There are 10.4 million different viewpoints in the Tar Heel state. You may never see eye-to-eye on whose barbeque is the best, but you’ll more than likely love a smoking hot deal.
Right off the grill and ready for your consumption, here’s our guide to the best vision insurance in North Carolina.
Quick Look: The Best Vision Insurance in North Carolina
- Best Overall: VSP Vision – See $13 Plans
- Best for Finding an Optometrist: Superior Vision
- Best for Provider Network: Humana
- Best for Large Suite of Products: UnitedHealthcare
The Best Vision Insurance in North Carolina
You’ve now armed yourself with the features that matter and can narrow the field by weighing the pros and cons between our top-rated companies. We found 4 companies that range from $10 per month for individuals on basic plans to $81 per month for feature-rich family plans.
1. Best Overall: VSP
The customer satisfaction rate for VSP high, and for good reason. Even the lowest plan boasts an annual savings of $198 and you’ll be able to choose from the largest network of independent doctors in the U.S. VSP allows you to tailor your policy to your family’s size and budget.
Monthly prices include:
- Individual plans – $10
- 2-person plans – $20
- Family plans – $27
You’ll need to pay a $15 copay unless you choose the EyewearOnly120 plan, which offers savings for eyewear only. VSP also offers the highest frame allowance reviewed at $230 on the EasyOptions plan. Choose familiar brands such as Calvin Klein, DKNY, Nike and many more for even higher savings.
VSP gives you upfront and painless pricing on all the enhancements. A $25 copay will let you select a single focus, bifocal or trifocal. You can also buy popular options like UV protection or anti-glare for less than $18 each.
- Nationwide coverage
- Large network
- Low-cost plans with affordable copays
- Discounts on lens customization options
- Extended customer service hours — get support on the weekends
- Flexible payment options
- Flexible coverage start dates
- Must choose between frames or contact lenses
- May have to pay more out-of-pocket
2. Best for Finding an Optometrist: Superior Vision
Versant Health serves 33 million members in the U.S. and is the parent company for Superior Vision. The company offers the following monthly prices:
- Individual plans – $12
- 2-person plans – $23
- Family plans – $33
Your eye exam will cost you $15 on the Essential or Classic plans, and $20 on the Premier, the highest tier plan. You’ll have a $200 Frame or a $150 contact lenses allowance on the company’s top plan.
You’ll also be able to easily find a doctor. A 40-mile radius search in Charlotte, North Carolina shows over 90 results. Use the locator to find doctors in your area.
- Coverage for routine eye exams, which can help detect and prevent eye diseases and conditions
- Financial assistance for eyewear, including glasses or contact lenses, making them more affordable
- Additional discounts on vision-related products or services
- Limited coverage for certain procedures or treatments, such as cosmetic or experimental procedures
- Out-of-pocket expenses for copayments, deductibles, or services not covered by the insurance
3. Best for Provider Network: Humana
Seniors may recognize Humana because it serves 66% of the individual Medicare advantage market nationwide. Humana has partnered with EyeMed to to offer one specific plan that’s $16 per individual, with a one-time $35 enrollment fee — even if you’re not a senior.
Through EyeMed’s network, you’ll:
- Choose from 65,000 providers nationwide.
- Pay $15 for routine exams and $40 for contact lens exams.
- Chop $150 off the price of your frames and add 20% on balances above that cost.
- Pay a $25 copay for single, bifocal and trifocal standard plastic lenses
- Pay $15 each for UV coating, tint and scratch resistance
Did you know that Humana offers dental plans, too? Learn more about dental insurance.
- Low exam copay makes it possible for anyone to get the care they need
- Contact lens fittings are quite affordable
- You can bundle with other Humana policies offered in Carolina
- Frame allowances are quite low, and the coverage discount above that might also seem quite low
4. Best for Large Suite of Products: UnitedHealthcare
United Healthcare was founded in 1977. Its 40-year commitment to patients has earned it the trust of North Carolinians. You can pick between Plan A or Plan B.
- Choose glasses OR contacts.
- Cost: $11 for 1 person and $7 more for each other person.
- Select both glasses AND contacts.
- Cost: $15, and you’ll pay $10 more for every added person.
Our sample search from the same zip code in Mecklenburg County brought back 100 records in an 11-mile radius.
You’ll pay just $10 on either plan. Both feature a $150 frame allowance once every 12 months. Your lenses, regardless of the focus, will also cost $10. Other lens enhancements beyond a scratch-resistant coating will cost you more out of pocket.
United Healthcare should be on your list if you need both glasses and contacts.
- Cheaper premiums than other options
- Large provider network
- No waiting period
- Lower bifocal and trifocal allowance than other options
An Overview of Vision Insurance in North Carolina
North Carolina is ranked in the bottom half of national ratings — 36th — for overall health care. Rising costs contribute to over 1 million state residents who are uninsured for health insurance, and unfortunately, vision needs are often left by the wayside. Combine this with a vast disparity between availability in rural versus urban and suburban areas, and you have a state where it can be quite easy to receive care in large suburban regions like Charlotte—but it can be difficult in the rural coastal areas or the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Most North Carolinians receive health insurance from either their employer or through government programs, which may or may not include a vision plan. Every plan is different, so it’s important to pay close attention and do your research so that you can find the best coverage for you and your family.
