Laid off? How to save on needed eye care
Many Americans rely on their employer for health and vision insurance coverage, and when a job loss happens unexpectedly, as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, for example, it’s suddenly hard to get needed eye care.
When you’re pinching pennies, new eyeglasses can be outside your budget. Keeping your family fed and the lights on are much higher priorities.
Here are five ways you may be able to get the vision care you need without paying full price:
1. Review your severance package
If you were laid off and given a severance package, you may have vision and health coverage until some specified end date.
While you still have vision insurance, book an eye exam with us and order glasses or contact lenses. If you use prescription eye drops or other eye medications, stock up on a larger supply before your current coverage ends.
2. Join a family member’s insurance plan
Many health care plans offer coverage for family members or domestic partners. If your spouse has employer-sponsored insurance, you may be able to join the plan. Enrollment periods are often more flexible for unforeseen situations, such as job loss.
If you’re under 26, you might be able to join a parent’s health insurance plan.
3. Buy an individual insurance plan
If you anticipate your job hunt could last months, you can buy an individual vision insurance plan to save on eye exams and eyewear.
With vision insurance providers like EyeMed or VSP, the enrollment period is year-round. Check each plan online to weigh your policy options and coverage. Your new individual plan vision coverage could start as early as the next day or in a few weeks.
SEE RELATED: How to enroll for individual plan vision insurance
4. Check your eligibility for a government program
Some government programs such as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) and Medicaid could help.
With COBRA, you can continue your health care coverage from your former employer for up to 18 months. COBRA is expensive, though, as you will be paying your full premium.
With Medicaid, low-income households can get health and vision care. Most state Medicaid programs cover eye exams and eye exams.
5. Access health care through your alma mater
If you are a member of your college’s alumni association, you may be able to get health care coverage through the Alumni Insurance Program.
Laid off? You have options to get vision care
Losing your job and health and vision insurance complicates life. Suddenly, you are cutting expenses and stretching your budget.
Affordable eye care is even more important now, and you have options. You can continue your employer’s coverage, sign up for an affordable individual vision plan or tap government or maybe an alumni plan.
You also should contact your eye doctor (and other eye doctors in your area) and ask if there is any way they can help you as you stretch to make ends meet.
FIND EYE DOCTORS NEAR YOU: Your eye doctor or other eye care practices near you may be able to help you with needed eye care until you land your next job.
Page published in May 2020
Page updated in January 2022