More than 90% of senior citizens wear glasses or contact lenses. While wearing glasses or contacts can seem inevitable, huge out-of-pocket costs don't have to be. Vision insurance can ensure that age-related eye care costs don't destroy your budget.
Medicare Parts A and B offer limited vision coverage and no coverage for glasses. But you can take control of your eye health and protect your budget with a vision insurance plan. Below are details about how vision insurance works and the best vision insurance for seniors.
Quick Look: Best Vision Insurance for Seniors
- Best for Multi-Vision Solutions: UnitedHealthcare
- Best for Bundling Policies: Cigna
- Best for Combined Vision and Dental Insurance: Humana
- Best for Highest Allowance: EyeMed
- Best for Customized Coverage: Anthem
Best Vision Insurance for Seniors
Looking to get the best vision insurance for your needs? Consider these options.
1. Best for Multi-Vision Solutions: UnitedHealthcare
- securely through UnitedHealthcare Vision's websiteBest For:Large suite of productsRating:
UnitedHealthcare offers two tiers of vision coverage that allow you to cover the cost of glasses and contact lenses within the coverage period. While most vision insurance plans only include a single allowance per 12- or 24-month period, UnitedHealthcare offers flexible solutions for your needs.
If you only need glasses or contacts, opt for the more affordable Plan A for as little as $11 a month. You can get both for as little as $13 a month in insurance premiums. UnitedHealthcare plans have no waiting periods and $10 copays for office visits.
- Cheaper premiums than other options
- Large provider network
- No waiting period
- $150 in-network frame and contacts allowance each year
- $10 exam copay
- $10 copay for glasses
- No copay for contacts
- Lower bifocal and trifocal allowance than other options
2. Best for Bundling Policies: Cigna
Cigna Dental is an arm of the much larger Cigna array of health and wellness products. Cigna dental plans are designed to be as affordable as possible, can have deductibles as low as $0, cover all checkups and give you the option to see any dentist you like.
You can either bundle your Cigna Dental plan with other Cigna products, or you can choose the High Annual Maximum plan to get up to $3,000 in benefits each year.
- Plans can be quite inexpensive
- Coverage for preventative care is standard
- You can even get orthodontia coverage, when needed
- Lower annual maximums may not work for your dental needs
3. Best for Combined Vision and Dental Insurance: Humana
Humana makes filling in the gaps left by original Medicare easy and affordable. It offers dental and vision insurance with an easy, intuitive quote system to get additional health insurance in one place. On the website, you can enter your date of birth, ZIP code and gender to access all dental and vision options.
Humana's vision insurance policies start at just $15 per month. You can add dental options available from $18 per month.
- Low cost
- Low co-pay costs
- Well-established company with an excellent reputation for excellence
- $150 contacts allowance
- Some negative customer feedback
- $40 contact eye exam copay
4. Best for Highest Allowance: EyeMed
You might want to buy more than one pair of glasses for many reasons, from coordinating outfits to keeping a pair at work and home. Unfortunately, most vision insurance plans only include an allowance for a single pair. If you want a second pair, you’ll pay for it out of pocket under most plans.
EyeMed offers one of the most generous frame allowances of any vision insurance provider. Your EyeMed plan will include between $130 and $200 for your first pair of glasses, depending on your plan tier. If you buy a second pair, you’ll save 40% off the retail price. Plans begin at just $18 a month, and EyeMed is a top choice for glasses-wearers.
- Low copay for exams
- Generous allowance for eyeglasses
- $200 frame or contacts allowance is better than competitors
- $20 copay for bifocal, trifocals, and standard progressive lenses
- Discounts up to 40% on second pair of glasses
- Higher cost plan
- Glasses copay is higher than other options
5. Best for Customized Coverage: Anthem
Do you want to customize your coverage? Consider getting a quote from Anthem Vision Insurance. Anthem provides three coverage tiers in most states, ranging from its ultra-affordable Blue View Vision Value to its comprehensive Blue View Vision Enhanced.
