Best Vision Insurance Companies

How to choose the right insurance company if you have vision issues

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You may presume that if you have a policy in place to cover healthcare expenses, it includes vision insurance. However, most health insurance plans don’t cover eye care benefits, and you’ll need a separate vision insurance plan to cover the cost of eye exams, prescription glasses, and contact lenses. 

If you are one of the 194 million people who use vision correction in the United States, having vision insurance means access to affordable eye care. A comprehensive eye exam, plus the price of frames and lenses run about $550, and without insurance, you’ll need to cover the full cost. A vision insurance plan will lower your costs, often more than paying for itself.

If you're thinking about purchasing a vision insurance plan, we looked at 18 options and considered factors like company reputation, plan availability, premium cost, coverage, the waiting period before benefits are paid, and more. Keep reading to see which companies made the list of our best vision insurance companies.

The Best Vision Insurance Companies of 2021

Best Overall : Vision Service Plan


Vision Service Plan

 Vision Service Plan

Why We Chose It: We chose Vision Service Plan for our overall vision insurance pick because they are the largest vision insurance provider in the country and have an impressive portfolio of vision care plans with low copays and high allowances.

What We Like
  • Wide choice of plans

  • Extensive network

  • Long-standing reputation

  • Competitive pricing

  • Low copays

  • Generous allowances

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot combine with Medicaid plans

Vision Service Plan (VSP) began in 1955 and has steadily grown to become the largest vision insurer in the United States with over 88 million members worldwide and more than 40,000 network doctors. With its multiple plans, flexible coverage, and different price points, VSP is our overall pick. 

VSP has a financial stability rating of A from AM Best and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for their client satisfaction.

Monthly premiums start at $13 with a low copay of $15 for an eye exam and $25 for basic lenses. This policy covers up to $150 for new frames or contact lenses, which increases to $200 for specific brands. You can customize your plan with add-ons such as scratch-resistant and anti-glare coatings or progressive lenses for an additional fee.

Although policies won’t cover the full cost of a Lasik procedure, they provide a 20-25% discount coupon. There are also discounts for people with diabetes who may experience difficulties with their vision.

VSP offers its standard plan across the country, but the availability of other offerings depends on your state. You can enroll at any time and benefits kick-in as early as the following day.  

The webpage doesn’t provide specific information about age restrictions for coverage; however, it states their plans are ideal for seniors and retirees. On the downside, people enrolled in Medicaid may be disappointed that they cannot also combine some of the VSP policy benefits. For example, if you use a VSP eyewear credit and still have an outstanding amount to pay, you can’t pay it with Medicaid credit, and instead, you must pay out-of-pocket.

Best For Lasik : UnitedHealthcare


United Healthcare

  United Healthcare

Why We Chose It: UnitedHealthcare is the best pick for Lasik because it offers the largest discount in the industry of up to 35% toward the procedure.

What We Like
  • Generous discount for Lasik surgery

  • No age restrictions

  • No waiting period

  • Low-cost copays

  • Excellent reputation

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in all states

  • Some states don’t allow cancellations in the first year

UnitedHealthcare is the largest health insurance company in the United States, with an extensive network of 80,000 providers across 44 states and a financial rating of A from AM Best. They offer a generous discount of up to 35% for Lasik surgery, providing you use members of the Laser Vision Network of America, which is why it’s our top choice for best for Lasik.

Vision policies are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance and are not available in Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia.

Both the available vision insurance plans have no waiting period. Plan A is tailored for people who use either glasses or contact lenses, with premiums around the $12 mark per month. Plan B provides allowances for both glasses and contact lenses, with premiums of around $16 per month. Policies have varying levels of coverage for contact lenses or eyeglass lenses and frames. 

With both plans, annual eye exams have a $10 copay and provide an in-network allowance of $150 for frames, or up to $75 out-of-network, plus $10 copay for lenses and $0 copay for contact lenses.

There are also discounts for bundling other UnitedHealthcare insurance products like health or dental policies.

Best For Budget : Direct Vision Insurance


Direct Vision Insurance

 Direct Vision Insurance

Why We Chose It: Direct Vision Insurance offers low-cost policies starting at a reasonable $9 per month, making it the ideal choice for our best budget choice.

What We Like
  • Low-cost policy options

  • Flexible plans

  • Online quotes

  • No waiting period

  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee

What We Don't Like
  • Enrollment fee of $25

  • Not available in all states

Direct Vision Insurance may not be as well-known as some other providers, but it’s backed by Ameritas Insurance, an industry leader with an A rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from Standard & Poor’s. 

Available plans start at just $9 per month, and they also offer discounts on eyeglasses, frames, and Lasik, which is why Direct Vision is the leader of our best for budget category.

Direct Vision offers plans to people aged 18 and older through their partners VSP and EyeMed. The plans have two tiers, both of which provide an annual eye exam for a $15 copay. Both plans offer the same benefits of a $150 allowance for frames or contact lenses and a $25 copay for single, bifocal or trifocal lenses. The difference between the tiers is the basic plan provides the allowance every two years, rather than annually.

In addition to the partner networks, policyholders can purchase eyewear and contact lenses from Glasses.com and Contactsdirect.com. If you receive your glasses and they need adjusting, you can visit a local branch of Lenscrafters. 

You’re also free to use out-of-network providers at a higher cost. For example, the maximum allowance for eye exams is $50, and the policyholder must pay the outstanding amount out of pocket.

Plans are available across the country except in Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

Best For Contact Lenses : EyeMed


EyeMed

 EyeMed

Why We Chose It: EyeMed is our top pick for contact lens coverage as their EyeMed Bright plan provides a generous $200 contact lens allowance, plus they have an extensive provider network.

