Do I Need Vision Insurance?

Written by Dr. David Evans   Last modified on April 9, 2019

Insurance offers a safeguard against the potential high costs associated with unexpected events. We insure our cars and homes against damage and theft, and to limit personal liabilities. And we insure our health to safeguard against illness, disease and injury. Some insurance policies can be costly and many people are in a position of having to prioritize one form over another.

With that in mind let me pose a question to you: do you have vision insurance?

Filling out a generic vision insurance form

What Exactly is Vision Insurance?

With most types of insurance, there is a deductible attached that, once exceeded, you are no longer required to pay for care or service. Vision insurance is different in that it has no deductible, meaning that in each case the patient is responsible for some portion of the cost. In this sense it’s perhaps better to think of vision insurance as more of a discount savings plan.

Vision insurance also tends to be far more limited in scope than other types of insurance policies, providing coverage only for the more preventive, everyday care aspects of eye health. Vision insurance policies may offer discounts for corrective services such as LASIK and PRK, but your out-of-pocket expenses are still likely to be substantial. Your average vision insurance policy typically covers things like eye exams, eyeglass frames and prescription lenses, and contact lenses. And there are significant savings to be had when it comes to these types of services. For example, if you have a standard Vision Service Plan (VSP) — which as it happens is the largest provider of vision insurance in the U.S. — you could save more than $150 for a basic eye exam. If you wear eyeglasses, you could save $200 or more to replace the frames and lenses.

What about Cataracts, Glaucoma and Other Eye Health Issues?

Vision insurance plans do not provide coverage for eye health issues like cataract surgery, treatment for glaucoma, etc. These treatments can be extremely expensive and require ongoing care. Fortunately, these sorts of treatments are often covered through general health insurance plans; which underscores the importance of having basic health insurance first and foremost to protect, not only your overall health, but also to help cover the costs related to eye disease.

The Cost of Vision Insurance Coverage

The cost of vision insurance varies depending on a variety of factors including things like where you live, your age, and whether or not an employer offers coverage as a benefit. Generally speaking, vision insurance premiums cost less than $20 per month. This might not seem like a lot of money, but for families on tight budgets or young people with perfect vision, it may be viewed as a non-essential cost.

So Should You Carry Vision Insurance?

The bottom line is that vision insurance isn’t an essential coverage and isn’t necessarily beneficial to everyone, but it can also be a huge cost saver for people dealing with myopia, hyperopia or other mild vision issues.

I’ve worn daily contact lenses and eyeglasses for more than 35 years, the cost of which certainly adds up over that time. For me, vision insurance has been a significant cost saver and well worth the modest monthly premium.

If you’re interested in learning more about whether or not vision insurance is right for you, you can check out the VSP website or contact other insurance carriers for more information.