable Care Act/ACA) has taken effect, and it’s important for you to know the details of coverage that could help save you money if something unplanned happened to your eyes. If you’re not sure what benefit vision insurance can be to you, what it covers, or how it even works, keep reading and we’ll go through it all.

Before you make the decision of whether or not vision insurance is protection that you want to invest in, it is important to understand the route that you’ll take to obtain the coverage, should you decide to purchase it.

How to Get Vision Insurance

Qualified Health Plan

Some qualified health plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov) include vision insurance as well. This makes it easy for you because your major medical and vision coverage is all lumped together in one monthly premium. However, just like many other insurance plans, enrollment must be done during the national Open Enrollment Period (November 1, 2015- January 31, 2016) or if you experience a qualifying life event, triggering a special enrollment period.3

Stand-alone Vision Insurance

Even though vision plans are not offered with all major medical plans, you may still want to protect your vision. Stand-alone plans allow you to keep your major medical insurance, but have a separate insurance policy for your vision. These plans are not available through the Health Insurance Marketplace, but can be purchased separately outside of the Marketplace. Unlike major medical plans, vision coverage can be purchased at any time of the year, even outside of the open enrollment period and without a qualifying life event.3

Types of Plans

Indemnity

Traditional health insurance. This type of plan allows a person to go to any medical provider that they would like. There are no network provisions, and consumers will be reimbursed for a specific amount of the services that were provided. The insurance provider pays for a pre-specified amount for the vision service, and the consumer would pay the remaining amount.4

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

This type of plan provides a network of vision care providers who, under contract, deliver vision services to consumers at set prices. Choosing to see a vision care provider who is outside of the network will likely result in paying higher costs out of pocket, because they are not required under contract to maintain set prices.4

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

With an HMO insurance plan, a group of vision care providers are under contract with the insurance provider to deliver services to plan members at discounted rates. Consumers holding this type of insurance plan are typically required to visit only healthcare providers from this specific group.4

What Does Vision Insurance Cover

Vision insurance coverage varies depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy chosen, but there are several services that most insurance policies either cover or help cover. Annual eye exams, eyeglass frames, eyeglass lenses, and contact lenses are frequently covered with insurance companies. Typically these services are covered once every 12 months, or once every 24 months, again depending on the provider and policy. Additionally, some plans will help cover the cost of eye surgeries, eye diseases, and laser eye-correction surgery.2

Why Vision Insurance is a Good Idea

It’s never a bad idea to protect yourself against life’s unexpected medical surprises, especially when it’s inexpensive to do so, if you see what we mean! People may believe that their eyes are just fine and they have no cause for vision concerns, but sometimes serious problems don’t make themselves known. According to the CDC, some serious eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration are big problems for your eyes that give no warning signs or symptoms, and can only be noticed through a comprehensive eye exam.1

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Citations

  1. Eye health tips. (2012, October 30). Retrieved from Center for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/eye_health_tips.htm
  2. Fontinelle, A. (n.d.). Vision care insurance: Will you see a benefit? Retrieved September 1, 2015, from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/11/vision-care-insurance.asp
  3. Vision or vision coverage. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2015, from HealthCare.gov website: https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/vision-or-vision-coverage/
  4. Vessel, M., & Heiting, G., OD. (2015, June 24). What is vision insurance? Retrieved September 1, 2015, from https://www.allaboutvision.com/vision-insurance/what-is-it.htm