Most people agree that health insurance is a must-have. However, when it comes to vision insurance, people often wonder if there is actual value in having it. Vision problems are one of the most common conditions that Americans live with. In fact, 12 million adults over the age of 40 suffer from some type of vision impairment. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s estimated that by 2030 the number of people experiencing blindness or visual impairment will double unless corrective treatment is utilized.
Vision insurance helps you stay on top of vision problems and catch potentially serious conditions early. To learn more about what vision insurance is and why vision insurance is valuable, keep reading!
What is vision insurance?
Vision insurance is a type of insurance that helps eliminate or reduce the cost of eye exams, eyeglasses, and contacts. Like other types of insurance, you can get vision insurance through your employer or by purchasing an individual plan. Employer-sponsored plans offer various plans and coverage options each year during open enrollment periods. If your employer doesn’t offer vision, you can choose an individual plan that fits your coverage needs.
Vision insurance vs. health insurance
Knowing when to use your vision insurance and when to use your health insurance can be a little tricky. Think of health insurance as your eye-care coverage for medical conditions like injuries and diseases.
In comparison, vision insurance covers routine vision-related problems. Vision insurance benefits individuals with refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia) that need to see a doctor or purchase corrective lenses. It’s also beneficial for individuals who want to regularly check their vision by seeing an optometrist for an eye exam.
In general, most vision insurance plans include the following benefits:
- Annual vision exams
- Eyeglass frames
- Eyeglass lenses
- Contact lenses
- Contact lens fitting
Value of vision insurance
If you already have health insurance, you may be inclined to think that you don’t need supplemental vision coverage. However, it’s important to consider the additional services and discounts you get with a vision plan that you would otherwise pay out of pocket for. Consider the following benefits of vision insurance the next time you ask yourself “is vision insurance worth it?”
Discounted services: With your vision plan, you can access discounted vision exams, glasses, and contacts. According to Vision Service Plan, the national average cost for an eye exam is $206. Say your basic vision plan reduces cost by 30 percent and costs you five dollars per month. With your new discounted exam price of $145, you’re already saving money with just the eye exam, not considering the additional savings you’ll receive on glasses and contacts.
Vision preservation: If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, you know that your prescription can change over time. Annual trips to the optometrist are vital to get your prescription checked and avoid any damage that comes with eye strain. Even if you don’t wear corrective lenses, eye exams are essential for preserving your vision and safeguarding your eye health.
Catch diseases: Even if you are among the minority of Americans who don’t wear glasses or contacts, there are some diseases that your optometrist routinely screens for. Regular check-ups can help detect diseases and injuries like the ones below:
- High cholesterol
- Some forms of cancer
Low monthly premium: Vision plans are generally low in cost, costing, on average, $5–$15 per month. For individuals needing annual exams, contacts, or eyewear, this small monthly cost is worth the amount they save with the reduced costs.