From specialist medical insurance to all-in-one health insurance plans, the American healthcare and insurance industry is one of the world’s most diverse and confusing. Certain insurers offer care for a small range of different medical issues and treatments, while others specialize in generic healthcare, elective and cosmetic surgeries, and even specialist hearing and vision insurance.
Yes, vision insurance is a major industry within the United States, one that millions of people rely on for adequate visual care and attention. Many vision insurance customers are covered by a large employer, while many more pay for the service independently. Covering everything from smaller eye and vision-related issues to full surgeries, vision insurance is a very important service.
Yet it’s also one of the United States’ most frequently misunderstood insurance services, causing an incredible amount of frustration for thousands of consumers every week. Some are in need of a full vision insurance plan for their lasik surgery or recurring sight problems, while others are tied to the plan issued by their insurer. Either way – it’s certainly not the easiest insurance plan to manage.
This simple guide explains how you can find affordable vision insurance in the United States, how you can negotiate with your vision insurer for a better deal, and how you can talk to your employer about adding vision coverage to your company insurance plan. For small sight issues, major vision problems, or just one-off surgery, remember that vision insurance is an incredibly important service.
The Different Types of Vision Insurance Plan
As with other forms of insurance, either medical or built around physical item coverage, a variety of plans are available for vision insurance customers. Some are quite specialized, offing coverage only for expenses related to maintaining or improving vision. On the other hand, many are part of a more generic all-round health insurance scheme, offering limited vision insurance services.
The type of plan you’ll likely purchase depends on both your current healthcare insurance, the type of health or medical insurance that your employer offers, and your financial status and eyesight care requirements. People with problematic vision – recurring sight problems, eye infections, or surgery complications, are likely to want to invest in a comprehensive individual vision insurance policy.
This policy is typically separate from that offered by an employer, as it deals with specialist vision issues that aren’t generally covered in an employer’s generic health plan. Unlike standard medical insurance, there is no obligation for an employer to provide specialist vision insurance. If you need specialist vision insurance, consult with your employer for details on a sponsored or combined plan.
Alternatively, standard benefits healthcare plans may include vision insurance. This type of plan is typically paid for out of an employee’s recurring paycheck, with a small portion of their monthly or wage-based paycheck going towards coverage. These plans are paid out of your pre-tax income – a source of year-end tax savings and other minor financial benefits for employees.
Finally, ‘cafeteria-style’ vision insurance plans are available from a number of insurers. These types of policy are typically issued by an employer in a similar manner to that of a standard plan. In place of a monthly paycheck deduction for recurring service, these plans are accounted for by subtracting a small amount of each paycheck, which can subsequently be used to purchase a la carte service.
The Cost of Vision Insurance
Like other types of health insurance, vision insurance’s costs can vary dramatically depending on the overall health of the person applying, the type of policy that’s applied for, and the amount and type of service that’s required. Plans that cover almost all vision-related surgeries and expenses on an event-based or low-excess basis are generally quite expensive for individuals and contractors.
However, when paid for in part or in full by an employer, vision insurance is generally quite cheap and affordable. Basic plans that cover only essential surgery and ongoing expenses are deducted in a fairly simple manner, with employees paying out in a similar manner to the way health insurance plans are managed. These plans generally do not cover elective vision-based surgery choices.
Finally, the ‘cafeteria-style’ plans that are popular amongst employers today tend to be priced in line with other private specialist healthcare options. As employees are free to ‘pick and choose’ their eye and vision related options, these plans can often be quite affordable. Users can opt to pay for glasses or prescription lenses out of their cafeteria-style vision insurance plan at a nominal fee.
For children and workers from low-income families, the American charity VSP Vision Care offers a selection of low-cost eyeglasses and vision insurance packages. This non-profit healthcare outfit has a network of providers within the United States that specialize in eyesight and eye care for younger children, particularly those that are beginning elementary school or are currently in kindergarten.
Parents that otherwise can’t afford vision insurance are urged to speak with a VSP Vision Care rep in order to arrange eyesight testing and a potential insurance plan for their children. Though Sight For Students – its own independent charity – VSP Vision Care provides free eye insurance to over five-hundred-thousand children and low-income families throughout the United States.
Why Is Vision Insurance Necessary?
As with other recurring medical expenses, there’s a small portion of the population that’s convinced that vision insurance is an unnecessary expense. While it’s certainly true that many American adults are medically sound and fit to work without vision care, a sizable portion of the nation’s work force is forced to deal with recurring vision issues, often without access to affordable medical care.
As such, it’s important that you protect yourself – and your children – from the risk of being unable to work due to recurring vision issues. It’s also important that you protect yourself from the cost of recurring healthcare and eyesight-related purchases in the future. While vision insurance isn’t quite essential, it’s a service that many Americans rely on for financially sound eyesight and eye care.