You’ve insurance for your car, your home, your general health, but do you have vision insurance? Vision health insurance is becoming a very popular insurance option, allowing you to essentially “finance” your vision expenditures and spread them out over the course of the year.
Vision insurance is very much different from other types of insurance, mostly health insurance, in that the costs related to protecting and optimizing your eyesight are relatively fixed. An annual checkup costs only so much money, and contacts or glasses are purchased every couple years. With the exception of emergencies, most of which are covered by your existing health insurance, not your eye insurance, vision costs are very much standardized. The good news is that with a vision health insurance policy, your vision needs will be covered with an allowance for glasses and contacts every year or every two years. These plans allow you to make regular monthly payments in exchange for glasses, contacts, eyecare and discounts on major medical care when you need it.
Types of Vision Insurance
There are two types of vision insurance. The first kind is of the benefits variety, while another is based on in-network discounts.
Benefits packages most frequently provide free eye care checkups and basic medical attention as well as eyewear (glasses or contacts, sometimes both) up to a certain dollar amount per year. The insured person then makes a very small monthly or annual premiums as well as a small co-pay at the time of care. Some companies are moving toward full-coverage plans, where with a regular monthly payment, every eye car need is met by the insurance company with zero co-payments and high eyewear allowances.
A discount plan, on the other hand, operates very much like a PPO for health insurance where the patient can go to any in-network eye clinic and receive care at a discount. These plans are usually far less expensive than benefits packages since they offer only discounts, not actual payments against the cost of your care.
The following services are standard in eye policies: annual eye examination, frames for glasses, lenses, contacts, and discounts for large expenditures like LASIK or other corrective surgery.
Maximizing Financial Benefits
The explosion in the number of insurance options is largely attributed to the tax benefits of insurance versus cash payments. Because insurance is purchased with pre-tax dollars, and employers generally subsidize the full premium payment, employees have an incentive to maximize the amount of insurance they purchase. If it is assumed that you are going to spend $500 per year on eyewear, and are in a 28% tax bracket, the difference between insurance at $45 per month and paying out of pocket with post-tax dollars is a savings of $100 per year with full coverage insurance. Your savings may also be maximized without insurance through a flexible savings plan. These plans allow you to save pre-tax dollars for medical and vision expenses in a separate account which can be used only at clinics, pharmacies, and certain providers. Generally, it is most advantageous to purchase insurance if your employer subsidizes the cost, or use an FSA if the cost is not subsidized.
A final, and important consideration is your choice among clinics and providers. Before purchasing either a discount plan or full insurance, ask to see the list of providers who are considered to be “in-network.” If you find that your preferred provider is not available, or that the clinics listed are not up to your standard, or inconvenient, you may be best to use a flexible spending account or seek indemnity eye insurance.
Vision Insurance Quotes
Millions of people require corrective lenses, whether they are glasses or contacts. These items can be expensive but are imperative for proper sight. You cannot operate a motor vehicle unless your vision is correct. An eye test is administered before an individual can get their drivers license. Not only that, but good vision is crucial for a good quality of life. For these reasons, you should consider getting vision insurance quotes if you don’t already have vision insurance. The Internet makes it easy to get quotes from many different companies and even discount plans.
The first thing you should do is research free vision insurance quotes online. You should find many pages that offer quotes. All you need to to is submit a simple form, after which you will be presented with estimates on how much your vision insurance is going to cost. In many cases, vision insurance is an add-on to a regular health insurance policy. You may be able to find insurance that is only for vision, however having it as part of a more comprehensive policy is common. If you are looking for vision insurance quotes and can’t find what you are looking for, consider an eye care discount plan.
Discount plans are accepted at many eye doctors’ offices. These plans usually take a percentage off the price of your exam, glasses or contacts. You get a discount card that entitles you to a certain price depending on what kind of plan you have. It is important that you make sure your preferred eye doctor takes the insurance and/or discount plan you are considering. Many eye doctors do accept vision insurance, especially from large insurance companies. If you have a smaller insurance company or lesser known discount plan, check with your eye doctor to make sure they accept it before signing up.
When searching on the Internet, you can find brokers who get you multiple quotes from different companies. This enables you to choose the company and the policy that best suits your needs without going over your budget. If you get annual eye exams, wear glasses or contact lenses, vision insurance is important. Also, if you ever get an eye injury, the insurance should cover treatment. This might include things like debris in the eye, eye infections, scratched corneas and more. Injuries can be expensive to treat, so you will be glad to have vision insurance coverage if such an unfortunate event occurs.
In some cases, vision insurance also covers eye surgeries for conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. When getting vision insurance quotes, you should look to see if these conditions are covered and if there is a deductible. The deductible is the amount paid out of pocket before the insurance picks up the remainder of the cost. It should be noted that some things, like colored contact lenses and LASIK surgery, are usually not covered under any vision plan as they are not considered medically necessary.