What are vision insurance tax deductible items?

tax claim form for vision insurance

Whether you just enrolled in a new plan or you’re still weighing the pros and cons, you’re likely wondering if vision insurance is tax deductible.

The costs and specifics involved with various vision insurance plans can be complicated to understand and differentiate. Read on for more information about how vision insurance is taxed and the types of coverage available to you.

Vision insurance tax deductible items

You can deduct vision insurance premiums, eye exams and eye surgeries from your taxes if you paid for those expenses out of pocket. 

But, any costs covered by a vision insurance plan are not tax deductible. Additionally, you can't deduct any portion of your insurance premium that your employer-paid. Nor can you deduct any vision expenses you paid using an FSA or HSA since these are already tax-free programs.

Which vision insurance premiums are tax deductible?

Vision insurance costs are typically pre-taxed on a plan enrolled in through your employer. Your upfront monthly premium payments are deducted from your gross pay before state, federal and Medicare taxes are calculated, thus reducing your tax liability.

However, you may be able to have your insurance premium taken out of your paycheck after all required taxes have been withdrawn. Since the premium would be removed from your net pay, post-tax deductions will not reduce your overall tax burden. 

You should verify that you can change your premium from a pre-tax to a post-tax deduction with your employer if this is the route you’d prefer to take.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR VISION INSURANCE COVERAGE? Contact an eye care professional near you to find out if they accept your insurance and what will be covered.

Types of vision insurance plans 

A vision insurance plan is supplemental to medical insurance policies. And like a health care plan, vision insurance helps offset the costs of checkups and prescriptions. 

Basic eye care benefits typically are included in all vision insurance policies and plans. These include routine preventive eye care, including eye exams and prescription eyewear such as eyeglasses and contact lenses. 

More comprehensive vision plans expand coverage to include enhancements, such as anti-reflective coatings, photochromic lenses and progressive lenses. These eye care plans may also offer discounted rates on elective vision correction surgery, such as LASIK and PRK.

While vision insurance offerings and costs vary by provider and employer, there are generally two types of plans. 

A vision benefits plan. Most vision benefits plans are preferred provider organization (PPO) options. You are provided a list of in-network providers who will be covered, or pay more if you visit an eye doctor out of that PPO network. 

Prescription lenses should also be covered up to a certain limit, and you’ll likely have to choose between contact lenses and eyeglasses each calendar year. If you want both, you’ll need to pay for whichever you don’t choose to have covered out of pocket.

You will also likely have a spending limit over a set period of time for eyeglasses frames. Any frames that cost more than that limit will have to be paid for out of pocket. 

A discount vision plan. This plan costs less than a vision benefit plan but usually provides the same services. However, this plan isn't considered an insurance plan by some providers. As a result, you pay for your vision care products and services out of pocket, but at a discounted rate.

When choosing which vision insurance is best for you, make sure you factor in costs, benefits associated with the plan(s) and who can be covered under the policy. 

SEE RELATED: The timeline and benefits of vision insurance

Who is covered under vision insurance?

Besides yourself, you can add dependents to most vision plans. A dependent can be your spouse; a biological, adopted, foster or step child; and even a domestic partner, depending on the vision insurance plan and provider.

For a child to qualify as a dependent, they must meet specific criteria including:

  • Be under the age of 26

  • Lived with you for at least six months

  • Have an income less than half of the cost of their support expenses

To qualify a domestic partner as a dependent, you will need to prove that you both have lived together for a minimum of six months and share financial responsibility for basic living expenses. Other requirements may apply.

It’s best to consult with your employer and insurance provider about what vision insurance coverage is offered, your financial responsibilities, and who can be included in the policy.

READY TO SCHEDULE AN EYE EXAM? Find a local eye care provider who accepts your vision insurance.

Find Eye Doctor

Schedule an exam

Find Eye Doctor