There are 13 million pairs of eyes in Illinois and 65% hail from Chicagoland.
There’s a vision plan precisely for your peepers and pocketbook, whether you’re a stroll away from a Windy City breeze or live elsewhere in the Prairie State. Dive into our guide for native Illinoisans and you’ll be able to find the best vision insurance in your state.
The Best Vision Insurance in Illinois:
- Best Overall in Illinois: VSP Vision – See $13 Plans
- Best for Claims: EyeMed
- Best for Custom Coverage: UnitedHealthcare
- Best for Seniors in Illinois: Humana
A Glance at Vision Coverage in Illinois
The Chicago Tribune reports that most Illinoisans get their health insurance from employers or government programs. Your job may give you only 1 choice, and state or federal plans often give no vision coverage at all. We found 4 different companies that can serve you no matter where you live in Illinois.
You can expect monthly payments between $5 for budget-friendly individual plans and $75 for top-tier family selections. Vision insurance works by discounting the costs of eyewear and related services. You’ll give your doctor a co-pay, which is a set amount for an exam or product such as plastic lenses, and the insurance company pays the rest. So, you need not worry about meeting a deductible.
What to Look for in the Best Vision Insurance Companies
The features you’ll want to consider are annual exams, frame and contacts allowance, lens options, network, laser deals and discounts.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says ophthalmologists can detect autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer during an eye exam.
Ophthalmologists can also be on the lookout for various eye-related health and even learning disabilities like dyslexia for kids. Kids who play sports, are engaged in hobbies or other extracurricular activities that require hand-eye coordination need yearly vision check-ups. Your child’s needs can also change as he or she approaches adolescence.
Children aren’t the only ones whose requirements shift. Doctors recommend yearly exams for people who spend the majority of the workday perched behind a computer.
Some vision companies leave you on the hook for the retail price of the exam. Make sure the insurance company you pick has an affordable copay unless you already have a prescription and plan to skip it.
Frames and Contacts Allowance
What can you expect to pay for new frames or contacts?
Insurance companies usually give a basic allowance for frames and some also pay a percentage off the price above that cost. For example, a $350 pair of Oakleys might be $150 after a $200 allowance. Brand-name premium frames or other high-fashion brands can also be expensive. That’s why the frame and contacts allowance is crucial.
Lenses can cost a small fortune, depending on how you want to customize your glasses. Do you want single focus, bifocals or trifocals? You can choose anti-glare, progressives or light-to-dark tinting. Progressives are multifocal and adjust to different distances without the lines. Light-to-dark tinting automatically changes to give UV and other light protection. These add-ins can make it more expensive fast.
In-Network and Out-of-Network Options
An out-of-network doctor doesn’t have a pre-established relationship with your insurance company. These physicians can double your expenses. There’s also the added hassle of paying upfront and waiting for reimbursement. Few of us have a favorite eye doctor, but for those who do, this could be the most critical price consideration.
Is someone in your family planning to get corrective laser eye surgery? Laser treatments can cost between $1,000 to more than $3,000 per eye. Typical discounts on the 2 most common laser procedures, LASIK or PRK, are between 5% and 15%. The savings may offset the cost of your premiums.
Some people need both contacts and glasses or multiple pairs for reading, driving or other strenuous activities. In that situation, consider the discount offered on added pairs. Discounts on different sets range from 20% to 40% off MSRP.
You can get slightly higher discounts when you need to cover more people. Some companies offer savings for paying an annual premium in full. The people who’ll stash the most greenbacks will get both yearly eye exams and a new pair of frames or contact lenses. Your best insurance companies grant flexibility to both individuals and large families.
Our Top Picks for the Best Illinois Vision Insurance Companies
The wisest way to pick a plan is to guess your needs over the next 12 months, then determine which insurance company can give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Best Overall: VSP
VSP offered some of the most significant annual savings for Illinoisans. Over 94 out of every 100 customers is reportedly happy.
Why? Because of the highest frame allowance we reviewed at $230 on its Easy Options plan. You’ll also receive 20% savings on the amount over the benefit. Choose brands such as Calvin Klein, Columbia, DKNY, Nautica, Nike or others on the featured list to get even more savings.
What lenses are you going to put in those new frames? VSP offers lens enhancement options. Unlike the competition, VSP gives you pay-no-more-than amounts. Your choice of single, bifocal or trifocal lenses have a co-pay of $25. You can even get anti-glare, UV protection and tinted lenses all for less than $18 apiece.
None of this happens without the exam. Copays for its 3 top-tier plans was one of the lowest at just $15. You can save an extra 20% on that 2nd pair of glasses or sunglasses.
There are flexible levels for every family size: Individual policies start at just $10 per month, 2-person plans at $20 per month and families are at $27 per month.
2. Best for Claims: EyeMed
EyeMed is a Midwest-based company you don’t want to miss. Why?
There are a couple of good reasons. People who like to have 1 payment for the year will get a 5% discount and should also be on your list if you need 2 pairs of glasses. You’ll get 40% off your 2nd complete pair.
EyeMed has 3 tiers with quick differences:
- The Healthy plan reduces your cost of the annual exam to its $0 copay and gives you a 35% discount on frames.
- The Bold plan gives a $130 frame or contacts allowance.
- The Bright plan bumps the allowance up to $200.
You can expect to pay $0 out of pocket for most basic lens options. The company only gives a 30% break off the price of advanced lens options such as light-to-dark tinting or progressives. The cost could stack up if you plan to customize your lenses.
3. Best for Custom Coverage: UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare keeps it simple in Illinois with Plan A and Plan B.
- Costs $11 for 1 person and adds $7 for each other person on the plan.
- You must select contacts or glasses.
- Costs start at $15, and it’s $10 more for each added person on the program.
- This plan also offers both glasses and contacts.
You can expect eye exams at a $10 copay with both plans. Frames have $150 allowance, but there are no other discounts above that amount. Standard lenses are a $10 copay, but you must pay a high cost for other lens options. United Healthcare may be the best choice when you need both contacts and glasses.
4. Best for Seniors: Humana
You may already be familiar with Humana if you have Medicare Advantage. If not, Humana keeps it smooth with just one plan and EyeMed fulfills the service. In contrast, Humana offers 5 dental plans.
- There’s a $15 co-pay for exams.
- You’ll pay a $40 copay for contact lens exams and get 10% off the cost of retail if you need premium contact lenses.
- You’ll also get a $150 frame allowance and 20% off the balance above that amount.
- There’s also a $25 copay for single, bifocal and trifocal selections for standard plastic lenses.
Humana is a smart choice for seniors who want to streamline billing with an already-familiar company.
The Right Look at the Right Price
It’s possible to get 20/20 vision without breaking the bank, and while you’re at it, why not learn more about dental insurance, too?
Check for annual exams, frame and contact allowance and lens options. Don’t miss details on network, discounts and opportunities for every budget. Check out our guide to best vision insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: What types of vision plans are available to me?
Generally, there are just two types of vision plans: benefit plans and discount plans. They usually cover the same types of exams and products but there will be a difference in monthly premiums. You can expect to pay much lower for the discount vision plan.
2) Q: What’s typically included with vision insurance?
Eye exams and prescription lenses are typically included with your vision coverage. Some companies pay for all of the costs and other times there will be a co-payment required for the services received or the lenses that you choose.
3) Q: Is laser surgery (LASIK or PRK) covered by vision insurance?
Some vision plans offer discounts on LASIK or PRK but these procedures are considered an elective correction surgery and may not be covered under your policy.