Insurance coverage can play a huge role in the act of self-care and taking care of our health. All you need to do is find the right insurance for your situation. Here’s everything you need to know about getting vision insurance in Alabama.
An Overview of Vision Insurance in Alabama
Let’s review what vision insurance is and what it can do for you. Essentially, vision insurance is an insurance product that offers at least some coverage for your basic vision care. This can include routine eye exams, prescription exams, glasses lenses, glasses frames and contact lenses.
While your eye health is certainly part of your overall health, this does not mean that vision coverage is included in your health insurance plan. In fact, if you purchased your health insurance plan through Alabama’s Marketplace, there’s a good chance that you don’t have vision coverage.
This is because Marketplace health insurance plans are only required to provide coverage for essential health benefits. There are 10 essential health benefits, including pregnancy and maternity care, prescription drug coverage and emergency services. Unfortunately, vision care is not considered an essential health benefit for adults.
Some health insurance plans — even those in the Marketplace — may offer some level of coverage for vision care. However, since it’s not required for adults, you should be sure to review your health insurance plan to see what’s included. If your health insurance doesn’t include vision benefits, you may want to consider purchasing an independent vision insurance plan. Employers may also offer the option to enroll in a group vision insurance plan, which you would be eligible to do during open enrollment or after a qualifying life event.
It’s also important to note that 1 of the 10 essential health benefits that must be covered by Marketplace health insurance plans is vision coverage for children. Some private health insurance plans may also offer free screenings services for children. If you have children on your current health insurance plan, be sure to check to see what pediatric vision services are covered.
Vision insurance is considered to be relatively affordable for most individuals and families.
Alabama Average Cost of Vision Insurance
Before you purchase vision insurance, it’s important to understand the costs associated with vision care over the course of a year. Take a look at the table below for an example of some of the average costs, as well as estimated total yearly costs with and without vision insurance.
|The average cost of an eye exam in Alabama||$146.81|
|The average cost of glasses frames||$203 or more|
|The out-of-pocket cost of vision care without vision insurance||$443|
|The out-of-pocket cost of vision care with vision insurance||$271|
There are also some terms you should be familiar with when reviewing the cost of vision insurance plans, including:
Premium. Your insurance premium is the amount you will pay per month for your insurance policy. It may also be referred to as the cost of your plan. This will likely be the first number you see when you review your plan options.
Deductible. Next, take a look at the plan’s deductible. Your deductible is the amount of money you’ll need to pay toward your covered services before your insurance company will start to pay for them. The amount you pay for your premium does not count toward your deductible.
Copayments. After you’ve met the deductible, your insurance plan may require copayments. This is a set amount of money that you’ll need to pay for covered services and your insurance company will pay the remaining amount. Copayments may also be referred to as your copay.
Out-of-pocket. Your out-of-pocket costs are the costs that you pay for your vision care, including your deductible and copayments. If you get services that are not covered by your vision insurance plan, you’ll need to pay for these costs out-of-pocket and it will not count toward your deductible.
VSP — 1 of the leading vision insurance providers — offers individual vision plans for as low as $13 per month. If you consider the table above and add in additional costs, such as the lenses for your glasses and contact lenses, there is the potential to save significantly throughout the year.
When is Vision Insurance Worth it?
Purchasing a vision insurance plan does add an extra expense to your monthly bills. So is it worth it? Here are a few things to consider when you’re trying to answer this question:
- Do you have a family history of health problems that may affect eye health or vision?
- Do you currently have vision issues?
- How often do you purchase new glasses and/or contact lenses?
- How much does the vision insurance plan cost and what benefits does it offer?
Believe it or not, regular eye exams can be a crucial component of taking care of your overall health. Even if you don’t experience vision issues and don’t use corrective eyewear, it’s a good idea to make an annual visit with your eye doctor, just as you would with your primary physician.
During your annual eye exams, your eye doctor is given the opportunity to detect signs of serious health conditions in their early stages. Some of the conditions that could be detected are:
- High cholesterol
- Macular degeneration
- Multiple sclerosis
- Risks of other serious conditions, including heart disease or stroke
By sticking to annual eye exams, you may be able to seek treatment for these health conditions before they even come up in a routine physical with your primary care doctor!
If you’re eligible for Medicare, you’ll also want to consider the vision care options associated with Medicare. Original Medicare does not offer coverage for eye exams, eyeglasses or contact lenses.
However, Medicare Part B may offer coverage for eye exams, diagnostic tests and treatment for certain conditions, such as diabetes or age-related macular degeneration. Medicare Part B may also offer coverage for annual glaucoma tests if you’re found to be at high-risk for glaucoma.
To determine whether the benefits are worth the cost of vision insurance, consider your personal factors. Vision insurance may be worth it, especially if you visit the eye doctor frequently or purchase glasses or contacts regularly.
The Best Vision Insurance in Alabama
If you want to look into purchasing vision insurance, it’s important to know your options. Here are some of the best vision insurance providers in Alabama.
Best Overall: VSP
VSP offers a wide range of coverage options to fit every type of individual and family situation. Individual coverage plans from VSP start at just $13 per month. This insurance provider has a large network of participating eye doctors, allowing you the flexibility to choose the eye doctor that fits your schedule.
VSP also offers a Premier Program that in-network eye care providers can elect to participate in. If you visit a participating Premier Program practice, you’ll be eligible to receive additional vision care benefits, including advanced eye exams.
You’ll also have access to exclusive bonus offers. VSP’s Exclusive Member Extras can give you the opportunity to save more than $3,000 with its offers from leading industry brands. Some offers include savings on lens enhancements, rebates on certain brands of contacts, savings on sunglasses and more.
Best for Value: Humana
Humana’s vision insurance plans are easy to understand and packed with value. You can get a vision plan from Humana with no deductible and no waiting period, so you’ll be able to start getting the financial benefits of your plan as soon as you need a covered service.
Humana plans cover annual eye exams with copays as low as $15 for its members. If you need corrective eyewear, you’ll be happy to know that it also offers 100% coverage for eyeglass lenses and contact lenses if they are medically necessary.
For eyeglass lenses, you may need to make a small copay between $15 and $65. Humana’s plan also offers an allowance for eyeglass frames every 12 to 24 months.
Best for Frames Benefits: Davis Vision
Davis Vision is an insurance provider that understands the importance of glasses. This is a company that understands that if you’re wearing glasses, you want to feel good in them.
All Davis Vision plans feature options for fully-covered eyewear. Davis Vision members also get access to an exclusive collection of frames, allowing you to buy fashionable and on-trend frames at discount prices.
With Davis Vision, you’ll also receive coverage for the latest lenses, including those with blue light blocking technology and those that can adapt to changing light conditions.
Best for Plan Options: EyeMed
EyeMed offers affordable vision insurance and a number of options to choose from. The starting plan from EyeMed — called EyeMed Healthy — covers an annual eye exam and offers the additional benefit of discounts on glasses and contacts.
Since this plan starts at $5 per month, it’s a great option if you’re looking for basic coverage at a low cost. EyeMed also offers more expensive plans that offer additional coverage, including an allowance for glasses and contact lenses.
Since the price of glasses and contacts can certainly add up throughout the year, these plans could help you save significantly.
Do I Need Vision Insurance?
While you may not be required to carry vision insurance, it’s a good idea for many people. Start with a quote to see if vision insurance may be worthwhile for you. A free customized quote is the best way to review your options, including the cost and coverage offered with each plan.