Much like other healthcare costs, vision care expenses continue to soar. So people who need corrective steps such as prescription glasses or contact lenses constantly wonder whether they are covered or not under their existing health insurance plans.

Unfortunately, there is no one cut-and-dried answer that fits all. Vision coverage terms and conditions vary, depending on the plan you have signed up for. So before shelling out for prescription eyeglasses look carefully at your plan to see if you have vision coverage.

Most medical insurance plans cover eye care and vision issues that stem from eye injuries due to accidents or diseases. But they do not cover routine eye care or prescription eye wear. Simply put, most health insurance plans do not cover eyeglasses unless you have opted for additional vision insurance.

How Do I Add Vision Insurance?

Adding vision insurance is not a complicated process. Just make sure that you know exactly what you need and understand all the terms of the vision insurance policy before you sign up. If you get health insurance through your employer and are part of a group insurance plan, read your policy carefully. You might already have vision benefits. If not, you are likely to have the option of adding vision coverage to your plan. For private health insurance policies, you can as easily add a vision coverage rider to your existing plan.

You can also opt for a discount vision plan, which will cover you for certain routine procedures such as annual eye exams and prescription eyeglasses, for a fixed membership fee. These plans usually have a pre-set limit of coverage.

Regardless of the type of vision coverage you get, you are likely to have access to a pre-determined network of vision service providers that include eye doctors and surgeons, as well as coverage and discounts for prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses.

How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?

Routine eye care and prescription eyeglasses can be very expensive, especially if you have a large family. Vision insurance will obviously add to your budget but it often pays for itself in the long run. If you and your family require eye care that is not covered by your basic health insurance policy, you should carefully consider getting vision coverage.

Depending on the plan you choose, you are likely to get a vision insurance bill of approximately $150 per individual per year. This number will vary depending on your company’s contributory plans, your state of residence, and your insurance company. If you are getting insurance through your employer, they might pay a percentage of the bill.

Most plans will also have a deductible and a low co-pay. Since every plan is different, make sure you read the fine print carefully.

What Does Vision Insurance Cover?

Besides annual eye exams and screenings for cataract and glaucoma, vision insurance covers policyholders for eyeglass fittings, lenses, and frames. Additionally, the plans usually cover contact lenses and contact lens exams. Patients also get discounts towards corrective laser eye surgery.

But much like any other forms of insurance, there are many caveats and exemptions. Some insurance providers set limits in their policies. For instance, they only cover a set amount for eyeglass lenses and frames, so designer frames might not be covered. Additionally, you might be allowed to get new glasses every alternate year.

How do I Get The Most Out of My Vision Insurance?

Following certain rules will help you save money as you use your vision plan. Always remember that remaining in network is essential to get the full benefit of your plan. So check your benefits information for approved doctors before scheduling an appointment.

Also talk to your vision care professional about your insurance plan. Since most insurance companies need pre-authorization for your eye exam, have your doctor confirm coverage. This will help you avoid any unpleasant billing surprises later. Confirm all co-pay and deductible requirements before going for your eye exam. When choosing your eyeglass frames, ask your optician about covered options. This is important if your insurance company has set limits on your prescription frames.

Another great resource for prescription frames and contact lenses is online vendors. As you shop the vast selection online, contact your chosen websites and ask them if they accept your vision insurance. Given that most online sites provide attractive savings as compared to retail stores, you might score an amazing deal.