How Does Vision Insurance Work?
Vision insurance negotiates a discounted rate with optometrists — you can get annual eye exams and order prescriptions. You’ll only be left with a copay, which is the part you hand over directly to the eye doctor. The insurance company pays the rest. Unlike other types of health insurance, there’s no deductible with vision insurance.
Some insurance (such as Affordable Care Act insurance through healthcare.gov) offers vision coverage for children but rarely offers it for adults. Make sure you check the plans carefully. North Carolina Medicaid provides vision benefits for all who qualify, regardless of age.
Seniors who have Medicare should be aware that Medicare only covers eye exams related to diseases like glaucoma or diabetes.
What to Look for in the Best Vision Insurance Companies
Keep the following features in mind when you research vision insurance in North Carolina:
One of the most important things to look for is plan flexibility. Does the insurer allow you to set your monthly payment and pick the features you’re most likely to use?
There are 2 dangers to watch out for: overpaying each month or only thinking about what you spend every 30 days. If you aren’t careful, an outrageous out-of-pocket price tag could hit you when you see the eye doctor.
Boost your discount by adding more people to your plan. Do you have a large family? You might want to look at the budget options — but even individuals can find a “just-right” fit among multi-tiered alternatives.
Extensive Eyecare Network
Make sure your favorite doctor is on the in-network list. In-network doctors have a prearranged contract with the insurance company. Vision insurance works on a preferred provider organization (PPO) model. Doctors who are on that list cost far less than their off-list counterparts.
Doctors who are outside your network can cost double the price, if not more. The insurance company will also require you to pay the doctor out of your own pocket first, then require you to wait for reimbursement. A doctor who’s not in network can be the single most vital factor in your overall cost.
Affordable Exam Coverage
Optometrists suggest yearly exams — and there are lots of reasons to make the yearly trip to the optometrist. Computer work is commonplace in our society. Adults, teenagers and even toddlers stare at screens and participate in hobbies, sports or extracurricular activities that often require hand-eye coordination.
The retail cost of an eye exam can be over $200. Sometimes, that amount will cover the total annual premium, so analyze the cost of the exam against the total premium.
Adequate Eyewear Allowance
You’ve decided it’s time to get a new pair of eyeglasses or contacts. Let’s say you’ve decided on Armani frames that will cost you $280, and you get a $150 allowance. That leaves you with $130 out-of-pocket.
You might need an additional pair. Perhaps your doctor suggests 1 set for driving and another for reading. That’s where the 2nd pair discount comes in. You could save between 20% and 40% off the sticker price, depending upon the company.
Remember, too, that some carriers only offer a frame allowance once per year. At that point, you might want to be a little more creative when using your benefits. You can use your allowance for eyeglasses this year, sunglasses next year and so on. However, you may need to replace all your glasses right now. You can use your allowance with an approved partner to purchase eyeglasses or sunglasses, and you might use a discount retailer to purchase reading glasses, computer glasses, etc.
Lens Options Coverage
You’ll also want to decide on the right type of lens: single focus, bifocals or trifocals and/or other features:
- UV protection
- Scratch resistance
- High index (helps reduce the thickness and weight of lenses when your prescription is rather strong)
- Progressives (multifocal lenses without lines)
- Light-to-dark tinting lenses (these recognize UV and other light and shade your eyes)
Compare Vision Insurance in North Carolina
Here’s how all of these plan pricings break down so it’s easy to compare:
|$10 per month
|$20 per month
|$27 per month
|$12 per month
|$23 per month
|$33 per month
|$16 per month
|$32 per month
|$16 per person per month
|United Health Care
|Plan A: $11 per monthPlan B: $15 per month
|Plan A: $18 per monthPlan B: $25 per month
|Plan A: $11 per month, plus $7 additional per person per monthPlan B: $15 per month, plus $10 additional per person per month
VSP is the top recommendation because of its high frame coverage, flexibility for all families and above-average annual savings. It also works with many partner offices where the insurance is accepted, and the platform allows you to connect your benefits to participating online retailers.
Want to learn more about insurance choices in North Carolina? Here’s Benzinga’s guide to the best vision insurance.
The Finest Vision Insurance for Your Needs in North Carolina
When it comes to finding the best vision insurance in North Carolina, you need a plan that not only meets your specific needs but also provides comprehensive coverage and exceptional value. From ensuring optimal eye health to obtaining affordable eye care services, having reliable vision insurance is a vital component of your overall well-being.
With a wide range of options available in North Carolina, it is crucial to choose a plan that offers the right benefits, network, and flexibility to suit your lifestyle. By carefully considering your individual requirements and exploring different providers, you can make an informed decision that will safeguard your vision and support your eye health goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does vision insurance in North Carolina cover contacts?
Yes. Vision insurance generally covers contact lenses. Review your policy for more information on what is covered.
Can I use my vision insurance at any eye doctor in North Carolina?
Most vision insurance plans give policyholders the flexibility to choose from a network of participating eye doctors. It’s important to review the network of providers before purchasing a plan to ensure your preferred eye doctor is included.
Does vision insurance in North Carolina cover frames?
Yes, vision insurance generally offers an allowance for frames.