Many regular health insurance plans cover costs for treatment related to eye disease or injury to the eye. However, the cost of routine eye exams, glasses, contacts and corrective lenses is generally not covered. To obtain coverage for these services, a vision insurance policy would be required.
Most vision insurance plans cover basic eye-related services like annual eye exams, eyeglass frames, eyeglass lenses, contact lenses, and photorefractive keratectomy and laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy procedures, albeit at a discounted rate.
Some plans contract with certain eye-care professionals to provide services, while other plans allow insureds to use any eye-care provider at a discounted rate. Many of the vision care plans that are offered by vision insurance companies are preferred provider organizations (PPOs). In these plans, there is a network of eye-care providers through which the member may receive a discounted rate. With the PPO vision care plan, the member may see eye-care providers that are outside of the PPO network, but they will likely be required to pay a higher out-of-pocket amount.
Some companies offer stand-alone or individual vision insurance plans. And discounted vision-related services may also be found through a vision discount plan. However, these are not insurance policies but rather membership plans that offer their members discounted eye exams, eyeglasses and frames, and contact lenses. Prior to purchasing a vision insurance plan, be sure that it covers all needed services.