Vision loss severely debilitates the quality of life for many Canadians, preventing patients from working, using smartphones and computers, and basic life experiences that millions of Canadians take for granted. It is a problem that impacts one in seven Canadians who will experience vision disease at some point in their life.
Seventy-five percent of vision diseases and disorders can be prevented with proper health care, but not enough Canadians get proper vision care due to costs. Dr. Bosung Kim of Della Optique in British Columbia, expands on the cost of neglected eye care in this publication.
But what many Canadians don't know is that insurance for vision care in Canada is more affordable than the regular cost of eyeglasses or contact lenses and maintenance.
Discover for yourself how attainable vision care can be for you and explore the best vision care insurance Canada has to offer.
Government Funding for Canada Vision Care Insurance
The funding for vision care comes from the provincial program, depending on your age of course. Every province has its own formula for covering certain vision care needs in the province. For example in Ontario, visits to the Optometrist, and prescription lenses or glasses are only covered under OHIP, and are applicable for those 65 and older or 19 years of age and under. In November of 2021 the Ontario Optometrists Association resolved a dispute with the Ontario Government an Outside regarding the fair payment of OHIP covered visits to the eye doctor. Now folks under 19 and over 65 are eligible again. Outside of those age brackets, you would either be paying out of pocket or be covered under a group benefits or private health care plan to have those services reimbursed.
But most Canadians need to pay extra for vision care. Those costs can be significant if you are one of the one in seven Canadians with an eye disorder or disease.
Most provincial health care programs are very similar in terms, though specifics will vary.
If this isn't enough funding for you, when you are looking for Canadian vision care, pick a vision insurance provider that meets your needs.
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Compare OHIP Terms with Your Province
OHIP mandates are a good example of how the rest of the country operates when covering vision care costs in Canada.
Patients between the ages of 20 and 64 are not covered for eye exams in Ontario. They will have to pay for all services at an optometrist, including eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Patients that are on public assistance, welfare, unemployment, or disability, may have different vision care coverage.
Patients that are older than 65 or younger than 20 are eligible for one routine eye exam every year. If a medical issue arises as a result of those exams, they will be eligible for coverage for whatever follow up appointments might be necessary.
Some eye problems that require extensive care are covered completely provincially. This varies on a case by case and province by province basis.
Macular degeneration, for example, is covered appointment-wise by provincial plans. However, things like eye drops for that disease aren't covered unless they are prescribed and you have prescription drug coverage.
Any little eye problem can be expensive and left ignored, vision disease could change your life.
The best vision care insurance in Canada is found in top private health insurance providers working hard to save you money. If you don't have any vision care insurance, follow our alphabetical breakdown of top providers.
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Blue Vision From Blue Cross
As with most insurance providers, health care insurance is offered in tiers, with the lowest tiers receiving the least amount of coverage and the highest tiers receiving the most.
Blue Vision Global
Blue Vision Global or Express plans are available through Blue Cross, one of the world's most well-known private insurance providers.
Blue Vision Global Plan is the health care plan that provides the most amount of health care coverage to Canadians that need insurance or additional coverage. This plan for vision is available when you apply to Extended health plans, and not through regular health plans.
This coverage includes vision expenses of 100 percent per person on the beneficiary list, with zero deductible. For expenses such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, coverage amounts to $150 dollars every two years.
Some companies require a waiting period before you get benefits, but Blue Cross requires a three month waiting period. You will also be covered for optometrist exams for $50 every two years.
In the Global Plan, visual aids such as patches when deemed necessary are covered, as are ophthalmologist exams.
Blue Vision Express
The Blue Vision Express plan is a basic plan through Blue Cross that offers the most basic vision care insurance in Canada.
The monthly cost is low, but you are not covered at all for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your optometrist visits, however, are covered for everyone that is on your plan every two years.
If you don't anticipate needing eyeglasses but just want to make sure your eyes are healthy once in a while, this is a good option of basic coverage that is there for your basic preventive needs.
Manulife Flex Care and Follow Me
Manulife is another insurance company that offers a tiered method of plans for health care, with add-ons available for vision. The top tier of Manulife health insurance is FlexCare, with an additional tier being FollowMe.
FollowMe is a plan for employees that are leaving their jobs and thus changing health care plans, or losing a plan when they change jobs. Manulife offers Follow Me as a means of bridging a gap to ensure you stay covered in between jobs.
FlexCare is a program that allows you to design your own insurance plan when you are buying private health insurance.
FlexCare is the plan that is going to offer you the most comprehensive amount of coverage. You will get 100 percent coverage with no deductible when it comes to glasses and laser surgery, with a maximum of $250 for eyeglasses every two years.
The coverage that is available with Manulife's Combo Plus Starter plan is a $150 maximum every two years, and the number goes to $250 when you purchase the Enhanced Vision plan.
Elite plans at Manulife can get you $500 every three years for glasses if you purchase the Add-On, and you will be given a $100 maximum for help with laser surgery.
Manulife's FlexCare also gives $70 maximum every two years for an optometrist exam.
There is no waiting period. Once you are approved for the benefits, you can book your eye doctor's exam and buy your glasses on the same day.
Follow Me Plan
The FollowMe Plan at Manulife allows you to maintain health care coverage if you are in between plans, or about to be in between plans or jobs.
This plan gives you 100 percent coverage with zero deductibles, and also offers the Basic, Enhanced, and Enhance Plus plans.
In your Basic plan, you will get $150 per person for every two years and $200 per person on your plan for the Enhanced Plan. In a Premiere Plan, you can get up to $300 per person.
There is $60 coverage for optometrist exams every two years.
There is no waiting period. Once you are approved you can get that eye prescription filled and start trying on some frames if you need them.
Find out more about the Manulife FollowMe plan to see if it is right or your family.
Great West Life (Now Canada Life)
The third most common vision care insurance program in Canada is through Great West Life. Great West Life offers a tiered system as well. Keep in mind however that Great West Life is now The Canada Life Assurance Company, as of January 1, 2020.
The Core Plan, the Core Plus Plan, and the Elite Plan. For all, there is 100 percent coverage with no deductibles and different maximums at each level.
Each level offers $75 maximum for every two years for your optometrist needs. There is no waiting period for vision care.
At the Core Plan level, the maximum is $150 every two years. The Core Plus Plan offers a $200 maximum every two years.
The Elite Plan offers $250 for each person on your plan every two years.
Read more on the overall cost of prescription lenses in Canada.View Article
Save Your Sight
When Canadians think of private health insurance for vision care, the most common names that come up are Manulife, Great West Life (Canada Life), and Blue Cross. You won't find more affordable or better coverage than through any of these companies providing Canadian vision care.
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society notes that 59 percent of the country likely experiences some symptoms of vision disease, and only 54 percent of those seek help for it. That is because government funding for Canada vision care insurance only provides for vision care until a problem has already started.
But an irreversible vision problem can be prevented with regular vision care that begins at any age. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends one eye exam every two years, and annually for folks over 65.
Some optometrists will even offer free first eye exams if you agree to be taken on as their patient. For everything else, you will need to pay upfront, or use a Canadian insurance provider.
Invest in Your Health with Vision Care Insurance
Getting vision care insurance in Canada is easy, and more affordable than you think. You could even be seeing better as soon as next month if you apply online now, and it won't cost you a thing for a series of multiple private health insurance quotes today.
Sleep better tonight, and see better tomorrow when you get a free quote today for vision care insurance Canada.