Most people have trouble with their vision as they get older, even if they have never had vision problems previously. And, the cost of purchasing eyeglasses and contact lenses can get expensive. More so, conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and cataracts are common age-related conditions that develop and warrant treatment. Vision insurance for seniors can help defray some of the costs related to these needs.
What Is Vision Insurance for Seniors?
Vision insurance for seniors is much like a health insurance plan. However, it will cover only vision care. Policy options differ widely, but can include basic levels of care such as eye exams. More extensive options will provide coverage for surgical procedures and complex treatment plans for more seniors health conditions. Most people will benefit from having access to vision insurance as they get older, but there are numerous options available that seniors need to take into consideration.
What Does Vision Insurance for Seniors Cover?
Vision insurance policies for seniors can cover as much or as little as the individual desires. There are two basic types of plans, though.
- Vision Benefits Packages: These typically will provide seniors with a fixed dollar amount of coverage. The funds can be used for a variety of services, such as eye exams, glasses, and other care. The senior picks the amount of available benefit based on how much of a policy he or she purchases.
- Discount Vision Plans for Seniors: Here, there is not a specific amount available to spend. Rather, the senior pays into the program and receives a discount that applies to the vision care they need. For example, they may receive 20 percent off the services listed in the plan, no matter what amount is spent.
How Much Does Vision Insurance for Seniors Cost?
Most vision insurance plans for seniors are benefits packages. The cost paid depends on many things, including the amount of coverage desired. Most often, the consumer pays a premium each month or annually. This keeps the policy in place. There are also co-pays that may need to be paid at the time a service is received. Most often, seniors will have to still pay some of the cost related to their vision care, but it is likely to be less.
By comparison, benefits packages tend to cost a bit more than purchasing a discount vision plan. However, there are various levels of coverage for seniors to choose from to determine what is included. And, this type of coverage is typically comprehensive. That means that you may receive more coverage over your lifetime. Because these plans can have such open-ended limits, they tend to be better for seniors who are likely to need more invasive or routine eyecare.
How Do I Choose the Best Vision Insurance Plan for Me?
To select any type of vision insurance plan, consumers need to consider their specific needs. For example, seniors who need new eyeglasses or contact lenses every few years may benefit more from a benefits package. In addition, those with conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts are likely to need more invasive procedures. Here, it is also wise to invest a bit more in a higher quality of plan.
A good way to determine which vision plan is best is by calculating the average exam and determining which method is best. For example, for seniors who end up at the eye doctor on a routine basis, such as every six months, consider the cost of that visit. Would 20 percent off (for example) from a vision discount plan save you more or would paying a flat $25 co-pay and your premium cost throughout the year save you more?
What Are Some Senior Insurance Providers?
Numerous senior vision insurance providers are available. Seniors should compare numerous policies before making their investment in any one provider. Here are a few options to consider.
- AARP: Seniors who wish to tap into a discount program may wish to use the AARP Vision Discounts that are provided by EyeMed. AARP members will save on the services they need. AARP members can also purchase a vision benefits package from EyeMed, with three package options to choose from for most needs.
- Humana: This company charges a flat rate for their coverage through a comprehensive vision benefits package. Seniors can choose from several plan options to meet their specific needs.
- Medical Mutual: This insurance agency offers a vision benefits plan for seniors as well. These can provide assistance for seniors looking for a flat fee for their vision care.
- VSP Individual Vision Plans: Seniors can use VSP as well. This is a low-cost service that provides help for eye exams, glasses, and contacts, keeping costs as low as possible. Coverage options are minimal here, though.
Seniors should also keep in mind that Medicare Part B insurance will help cover a yearly eye exam as well as macular degeneration and glaucoma testing. However, it does not provide coverage for eye refractions exams, which are commonly used for eyeglasses and contact lens wearers. It also does not cover any type of prescription eyewear necessary.
Where Can I Find Vision Insurance for Seniors?
A good place to start is with Supplemental Medicare Coverage. If you are already purchasing Medicare Supplemental Insurance, speak to those individual providers to learn if they offer discounts or savings options. Most will offer separate vision plans. Remember, these are not part of your standard Medicare coverage, though.
Seniors may also wish to enroll in programs to help reduce their costs, such as AARP's numerous options. This does not provide a specific policy yet, but the discounts to AARP for third-party providers, such as EyeMed can typically save a significant amount of money. Then, look to most standard vision insurance providers. Most offer coverage for seniors as well as those who are younger. The key here is to invest in these plans at a young age, when possible, since this will help to keep costs down overall. And, doing some comparison shopping can be very important no matter where you obtain your coverage.