You only get one set of eyes. That’s why vision insurance is so important. Vision insurance helps you pay for regular eye exams, which can help detect and treat a variety of eye problems. Several serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration provide no early warning signs or symptoms and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. Many people don’t realize that eye exams also can help detect health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and even high blood pressure.
Some qualified health plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace include vision coverage. That makes it easy for you because your major medical and vision insurance are combined in one monthly premium. But you don’t need to have a Marketplace plan, or any other plan, to get vision insurance. And 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.
Annual eye exams, eyeglasses (including frames and lenses) and contact lenses are frequently covered by vision insurance plans. Typically, these services are covered for each plan member once every 12 or 24 months, depending on the vision plan provider and policy. Some plans also help cover the cost of treating an eye disease, eye surgery or laser eye-correction surgery.
Vision plans come in three basic types: Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Indemnity.
PPOs are one of the most popular types of vision insurance plans. With a PPO, the plan provides a network of vision care providers who, under contract, deliver vision services to plan members at set prices. If you have a PPO and select a vision care provider who is outside the network of providers, you’ll likely pay a higher cost.
An HMO is similar to a PPO, but with some key differences. With an HMO, the plan provides a group of vision care providers, who, under contract, deliver vision services to plan members at discounted rates. If you have an HMO and you see a vision care provider who is outside the network, you typically will not receive any discount at all.
An Indemnity plan allows members to see any provider they like. With an Indemnity plan, members are free to choose their provider, with the plan paying a pre-specified amount and the plan member paying the balance.
Studies show that consumers with some type of vision plan are more likely to get regular eye exams and detect eye problems at early stages. Some people don’t realize that even though their eyes feel healthy, they may be developing a serious eye condition. Those with a family history of health problems such as diabetes or glaucoma could benefit from vision exams more often, especially those who are 50 or older.
Even though eye exams are so important, it’s estimated that 23 million American adults have never had one! Millions of others don’t have them as frequently as they should. Many people who could see better with glasses or contacts put them off due to the cost of an eye exam and the cost of purchasing glasses or contacts. Vision insurance can make both more affordable. Don’t think you can fit vision coverage into your budget? You owe it to yourself to call us. Vision insurance is likely much more affordable than you think!