Choosing the best vision insurance can be a tough decision. Should you buy a standalone plan from a provider or get coverage with your healthcare plan? Use our guide to get the answer and find out more.
The Best Vision Insurance Providers:
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that Marketplace policies cover your children up to the age of 19 for vision benefits.
- Your health insurance plan may not cover routine eye exams or glasses even if it offers vision coverage.
- Vision plans are typically an affordable way to save on vision costs.
What is Vision Insurance?
Visions insurance is a contractual agreement between you and a provider. Your insurer will help pay for vision-related expenses in exchange for a monthly premium payment.
Vision insurance helps pay for the costs of visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist for routine eye care. And vision insurance may offer coverage for your eyeglasses or contacts. Some plans offers discounts for things like LASIK.
How Vision Insurance Works
Without insurance, you can expect a routine eye exam to cost you anywhere from $50 to $250. The cost of an exam depends on the following:
- Whether you visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
- If you visit a chain vision center or an independent doctor.
- Tests you need that fall outside of traditional exams.
- If you choose contacts, the exam and cost differ from a routine exam.
Keep in mind that the rate above is only for the exam.
Frames and lenses can run into hundreds of dollars. The national average is around $150 for frames and $90 for single vision lenses. That does not include extras like progressive lenses, anti-reflective coating, or polycarbonate lenses to make the lenses lighter.
Not having vision coverage can be costly. A single pair of glasses can be hundreds of dollars -- and that's not including the eye exam fee or other expenses.
Where to Buy Vision Insurance
As with most insurance products, where you'll purchase coverage from depends on a number of factors unique to you. Largely, you can limit your search to the following 3 options:
- Through your employer as part of your group health plan or add-on
- Directly from a private provider of vision insurance
- In conduction with your Marketplace health plan through healthcare.gov as an additional benefit
Average Cost of Vision Insurance
Like health insurance, you'll pay an annual premium broken down into monthly payments for vision insurance is like health insurance some ways. In exchange for your premium, your vision policy offers certain coverage. Premium rates can vary depending on certain factors:
|Where you purchase your plan from: buying your policy through your employer, the marketplace, or on the individual market will determine your premium.|
|Where you live: just like health and auto insurance, premium amounts vary from state to state and company by company.|
|If your children are students: some companies requires proof of college enrollment for beneficiaries over the age of 18.|
For an Individual
Policies can cost as little as $5 a month. Most hover around the $10-$15 per month, which can amount to $60-$180 per year. And, the yearly premium is still less than what it would cost to have an eye exam and purchase glasses without insurance.
For a Family
A family of four can expect to pay about $40 to $80 per month or $960 a year, depending on the level of coverage selected. Again, the yearly premium for a family is less than what it would cost for 2 people to get eyeglasses.
What Does Vision Insurance Cover?
Insurance companies that sell vision coverage typically have different tiered plans available. These tiers will differ in the premium amount that will reflect the type or amount of coverage available with the plan.
In this list, view common inclusions in vision plans:
|Eye exam: The insured is entitled to one vision exam per year. You will pay a co-pay of $10-$20 for most insurers.|
|Eyeglass frames: This benefit usually comes as an allowance and is usable once per year.|
|Eyeglass lenses: For lenses, you'll usually pay a copay with a once per year limit.|
|Contact lenses: For contacts, you may have to pay a copay or you may have a similar allowance to the frames benefit.|
|LASIK surgery: Many insurers offer a discount on a type of vision corrective surgery.|
Vision insurance may provide other enhancements at a discounted rate. These can include:
- Scratch-resistant coating
- Anti-glare coating
- Polycarbonate lenses for stronger, thinner lenses
- Transition lenses
- Progressive lenses, which are no-line bifocals
What Doesn't Vision Insurance Cover?
Just like any insurance policy, there are certain things that your vision provider will not cover. Exclusions vary by provider.
Some of the most common exclusions include:
- Additional exams beyond the one per year.
- Replacement of damaged or lost glasses
- Missed appointment charges, application fees, or other miscellaneous charges.
- Non-prescription glasses, like magnification reading glasses.
- Medical eye treatments.
- Experimental or investigative procedures.
- Treatment where the doctor is a member of the insured’s family.
Vision Insurance Provider Reviews
While shopping around for coverage, be sure to check with these websites for rates and availability. To assist you, we have chosen three highly rated companies that can provide vision coverage for you and your family. These choices will be from the open market.
Note: If you have children under the age of 19 and you currently have health insurance through the marketplace, they will already have coverage for vision. This a mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
VSP Review: Best Overall
VSP is the largest vision insurance company in the United States. If you have vision insurance, chances are it is with VSP.
VSP offers low copays and high allowance. In the US, most providers accept VSP.
Benefits Selling magazine regularly names VSP as the winner of Best Vision Coverage. VSP has won for 8 years in a row.
Premiums for a standard individual policy can begin at a little over $15 per month. Family plans are just under $40 per month.
EyeMed Review: Best Network
Over 44,000 independent providers accept vision insurance through EyeMed. Most insurers offer a 20% discount on a second pair of glasses within the policy year. EyeMed offers a 40% discount.
EyeMed’s individual vision discount plan begins at $5 per month. The family plan is more extensive, with allowances and copays. It starts around $30.
Lastly, EyeMed is a proud supporter of OneSight. This is a nonprofit organization that provides vision care in underserved communities across the world.
Davis Vision Review: Top Rated Customer Service
Davis Vision has a a four-circle rating for customer service from J.D. Power.
Also, Davis Vision has 70,000+ access points nationwide. Nearly 9,000 of these retailers offer the exclusive collection. The exclusive collection is an assortment of eyeglass frames offered at a discount to Davis Vision members only.
Another great Davis Vision benefit is their optional warranty for your plan-covered glasses for a year. Should you break them, simply return them to the vision center for replacement.
Premiums for an individual range from $10-$12, and for a family, it hovers around the $30 mark.
4. Your Employer: Most Affordable
If your employer offers a health insurance plan, chances are they offer dental and vision insurance. Usually, this is the most affordable option anybody. VSP with an employer can warrant a group discount, costing the employee about $20 a month for an entire family.
Choosing Your Vision Plan
An optometrist or ophthalmologist will help you determine your eye health through a comprehensive exam. Annual visits to check for age-related vision problems are important. By choosing one our the recommended plans above, you and your family will save on caring for your eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
While this may be different for every person, VSP Vision is one of the most popular providers of vision insurance.
Vision insurance can definitely be worth it for anybody who needs vision care. It can help you save some serious money on vision expenses.
No, vision insurance does not typically cover LASIK. Your vision insurance may offer a discount for this procedure.