This selection of plan choices is especially beneficial for seniors who want coverage but need to consider a limited income. Anthem policies are affordable no matter which plan you choose. In many states, coverage starts at just $12 monthly, with higher-tier plans around $20.
- $10 copay for exam
- $10 glasses, bifocal or trifocal copay
- No copay for contacts
- $150 annual frames or contacts allowance
- $75 for transitions
- Fewer in-network providers than others on this list
What is Vision Insurance for Seniors?
Vision insurance for seniors provides an annual allowance for eye health expenses, including basic vision care such as exams, glasses and contacts. Some vision insurance plans may provide discounts on LASIK or other corrective surgeries.
Vision insurance is not usually part of health insurance, so you'll need to buy separate vision insurance coverage. For an average monthly fee of $11 to $20, you'll pay $132 to $240 and receive coverage for eyeglasses, contact lenses, vision appointments, and more.
What Vision Services Are Covered by Senior Vision Insurance?
Vision services covered by senior vision insurance vary by provider. However, most standard plans include:
- Eye examinations
- Eyeglass frames
- Contact lenses
- LASIK, in some cases
- Learn more about what vision insurance covers
Why Is Vision Insurance Important for Seniors?
Vision insurance benefits for seniors range from a controlled budget to low copays. You can save more on your regular eye care costs.
Benefits of vision insurance for seniors include:
- Low copay on eye exams
- Create customized plans
- Get prescription lenses, glasses or contacts for less
Average Cost of Vision Insurance
Here is the average cost of vision insurance by state:
When is Vision Insurance Worth it?
You might wonder if you need a vision insurance plan if you have an independent health insurance plan or Medicare. Many policyholders are surprised that most health insurance plans don’t include eye exams and corrective lenses coverage.
Under the Affordable Care Act, vision and dental benefits are only required for children on each plan. This means that most independent health insurance plans require their policyholders to cover 100% of these expenses out of pocket for adults.
Medicare also offers limited vision benefits for policyholders. Original Medicare doesn’t cover routine eye exams for glasses or contacts or offer any type of coverage for frames or lenses. If you have diabetes, Medicare Part B will cover one annual eye exam. If you have glaucoma, Medicare Part B covers one annual glaucoma test. However, if you haven’t already been diagnosed with either condition, you have no vision coverage under Medicare.
Your insurance might include additional vision benefits if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C). Check with your policy provider to learn if you already have vision coverage before enrolling in a standalone policy.
Vision insurance can be worth it if you need eyeglasses, contact lenses or additional vision care. Carefully consider policy costs and typical out-of-pocket costs to decide whether vision insurance makes sense for you. Learn more about when vision insurance is worth it.
How to Get Covered with Vision Insurance
It’s never been easier to find a vision insurance policy. Most independent policy providers now offer online quote systems that allow you to choose a policy and enroll quickly. You can enroll online in a few minutes, depending on your insurance provider. Compare quotes from at least three insurance providers before choosing a policy to ensure you get the best rate possible.
To get covered with vision insurance:
- Apply with a provider and provide all requested information, including age, location and any requested medical history.
- You can usually start with vision coverage within a day.
Getting the Vision Insurance You Need
Vision insurance can protect your budget and ensure you get the necessary vision care. Enrolling is simple, and average monthly costs range from $11 to $20. Consider that a routine eye exam costs an average of $100 or more, and the need for eyeglasses or contacts, vision insurance could help you save significantly. Ready to get started? Find more options with the best vision insurance here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Medicare cover vision insurance for seniors?
No, Medicare usually doesn’t cover vision insurance for seniors. It doesn’t cover the cost of eyeglasses or contacts. If you have a pre-existing medical condition like glaucoma or diabetes or are in certain high-risk groups, Medicare may cover eye exams.
Are there any waiting periods for coverage with vision insurance for seniors?
Whether there’s a waiting period for coverage with vision insurance depends on the plan. For example, UnitedHealthcare offers no waiting period for vision coverage.
Can I add my spouse or dependents to my senior vision insurance plan?
Generally, you can add your spouse or dependents to your vision insurance plan. Usually, this covers children up to age 26.
About Sarah Horvath
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