If you’re keeping up with your recommended annual eye exam or visit your eye doctor regularly, you may be able to save money on your appointments and other vision care services. Here’s what you need to know about vision insurance options in Tennessee. Vision benefits are a good way to maintain your eyesight and catch problems before they spiral out of control, but remember that there are several ways to access quality vision care, including those below.
An Overview of Vision Insurance in Tennessee
Vision insurance is an insurance product that offers partial or more coverage for vision services. These vision services typically include routine eye exams, prescription eye exams, glasses lenses, glasses frames and contact lenses. Annual exams and even coverage for children are available, but you must select a plan that suits your needs.
While eye health is a huge factor in your overall health, coverage for vision care is unfortunately not always included in health insurance plans. That’s why vision insurance exists as its own separate product, allowing you to purchase prescription glasses without cutting into your health plan.
Have you purchased your health insurance plan through Tennessee’s Marketplace or you’re planning to do so? It’s important to understand the minimum requirements of these plans.
- Each plan sold through the Marketplace is required to offer coverage for 10 essential health benefits — except vision insurance. These benefits include several important coverage areas, including pregnancy and maternity care, emergency services, and prescription drug coverage. However, vision care is not considered an essential health benefit for adults.
- Vision care is considered an essential health benefit for children through the Marketplace. If your child is covered by a plan you’ve purchased through the Marketplace, you should see that vision care benefits are included for pediatric patients. If you have a private health insurance plan, it may also offer free vision screenings services for children. You can look at your plan documents to see exactly what your health insurance plan covers.
If your health insurance plan does not cover vision services, it may be time to consider purchasing a separate vision insurance plan. You may also want to purchase a vision insurance plan if you anticipate needing more vision coverage than your current health insurance plan offers.
Average Cost of Vision Insurance in Tennessee
Before you add another bill to your monthly budget, it’s understandable that you’d want to know how much vision insurance costs. The cost of your vision insurance plan can depend on a number of factors, including the company and plan you choose. Generally speaking, the more coverage included in your plan, the higher the cost will likely be.
To get the full picture of what the cost of vision insurance is, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a few insurance terms:
- Premium: The insurance premium is also often referred to as the cost of the plan. The premium is the amount of money that you will pay each month for your vision insurance.
- Deductible: The plan’s deductible is also important because it will tell you how much money you will pay for your covered vision services, even with the insurance. You will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for your covered vision services until you meet your plan’s deductible. After you’ve met the deductible, the insurance company will begin to pay for your covered vision services.
- Copayments: Even after you’ve met the plan’s deductible, you may not be done paying out-of-pocket costs. Copayments are a set amount that you’ll be expected to pay for your covered vision services after meeting your deductible. For example, you may have a $15 copayment for vision exams and a $20 copayment on eyeglasses. Copayments may also be referred to as copays.
- Out-of-pocket costs: Any expense that you pay for your covered vision services while you have vision insurance is called an out-of-pocket expense. It simply means that you’re responsible for paying that cost yourself, out of your own pocket. Out-of-pocket costs include what you pay towards your deductible and copays. Vision services that are not covered by your vision insurance plan will also need to be paid out-of-pocket.
As far as the actual cost of vision insurance goes, premiums for vision insurance can start at just $5 per month. Here’s a look at some average costs of vision services in Tennessee and how vision insurance may help you save money:
|The average cost of an eye exam in Tennessee||$157|
|The average cost of glasses frames (not including lenses)||$203 or more|
|The estimated cost of yearly vision services||$499|
|The estimated amount of money you could save with vision insurance||$172|
When is Vision Insurance Worth it?
Whether vision insurance is worth it for you or your family depends on a number of factors. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:
- Do you have a family history of health problems that could affect eye health or vision?
- Do you currently have vision issues?
- Does your prescription change often?
- How often do you wear and purchase new glasses and/or contact lenses?
- What, if any, vision coverage does your health insurance plan offer?
- What additional benefits could vision insurance give you, and at what cost?
