Your vision is a critical component of your overall health, and seeing your eye doctor for regular checkups and necessary treatments is important to your well being. Vision insurance can be confusing if you don’t use it regularly, but don’t let that stop you from caring for your eyes. Here are five things you should know about your vision insurance.
BASICS OF VISION INSURANCE
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Vision insurance typically isn’t included in standard health care plans and instead stands on its own. On the surface, vision care plans are similar health care plans. With indemnity health insurance, you can decide which doctors to visit. With a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), your plan subscribes to a network of doctors. With a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you subscribe to a network but can pay a fee to visit other doctors. Once you’ve decided on a plan, you pay a monthly premium for your coverage, and you receive access to vision care at specific frequencies. Be sure you understand how often your plan allows you to visit an optometrist or get new glasses.
HOW TO ACCESS PROVIDERS
When you’re shopping around for vision insurance providers, consider checking with your employer first to determine whether you can include vision care in your health plan. If you’ve purchased a healthcare plan through the federal marketplace, you can often add vision care to an existing plan. If neither of these situations applies to you, you’ll need to purchase a plan through a private insurance provider.
All vision care plans are different, but the majority include a standard set of benefits. Even the most basic plans cover regular eye exams. Instead of covering any prescription glasses or contact lenses you might need, though, some basic plans only offer a discount off of these items. Many plans also offer discounts for laser surgery to correct your vision. More extensive plans cover serious issues, like treatment for glaucoma and cataracts or eye surgery for a range of reasons.
WHAT USUALLY ISN’T COVERED
Like standard health care plans, HMO and PPO vision care plans require you to seek treatment from an in-network doctor in order to receive your insurance benefits. Seeing an out-of-network doctor often isn’t covered, which means you’ll be personally responsible for all fees related to your visit. If you receive extras or unplanned treatments during your visit, or if you choose corrective lenses a step or two above the basics, you might also be responsible for paying the difference.
Pricing for vision care insurance varies widely, depending on the coverage you’ve selected and whether your employer is subsidizing it. You might have as little as $5 per month deducted from your paycheck for basic insurance, or you could pay up to $50 per month to cover your entire family. Before you choose a plan, though, be sure you understand the additional costs incorporated into your plan. You may have to cover a co-payment when you visit your optometrist, ranging from $10 to $50 per visit. If you need eye surgery, your provider may pay a percentage, a flat rate, or nothing at all. Whether your eyes are high or low maintenance, it’s important to keep them healthy. With vision insurance, you can make sure your eyes covered for everyday care and unexpected situations alike.