For many people health insurance isn’t available through their work and even when it is it may not include a vision insurance plan. Find out more about where to get a vision insurance plan that is right for you and your family.
Group Vision Insurance Plans
Group vision insurance can be obtained through your company, association, school district, etc., or through a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid.
If you are not eligible for a group plan because you are self-employed or for other reasons, most vision insurance providers also offer policies that you can purchase individually.
Vision insurance often is a value-added benefit linked to indemnity health insurance, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) that have contracted with managed vision care networks to provide eye care services.
Indemnity Health Insurance Plan
Indemnity health insurance is traditional health insurance that allows policyholders access to medical providers of their choice.
An HMO is a group of healthcare providers — doctors, laboratories, hospitals and the like — employed to provide health care to plan members at discounted rates. Usually, plan members are required to access health care (including vision care) only from HMO providers.
A PPO is a network of healthcare providers organized to provide healthcare services to health plan members at a fixed rate below retail prices. Plan members may opt to access out-of-network providers, but usually at a greater cost.
When you buy a vision insurance plan, you receive the following benefits:
- Access to a network of providers, including optometrists and ophthalmologists, eyewear stores, optical laboratories and LASIK surgeons
- Routine, preventive eye care services at reduced rates
What kinds of vision insurance plans are available?
Vision insurance plans typically come in the form of either a vision benefits package or a discount vision plan.
Typically, a vision benefits package provides free eye care services and eyewear within fixed dollar amounts in exchange for an annual premium or membership fee and a relatively small co-pay (fixed dollar amount) each time you access a service.
A discount vision plan, on the other hand, provides eye care and eyewear at discounted rates after you pay an annual premium or membership fee.
In some cases, a vision benefits package or discount vision plan may also include a “deductible” — a fixed dollar amount you must pay your eye care provider out-of-pocket before the insurance benefits take effect.
Both kinds of vision insurance can be custom-designed to meet the requirements of a wide range of customers, including school districts, unions, and big and small companies.
Vision plans generally cover or provide discounts on the following products and services:
- Annual eye examinations
- Eyeglass frames
- Eyeglass lenses (including lens coatings and enhancements)
- Contact lenses
- Discounted rates for LASIK and PRK
Also, reputable vision insurance providers should have quality assurance and member satisfaction services to answer your questions and help you resolve any disputes or issues you have with an eye care practitioner in your plan’s network.