The Beaver State bares some of the most breathtaking views in the nation to its 4.2 million residents. But blurry eyesight can ruin the perfect glance at Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls or Crater Lake. Set your gaze on our guide to the best vision insurance in Oregon.
The Best Vision Insurance in Oregon is:
- Best Overall in Oregon: VSP Vision – See $13 Plans
- Best for Claims: EyeMed
- Best for Custom Coverage: UnitedHealthcare
A Glance at Vision Coverage in Oregon
In Oregon, 4 out of 10 say they struggled to pay healthcare bills in the last year. As medical costs skyrocket, vision insurance is often left behind. Most people in Oregon get their health insurance from government programs or employer plans. Often these 2 options leave you with no vision coverage at all or a one-size-fits-all policy.
In contrast, we found 3 different companies ready to give you vision choices. Our search was in Beaverton, part of Washington County, but coverages and prices apply statewide. You can expect individual plans to start at $5 per month and go up to $90 per month for full-featured family plans.
You can offset some out-of-pocket costs with a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) from your employer. These accounts will help you pay for expenses not covered by your job’s health plan. Keep in mind that you can’t use these 2 accounts to the insurance premium itself. But you can pay for medical-related products and services — not only vision insurance — and costs linked to other types such as dental insurance.
It may surprise you that vision insurance unlike traditional health insurance has no deductible. The deductible is a fixed amount, usually several hundred to thousands of dollars, which you must pay before the insurance starts to pay. Instead, at the time of your exam you hand over a copayment. A copay is the set fee you give the eye doctor, and the insurance company picks up the rest of the tab.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on government aid, here are the fast facts:
- Affordable Care Act at healthcare.gov will cover your kids for exams and eyewear but seldom includes adults.
- Medicare only covers vision needs related to diseases like glaucoma or diabetes.
- Oregon Health Plan (OHP), the Medicaid plan you can apply for here, only covers routine exams and glasses (not contacts) for all members under 21 and pregnant women 21 and over.
What to Look for in the Best Vision Insurance Companies
Make sure these features end up on your Oregon vision insurance checklist:
- Affordable exams
- Excellent eyewear allowance
- Lens customization
- Quality provider network
- Laser surgery discounts
- Budget choices
Eye doctors can diagnose cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune diseases in the standard annual exam reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
But diseases aren’t the only concern. Often job-related causes are reasons to get an eye exam. Digital society has transformed the way we work and play. Excessive screen-time creates eyestrain and changes prescriptions.
Although kids don’t wrestle the email inbox for 8 hours a day, they do text, play video games and watch TV. Add in sports, hobbies and extracurriculars that often require hand-eye motor skills, and you’ve got lots of reasons to make the yearly trip to the eye doctor.
Now that you’re packing the whole family in the car, just remember the retail cost of an eye exam could be $200 per person. Compare that to a $25 copay or less with the right vision plan. The savings could pay all or a nice chunk of your yearly premium.
Excellent Eyewear Allowance
The best vision insurance companies give you an allowance for contacts or frames. Let’s say you’ve peeped a pair of DKNY frames on LensCrafters.com. The sticker price is $285. You might have a frame allowance of $150 from your insurer. Your new balance is $135 — that’s over 50% off.
Do you have a job or hobby that requires you to have multiple sets of eyeglasses? Sometimes the doctors suggest you have separate pairs for reading or driving. The best strategy is to spend your allowance on the costlier ones and search for a great deal on the others. The vision insurance companies we reviewed discount added pairs of prescription glasses or sunglasses by 20–40%.
The lens customization is the treatments or coatings that go on the polycarbonate, glass or plastic lenses. You’ll see choices for single focus, bifocal or trifocal lenses. The latter 2 accommodate different distances. Other standard options are scratch resistance, UV-blocking and anti-glare — definitely consider these enhancements.
Besides the basic options, you’ll find the costlier progressives and light-to-dark tinting. Progressives are multi-focal aides without the lines. They’re an effort to get the best of all distances without having to buy separate pairs. Light-to-dark tinting shades your eyes by detecting the sun and other light sources.
Quality Provider Network
If your family has a favorite eye doctor, you should check if he or she is in the network. In-network doctors have a prearranged relationship with your vision insurance company. Doctors on the list will save you a pretty penny as compared to those who are not.
Besides higher costs, you must pay upfront and wait for reimbursement with out-of-network doctors. For many this is a hassle, but you have the flexibility to see anyone. Choosing an in-network doctor could be your key choice when selecting a vision company.
