Vision insurance: do you need it?

While good vision is certainly imperative, it may or may not be critical to have vision insurance. Many consumers overprice this coverage and pay too much for it.

To know if you’re getting what you pay for when you buy vision coverage, it’s imperative to know what vision coverage does and doesn’t include. An understanding of the limitations of vision coverage is necessary to determine if you should pay more for coverage.

You should know what the additional coverage will include. Vision coverage covers expenses associated with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Vision or eye insurance will usually cover an eye exam. It may also cover part of the cost of prescription glasses.

You should also know what it does not cover. Vision insurance does not cover expenses associated with eye trauma or diseases affecting the eye. Health insurance will generally cover these health care costs.

Neither your optical insurance nor your medical coverage will likely include coverage for laser eye surgery. Surgery to improve vision is generally specifically excluded by medical coverage policies. This is different from surgery to restore vision.

The standard health care insurance policy will exclude coverage for corrective lenses. Typical health insurance policies do not cover eye exams needed to obtain corrective lenses. Corrective lenses can be prescription contact lenses or prescription glasses.

Medical expenses associated with eye injuries and diseases that affect vision are still paid as part of the health benefit. No eye or vision coverage rider is needed to be covered for eye injuries. Many consumers pay extra for vision or eye coverage because they believe their medical policy won’t cover anything related to vision.

When comparing health coverage policies that include vision or eye insurance, be sure to see how comprehensive your coverage is. Since some eye care insurance policies will only cover the cost of the exam, those policies are less valuable than insurance plans that will not only cover the exam but also pay for the glasses.

Another issue to consider is the availability of eye care professionals. Most vision plans will limit the places you can go for your eye exam to network providers. You need to make sure that there are optometrists or optometrists near you and that you feel comfortable using those optometrists or optometrists.

It’s a waste of money to pay for eye care coverage only to find out that none of the eye doctors in the network are the ones you can or want to see. Consumers often routinely check to make sure their doctors are in the network, but forget to search for dentists and optometrists.

Knowing the value of additional coverage is essential if you are going to make the right decision. If your vision or vision insurance only includes an annual exam, you should call an optometrist and ask how much an eye exam costs. If the policy also pays something for the glasses, you must add that to the cost of the exam. Multiply the cost by the number of family members that will be covered. Then divide that cost by 12 of your policy premiums paid monthly. This will allow you to properly compare the additional cost of having eye or vision coverage with the additional cost of coverage.

Eye insurance is often worth the extra costs, but sometimes it won’t be. People often compare different plans that are otherwise the same and choose the one with vision care coverage without properly weighing the costs and benefits. Now you know how to see the costs and benefits and only pay extra if the extra coverage is worth the extra price.

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