In some cases, vision insurance can be worth it for the health benefits alone. Going to the eye doctor isn’t just for people with blurry vision or people who need to get a prescription for glasses. Getting regular eye exams from an eye doctor is actually an important part of preventive healthcare. Visiting your eye doctor annually for routine eye exams can give you an opportunity to detect certain health conditions before they might come up at a visit with your primary care physician. Some of the conditions that eye doctors can detect in their early stages are:
- High cholesterol
- Macular degeneration
- Multiple sclerosis
- Risks of other serious conditions, such as heart disease or stroke
Getting vision insurance can also be worthwhile even if you’re currently enrolled in Medicare or if you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. Original Medicare does not offer coverage for most common vision services, including eye exams, eyeglasses or contact lenses. Medicare Part B may offer coverage for vision services related to conditions such as diabetes or age-related macular degeneration. In these cases, Medicare may offer coverage for eye exams, diagnostic tests and treatment. It may also offer coverage for annual glaucoma tests if you’re at high risk for glaucoma.
Remember, vision service plans are most beneficial when you use network benefits. It’s easy to stray out of network because vendors often don’t advertise their network status in the same way a doctor or dentist would.
To determine whether vision insurance is worth it for you or your family, take all of the factors into consideration. Vision insurance may be especially worthwhile to have if you or your family member visits the eye doctor frequently for vision or eye health issues. Purchasing a plan with eyeglasses or contact lens coverage can also be useful if you purchase those items often.
The Best Vision Insurance in Tennessee
If vision insurance is something that you’re considering, then you need to know about the best vision insurance. The best vision insurance starts with finding a good vision insurance company. One of these companies is bound to have an option that works well for your needs.
Best Overall: VSP
VSP is a great vision insurance company overall because it offers a range of coverage that gives you plenty of options. Individual coverage from VSP starts as low as $13 per month.
With VSP, you’ll be able to choose from its large network of participating eye doctors and practices. Some eye care providers participate in VSP’s Premier Program. If you visit one of these participating providers, you’ll have access to additional vision care benefits, including advanced eye exams.
Another perk of VSP is its Exclusive Member Extras. These extras offer savings and rebates on items such as contact lenses, sunglasses, and lens enhancements.
Best for Value: Humana
Humana is a top insurance provider, including for its vision insurance products. Vision insurance from Humana is simple and easy to understand. You may be able to get a vision insurance plan from Humana that has no deductible, allowing you to start taking advantage of your savings as soon as you need covered vision services.
Humana plans also offers low copays so you can maintain low out-of-pocket costs all throughout your plan year. Copays for annual eye exams can be as low as $15. Humana plans also offer 100% coverage for eyeglass lenses and contact lenses if they’re medically necessary. Copays for eyeglass lenses start at just $15. You may also have an eyeglass frame allowance from Humana for every 12 to 24 months.
Best for Inexpensive Plan: EyeMed
EyeMed is an insurance company to consider if you’re looking for basic vision coverage at a very affordable rate. Its starting plan — EyeMed Healthy — offers coverage for a comprehensive eye exam plus discounts on contact lenses, eyeglass frames and eyeglass lenses. This plan starts at just $5 per month.
EyeMed also offers affordable plans with more coverage. Its EyeMed Bold plan offers coverage for a comprehensive eye exam as well as eyeglass lenses. You’ll also receive a covered allowance for eyeglass frames and contact lenses. If you’re looking for a family plan, EyeMed Bright can give you affordable coverage for all.
Best for Frames: Davis Vision
If you wear glasses daily, finding an insurance company that has great glasses coverage might be your top priority. All of Davis Vision’s plans feature options for fully-covered eyeglasses. These plans also give you access to an exclusive collection of trendy eyeglasses frames.
Davis Vision plans offer coverage for the latest lenses and lens enhancements to give you the best corrective eyewear possible. This includes blue light-blocking technology and light-adaptive technology.
Next Steps for Vision Insurance in Tennessee
If you decide to purchase vision insurance, your next step is to get a quote from the companies on our list. Getting a quote is a free and easy way to compare your vision insurance options and select the best plan for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you buy vision insurance and dental insurance as a package?
You can buy vision and dental insurance as a package, but there are other times when you must purchase them separately.
Does vision offer a frame or lens allowance?
Vision insurance traditionally offers a frame or lens allowance, ensuring that you can spend up to a certain amount on your preferred lenses or frames.