Bills Logo Team
UpdatedNov 14, 2010
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    2 min read
Key Takeaways:
  • Review the types of vision insurance available.
  • Consider coverage offered through your employer, if it is available.

Should I have Vision Insurance?

Vision insurance can be an important component of your overall health insurance coverage. A high percentage of Americans wear glasses. Because vision insurance is relatively inexpensive, it may make good sense for you to purchase coverage. If you or your family have a history of needing glasses, it makes even more sense for you to have vision insurance.

If your employer offers a subsidized vision insurance policy, you should consider it as your first option. It may require only a very small monthly contribution from you.

Vision insurance is relatively straight-forward. Similar to other types of medical care, you can choose from a variety of insurance options.

Types of Vision Insurance Plans

  • Indemnity Plan - You get to choose your eye-care provider with an indemnity plan. You pay a monthly premium and your insurance company covers a percentage of your care. Coverage varies from provider to provider.
  • Group Insurance Plans - Most group vision insurance plans are Vision Preferred Provider Option (VPPO) plans. In a VPPO, your eye care is cheapest when you go to a care provider that is a member of the PPO network. You are not restricted to seeing care providers that are members of the network. However, if you seek care outside of the network, you will likely pay a higher percentage of the costs for your care. You pay the cost up-front for outside the network care and have to request reimbursement from your PPO. The VPPO network members provide eye-care services at a reduced rate, due to the size of the network.

Costs and Coverage

There are two main factors for you to consider, when shopping for vision insurance, which care providers you can see and what kind of care and treatment is covered.

You should investigate your access to eye-care providers. Your policy may restrict you to certain optometrists and ophthalmologists. Check to see if you will have access to someone in your geographical area.

Secondly, you want to know what events are covered and what kind of subsidies the policy offers for eye-care products. Standard items for you to review are the costs and availability of eye exams, screenings for glaucoma, and refractive eye surgery (laser surgery). You also want to know how much the policy pays towards eyeglasses and contact lenses. In addition to the costs, you want to determine how often you can replace your glasses while having the costs covered by your policy.

While your exposure to high costs for vision care are far less than for standard health care, you should consider purchasing vision insurance as part of your family's insurance portfolio. It could save you money each and every year, especially if you wear glasses.