Laser Surgery Discounts
Have you thought about trading your contacts or glasses for a permanent solution? Consider laser correction surgery. The 2 most popular procedures are LASIK and PRK. The average costs can be between $1,000 to over $3,000 per eye. Vision insurance companies give a discount between 5%–15% that could offset the premium for your whole family.
People love choices. The vision insurance you choose should give you plenty. You’re looking for the flexibility and features that fit your finances and family.
But there are 2 pitfalls worth avoiding: The first is going for the lowest monthly payment you can get and missing key features. You may be surprised at the ballooning bill when you visit the doctor. The second is overpaying for benefits you won’t use.
It’s a dilemma. Check out these quick questions that will help you decide:
- Who in your family needs an eye exam in the next 12 months?
- How many people are expecting to get contact lenses or glasses?
- What prices did you find after doing a little online research?
Answering these questions should arm you with an approximation for making smart selections.
Our Top Picks for the Best Vision Insurance Companies in Oregon
You can bring along your estimate while you mix and match features and benefits or use the info from these 3 companies to refine your numbers.
1. Best Overall: VSP
A group of optometrists founded VSP in 1955. Today it’s a not-for-profit that exists to help its customers. About 1 out of 4 Americans, or over 82 million people, choose VSP.
Oregonians looking to do likewise will find the Standard or Easy Options plans available. There are 6 variations for individuals, 2-person or family selections. Your first stop will be the annual eye exam, and that is a $15 copay on both plans.
After the doctor’s prescription, you can pick frames or contact lenses. You’ll have the highest frame allowance in the state at $230 on the Easy Options plan. Balances above that amount will also receive an added 20% savings. And if you love stacking on the savings, you can subtract another $20 from the price tag when you select Calvin Klein, Lacoste or Nike among other featured frame brands.
Now that you have the frames, you can customize your lenses. A $25 copay lets you choose single focus, bifocal or trifocal. Tinted lenses and UV protection are available for less than $18 per piece. You can even get the often expensive progressive or light-to-dark tinting enhancements for a $0 out-of-pocket expense when you go with the Easy Options plan.
The online locator helps you find a doctor right around the corner. VSP has the largest independent eyecare network in the nation. And when you choose from its partners for your laser correction surgery, you receive 15% savings on the regular price. If you find a promotion, you’ll get 5% savings on that price.
How much does it cost? The average annual savings range from $156 on the Standard plan up to $438 on the Easy Options Plan for families. Monthly prices start at:
- $13 for Individual plans
- $24 for 2-Person plans
- $34 for Family plans
EyeMed serves 46 million customers in the U.S. and has been helping people with eyecare for 32 years. Oregonians can pick the Healthy Vision, Bold or Bright plans:
|Eye Exam (copay)||$0||$10||$10|
|Frames OR Contacts Allowance||35% Discount off MSRP||$130 Allowance||$200 Allowance|
|Lenses Single, BF, TF||$55 to $85||$20 Copay||$20 Copay|
Also, all 3 plans let you choose from 44,000 independent and retail providers. You can go to national chains such as LensCrafters, Target Optical or Sears Optical. You get a 15% discount when you choose LASIK or PRK through the company’s partners in the US Laser Network. And you’ll receive a 5% discount on your premium if you pay in full.
UnitedHealthcare has been helping patients since 1977. They do business in Oregon under their Golden Rule Insurance brand. You can select Plan A or Plan B.
Both Plans feature:
- A $10 copay for the annual eye exam
- A $150 frame allowance
- A $10 copay for single, bifocal or trifocal lenses (all other options besides scratch resistance cost out of pocket)
Our quick search brought back 100 doctors in a 6-mile radius from our sample zip code in Washington county. Deals on correction surgery are available through the Laser Vision Network of America, but discounts vary.
- Pick glasses OR contacts.
- Price is $11 for the 1st person and $7 for each added person
- Pick glasses AND contacts.
- Price is $15 for the 1st person in $10 for each added person
A Smart Look at a Smart Price
Take a glance at the pricing breakdown:
|VSP||$13 per month||$24 per month||$34 per month|
|EyeMed||$17 per month||$35 per month||$52 per month|
|UnitedHealthcare||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 gets our top approval because of its yearly savings, high eyewear allowance and flexible choices for Oregon families. Curious about other insurance info? Here’s our guide to the best vision insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: Are contact lenses covered by vision insurance?
2) Q: What’s typically included with vision insurance?
3) Q: What types of vision plans are available to me?
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