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Vision Insurance and Vision Plans

Vision insurance and vision plans (such as VSP and EyeMed) can significantly lower your cost of eye care and prescription eyewear.

Though "vision insurance" is the term commonly used to describe plans that reduce the cost of eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, etc., in most cases, costs associated with these eye-related services and products are covered instead by stand-alone vision plans that are more accurately described as annual wellness benefits or discount plans.


An exception to this is cataract surgery and other medically necessary eye surgery, which typically is covered by major medical and health insurance plans. (LASIK and other elective vision correction surgery usually are excluded from medical insurance plans, but discounts for these procedures may be included in vision and wellness plans.)

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For simplicity, we frequently will use the term "vision insurance" herein to describe vision plans of all kinds. But be sure to check with the business staff at your eye doctor's office to determine the specific coverage and benefits provided by your vision insurance, vision plan or wellness agreement.

This section helps you compare vision insurance plans, understand Medicare and Medicaid vision benefits, and know how to use your vision insurance. To get started, browse the list of articles below to find answers to commonly asked questions about vision insurance and vision plans, or read our What Is Vision Insurance? article.

Defined Contribution Plans Reduce Eye Care Costs

Learn how cafeteria plans, flex plans, HRAs and health savings plans can save you money on your eye care.

Understanding Provider Networks and Vision Insurance Plans

Understand how vision insurance plans use networks of providers for services such as eye exams, and learn the difference between plans that provide benefits or discounts.

Vision Insurance Providers

View a list of companies that offer vision insurance plans and discounts on vision care provided by regional and nationwide networks of eye doctors.

What Is Vision Insurance?

Vision insurance is an optional health policy that entitles you to specific eye care and eyewear benefits defined in the policy. Learn more, including the costs of vision insurance coverage.

NEED A DOCTOR? Click here to find an eye doctor near you. >


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You Should Know

Does Lack of Vision Insurance Result in Poor Vision?

For many people, yes, according to a recent study that compared the rate of eye care visits and vision impairment among working-age adults in the U.S. with and without vision coverage.

The researchers used survey data from more than 27,000 adults ages 40 to 65 to evaluate their use of eye care services within the past year and self-reported vision impairment, and compared these results with those of a subsample of 3,158 persons with glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and/or cataracts.

About 40 percent of respondents in both the study population and the subsample with glaucoma, AMD and/or cataracts had no vision insurance. Respondents in both groups who did have vision insurance were roughly twice as likely to have had an eye exam within the past year. They also were better able to recognize friends across the street and were more likely to say they had no difficulty reading printed matter, compared with respondents with no vision insurance.

The study authors concluded that lack of vision insurance impedes utilization of eye care services, which, in turn, "may irrevocably affect vision." They also said vision insurance for preventive eye care should cease to be a separate insurance benefit and should instead be mandatory in all health plans.

Page updated April 2018