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Do I Really Need Vision Insurance?

on 26 May, 2019

Two-thirds of Americans aged 18 or over use glasses and contact lenses. Some use a combination of both. So vision insurance is something they might find useful. 

But by 2050, the number of people with eye impairment issues in America is set to double. And as we age our vision gradually deteriorates.

This means learning about vision insurance now could be useful for anyone. One day soon you might need to use it! 

But in order to answer the question “Do I need vision insurance?” you’ll need to know a bit more about it. Unlike health or life insurance, it isn’t always on people’s radar. And it might not be exactly what you think! 

Read on to find out all about vision insurance, its cost and whether or not it could benefit you! 

How Does Vision Insurance Work? 

Vision insurance is a great way to keep your eye care costs low. 

It works like any other insurance. You pay a premium to your insurance company and in exchange, they will cover your costs. In this case, they will cover the cost of your eye care. 

However, unlike home insurance or health insurance, you will definitely need to use it. This is because eye care is something you have to do on a regular basis. So it’s a cost you know you’re going to have.

If you have vision insurance you don’t pay for any of your eye tests or exams. It also covers the cost of your eyewear, although there may be an excess on this. For example, it will cover: 

  • Glasses lenses
  • Glasses frames
  • Lens protection (e.g. scratch resistance) 
  • Contact lenses

Some plans will even cover additional pairs of glasses, like prescription sunglasses. This is because sunglasses are a preventative measure for protecting your eyes.

Your vision insurance might also give you discounts on corrective eye surgeries. But this will vary depending on your policy.

How Much Does It Cost? 

Vision insurance costs vary depending on the provider. But you can usually find it for less than $20 dollars a month. 

If your vision insurance is $16, then that’s an upfront cost of $192 a year.

It’s also worth checking to see if your employer offers vision insurance as a benefit. Or some dental insurance offers it as a combined plan. It’s worth looking into these options as well to find the best price.

It can be hard to answer the question ‘is vision insurance worth it?’ To figure this out you have to compare the cost of insurance against your eye care costs. But this will depend a lot on your eyes’ health. 

Do I Need Vision Insurance? 

 You can figure out whether or not you need vision insurance by looking at your current eyewear habits. And it’s also worth looking at trends for the future. 

Anyone who regularly attends eye care exams can enjoy vision insurance benefits. This is because to make it financially worth it, you need to require a certain level of eye care. 

Anyone with chronically poor vision will need more frequent eye monitoring through routine exams. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you fall into this category.

This is also true of anyone who has a family history of eye disease. Certain eye conditions can also increase the risk of eye disease.

As you get older you’ll also need more eye examinations too. According to the Mayo Clinic, after the age of 55 you should have eye examinations at least once a year. This is even if your vision is good.

And after the age of 70, the likelihood of vision impairment dramatically increases. This means you’ll need to go in more often.

If you’re going to go in for routine examinations regularly, then vision insurance is a good idea. 

How Can Vision Insurance Save You Money?

People who have regular eye examinations can definitely save money using vision insurance. This is down to simple maths. 

You might pay around $200 a year in vision insurance. This is roughly the same as a new patient eye exam. Or a regular one costs around $130. 

So for one eye exam a year, you’ve already met a large portion of your vision insurance cost. And that’s without any glasses or contact lenses. 

Glasses can vary hugely from $50 to $1000 in price. Or ten boxes of contact lenses will cost between $200 and $260. That’s enough reusable lenses to last you a year. 

Now you can see how the cost of all this adds up. This is how vision insurance could save you money.

If you’re having more than one eye exam a year then you do need vision insurance. It’s definitely worth it. But if you’re only having one and don’t use glasses or lenses, it might not be. 

So to assess things properly you should look at your eye care costs per year.

Let’s Be Clear On What It Covers and What It Doesn’t

This is an important rule for any insurance policy. 

Your health insurance won’t cover you for the same stuff as vision insurance. So don’t make the mistake of thinking it will. This is why it’s a separate policy. 

Some health insurance packages will offer you one eye examination a year. However, they’re usually pretty strict on who this is with.

For example, the policy might specify it has to be with a general practitioner. This person won’t be able to properly monitor or advise on your eye care. It’s better to see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. 

But vision insurance also won’t cover you for eye-related emergencies. These could include acute glaucoma or a scratched cornea.

Fortunately, your health insurance policy should cover this. But it’s important to be familiar with all your policies. You don’t want to find yourself caught short and owing thousands of dollars! 

Are There Alternatives to Vision Insurance? 

You might want to check out some of the alternatives to vision insurance when deciding if it’s right for you. 

Shopping around online might save you money on glasses and contact lenses. So the only big cost you’ll have is for your eye exams. 

If you can keep this lower than your annual insurance bill then this makes sense as an alternative.

You might also want to check out some vision discount plans. These give you money off your vision care when you pay a monthly subscription. 

However, you’ll still have to cover some of the cost of your eye care and wear. So again you need to do the maths to find out what will actually be cheaper in the long run.  

Where To Find Vision Insurance

If you’ve decided that vision insurance is the right thing for you, then the next step is to find a good deal! 

You need a provider who will cover your area and specialists who work within it. You don’t want to have to travel for ages to get to your eye care appointments. Especially if you have them regularly! 

You can put your ZIP code into provider sites to make sure they’ll cover you. 

And you need to know they’ll also cover the specialist you want to see. This is particularly important if you see the specialist regularly. 

For the best eye care, you want to see the same optometrist each time. That way they’ll be able to properly monitor changes in your eye. This is especially important if you are likely to experience any eye disease. 

Information about who is and isn’t covered is available in the provider’s directory. But if you have any questions contacting them directly can help. 

Finally, keep an eye on when your next exam is due. Or when you need to get more contact lenses. 

Some insurance policies will have wait periods before they set in. So if you need to use your vision insurance soon then you’ll need one that doesn’t have a long wait period. 

You can start your hunt by getting a quote from the insurance company of your choosing!

The Bottom Line

The only person who can accurately answer the question ‘Do I need vision insurance?’ is you. This is because the benefits of vision insurance depend on your individual eye care needs.

If you are going to need regular eye care appointments then it could save you hundreds of dollars! And with age or a family history of poor vision, this will become more likely. 

To find out more information about vision insurance, get in touch today to speak to one of our insurance advisors.

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