Vision Care Is About More Than Just Glasses

Over half the population of the U.S. requires vision correction. Should you see your way clear to purchasing vision insurance?

While many people have group health coverage that includes vision care, many don’t. But the cost of eye exams, glasses, and, in some cases, corrective eye surgery can be reduced with vision care insurance for a relatively small monthly premium. Depending on your plan, you can visit an optometrist of your choice or have access to a provider network of dispensing optometrists.

Even if you don’t need glasses, you need eye exams. There are many hidden health problems that can be identified through a regular eye examination. The Mayo Clinic recommends exams every one to two years for adolescents and individuals over 65 and once every five to 10 years for those in their 20s and 30s. If you have a family history of eye problems, you should consider more frequent exams.

Children under three, in particular, should be examined by their pediatricians for early identification of potential problems such as crossed eyes or a lazy eye. Between the ages of three and five, children should undergo a more wide-ranging examination. Stand-alone plans, such as those obtained through an employer, are not required to cover children’s eye care needs. Serious eye conditions in a child are covered under the ACA and are subject to deductibles and copays.

If a problem such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts is discovered during a routine examination, the follow-up isn’t covered under your vision plan; you’ll need to contact your regular health insurer. Medicare does offer some benefits for medical conditions impacting your vision but usually doesn’t pay for routine vision testing. Medicare Advantage or a Medigap plan may provide additional coverage.

Depending on your situation, vision care insurance may be important for you and your family. To assess your options, discuss vision coverage with your insurance agent.