Making Sense of Vision Care Plans

Vision Plans. Eric Audras

If you find yourself in the dark about your vision care plan, you are not alone. Even though vision insurance seems confusing, it is to your benefit to understand the benefits you are entitled to.

What Is a Vision Care Plan?

Your employer may offer a vision care benefit plan as an add-on to your medical and dental insurance plan. Although some routine vision care allowances may be included in your medical health plan, you may have a vision care plan to cover routine eye care services and materials such as eyeglasses and contact lenses. Vision care plans are usually offered by companies contracted by private optometrists, ophthalmologists, and corporate optical chains. You may make an appointment with any of the eye doctors on your network list. Although you may receive some sort of reimbursement if you choose a doctor out of network, you'll receive optimum coverage if you see a contracted network provider. Vision plans are designed to cover routine vision care costs, and not medical eye care problems, treatment of eye disease or diabetic related eye care.

Choosing a Vision Care Plan

If your employer gives you a choice of vision care plans, which one should you choose? Even though it's tempting, take caution in choosing the most affordable plan. The lowest cost plans often provide limited coverage and sometimes are only discount plans that do not reimburse your doctor for anything.

Typical vision care plans require a co-pay such as $10 for the examination and maybe $15 for materials for basic uncoated lenses. The plans often provide a certain allowance for frames, sometimes up to around $150. You may choose a higher priced frame, but you'll be required to pay the difference. Options such as progressive lenses, photochromic lenses or anti-reflective coatings can also be added for a discounted fee.

Below is a list of some of the major vision plans commonly offered by employers:

  • Vision Service Plan
  • VisionCare Plan
  • Vision Benefits of America
  • Eyemed Vision Care
  • Superior Vision Services
  • Davis Vision

Since vision care plans differ significantly, spend some time comparing the benefits offered by each policy. You may find a plan that offers distinct advantages to your individual eye care needs. Add up the monthly premiums and what benefits you receive. Some vision plans provide a great benefit to the insured while others may be a waste of your time and money when you add up the monthly premiums and what it will actually cost you for a quality pair of eyeglasses or an annual supply of contact lenses.

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Article Sources
  • Weber, Gil. "VSP Helps VSP." Optometric Management, September 2003.