What We Like
  • Robust coverage

  • No waiting period

  • Extensive provider network

  • Online quotes

What We Don't Like
  • Limited out-of-network options

  • Costly premiums

EyeMed has over 60 million members. Their network of 44,000 locations includes partner companies like Pearle Vision, LensCrafters, and Target Optical. With a liberal $200 contact lens allowance, they took the top category position for best for contact lenses. 

You can select from three coverage tiers. The EyeMed Healthy costs $5 per month and only provides coverage for an eye exam, plus a discount for contact lenses. EyeMed Bold is priced at $17.50 per month, and you’ll receive a $130 contact lens allowance.  

For the EyeMed Bright plan, expect to pay $30 for the monthly premium, although there is a 5% discount if you pay for a year up-front on all their vision insurance plans. 

Plans include an annual comprehensive eye exam with a copay of $10. With the EyeMed Bright plan, you have $200 to spend on contacts, with a 15% discount off the balance if the cost is greater. Contact lens fitting and follow-up won’t exceed a $40 out-of-pocket expense.

Vision insurance plans are available countrywide excluding Massachusetts, and Maryland.

EyeMed has an A+ with the Better Business Bureau and an A rating for financial strength from AM Best.

Final Verdict

Having a separate vision insurance policy makes sense if you use glasses or contact lenses. Considering the high price of corrective eyewear, the policy often pays for itself. Even if you don't currently need vision correction, keep in mind that regular vision care is important for your overall health.  

There's a wide range of vision insurance options, and this roundup provides options for all budgets. For instance, Vision Service Plan was our overall vision insurance choice because as an industry leader they have plans to suit most pockets with low copays and high allowances.

For those who prefer the idea of laser surgery over glasses or contacts, then UnitedHealthcare, our best pick for Lasik, offers a discount of up to 35% toward the procedure. 

If finances are a concern, consider Direct Vision Insurance. They offer policies starting at just $9 per month, making it our best for budget choice.  

Finally, for those who wear contact lenses, EyeMed, with its generous $200 contacts allowance and extensive provider network, took our top choice for contact lenses. 

Compare Providers

Insurance Provider Why We Picked It Monthly Premiums
Vision Service Plan Best Overall $13
UnitedHealthcare Best For Lasik Coverage $12
Direct Vision Insurance Best For Budget $9
Eyemed Best For Highest Coverage $30

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Vision Insurance?

Vision insurance is a form of supplemental health-insurance that helps you pay towards some of the costs of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and routine eye exams. Some plans also offer discounts on the costs of laser eye surgery. 

According to The American Refractive Surgery Council, LASIK surgery is expensive, with the average cost being around $4,200. A discount of even 15% could more than cover the annual premium cost of vision insurance. 

It’s crucial to read what the plan covers before deciding on a policy. The coverage level and benefits vary considerably between policies, and typically more comprehensive policies offer a more generous allowance towards the cost of eyewear. 

How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?

We found that monthly premiums for vision insurance started at around $9 a month for basic plans. These policies entitle you to an annual eye exam and an allowance for glasses or contact lenses. You also have to cover a copay, and depending on the plan and location, you may have to meet a deductible before the policy begins to cover costs.

If you opt for a more comprehensive plan, with prices around $30 a month, you’ll receive a more generous allowance for eyewear and lower or zero cost copays for eye exams. 

What Kind Of Coverage Is Available?

Often vision insurance providers offer several tiers of coverage. All plans, including the basic offerings, cover annual eye exams and a certain amount for frames and lenses or contact lenses. 

More comprehensive coverage may include contact lens care and fitting appointments, different lenses and coatings, lens protection, accidental breakage for eyewear, and an increased allowance that you can use towards designer frames.

What Typically Isn’t Covered By Vision Insurance?

It’s essential to ask about any exclusions before you purchase a vision insurance policy. You should also be able to find information in the policy terms and conditions. 

Vision insurance policies do not include medical treatments for eye conditions. Issues such as treatment for injuries, cataract surgery, or antibiotics for infections would be covered by general health insurance, not a vision insurance policy. 

Other standard exclusions include replacing damaged eyeglasses, non-prescription reading glasses, and additional eye exams beyond one year. 

Is Vision Insurance Worth It?

Healthy vision plays a vital part in overall well-being and quality of life. However, whether vision insurance is worth it or not is a personal determination.

If you need to use glasses or contact lenses, you should consider that frames cost an average of $242 plus single vision lenses at $114. Plus, there’s the $206 cost for an eye exam. If you have a complex prescription requiring non-standard lenses, the price will be more.

The American Optometric Association notes that as you approach middle age, it’s common for your eyesight to change, meaning that even if you’ve never needed eyewear previously, you may begin to after the age of 40.

If vision insurance costs around $15 a month, or $180 a year, you would have considerable savings compared to paying the entire fee out-of-pocket.

For some people who don’t require eyewear and are not nearing their 40s, paying out-of-pocket for an annual eye health exam could make more sense.

How We Chose the Best Vision Insurance Companies

To compile our roundup, we evaluated 18 vision insurance companies before selecting the four category leaders. 

Companies that offered online quotations, transparent pricing, and easily accessible customer service carried more weight in our analysis.

Other considerations were the company’s reputation and portfolio of offerings. We also looked at the network’s size, availability across the country, policy terms, monthly premium costs, benefit amount, and customization options. 

Finally, we used data from AM Best regarding financial stability, the Better Business Bureau for client satisfaction, Standard & Poor’s for credit rating, and consumer intelligence data from JD Power to determine an overall picture of each company's standings in these areas.

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Article Sources
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