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Best Vision Insurance for Seniors in 2020

Our experts researched and reviewed 10 vision insurance plans and narrowed the list to their top 5 recommendations.

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Best Ranked Vision Insurance Plans for Seniors

As the body ages, it is not unusually for vision to become weaker. In fact, many seniors require corrective lenses and regular therapies for an array of eye conditions and diseases. Common conditions beyond vision loss that senior may face include glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, presbyopia and temporal arteritis. While preventive annual check ups are essential to maintaining good eye health and vision for a lifetime, that might only be possible with a solid vision insurance plan in place.

Here are the Best Vision Insurance Plans for Seniors for 2020

  • 1. Direct Vision Insurance

    Overview

    There is one thing that many seniors desire concerning insurance coverage and that’s having plenty of options. Direct Vision Insurance is a company designed to give those needing a vision plan multiple choices of plans and providers both in and out of network at great rates. However, choosing a provider from VSP or EyeMed network plans will reap customers greater savings on routine exams, eyewear and other services.

    Ease of use Service & Response Pricing
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    Pros
    • Flexible, affordable plans to fit your needs at reasonable rates
    • No waiting periods for major services to be covered
    • No claims forms to fill out
    • Covers routine vision care, glasses and contact lenses
    • Discount offers for LASIK procedures
    Cons
    • With so many flexible options, guaranteed issue, and competitive rates, Direct Vision Insurance customers don’t report cons to the company’s services.

    Pricing

    Pricing and quotes will vary wildly across the board, as it will depend on the plan one chooses, their age, and most importantly, the provider they choose and whether they are considered in the policyholder’s network. Direct Vision Insurance has a convenient online search form that allows you to get more specific about policy prices. The system even permits users to narrow down results to refine them even further to meet their vision insurance needs.

    The Bottom Line

    This is a great route for seniors simply wanting to cover the cost of exams, eyewear, contacts and other vision services without the hassle of dealing with claim forms or ID cards. Seniors also appreciate the option to use out-of-network providers, especially those who frequently travel or live a nomadic lifestyle.

  • 2. Spirit Vision

    Overview

    Spirit Vision is a smaller company that offers an array of dental plans that customers can add a vision plant to. In combination, these policies are ideal for most senior’s vision and dental needs. In particular, Spirit Vision plans are excellent for those who have serious dental work needed or suffer from chronic eye conditions. The company offers vision policies through the EyeMed Care Network, and has some nice add-ons for both families and seniors.

    Ease of use Service & Response Pricing
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    Pros
    • Comprehensive coverage w/ small co-pays for routine services
    • Customized plans to individuals and senior’s needs
    • No waiting period for major procedures
    • Security of having dental and vision policies bundled
    Cons
    • Must bundle vision plan w/ a dental plan
    • Prices are much higher than average for the dental plans, hence higher cost overall for vision coverage

    Pricing

    Because Spirit Vision plans are only available as a supplemental bundled policy with dental coverage, the additional charge for vision insurance is currently $7 per month. That being said, the cost of their dental policies for individuals and families varies. On average, the cost for a premier plan is $84 monthly for an individual, which is among the highest rates in the industry. Budget minded seniors may want to pursue other options. The exception being those who need extensive dental work, in which case Spirit Vision and Dental plans are a good deal.

    The Bottom Line

    The bottom line is that the company’s combination dental and vision insurance packages are comprehensive, yet more expensive than competitors. However, they do offer immediate coverage and have generous allowances for even costly procedures. If major dental work or intensive vision care is in the near future, Spirit Dental may be the ideal company to meet your needs.

  • 3. VSP

    Overview

    VSP Vision Plans are one of the most affordable and versatile options on the market today. However, they are basically designed to supplement Medicare plans, with policies covering things that Medicare typically does not. This helps seniors keep vision costs under control and predictable. By choosing upgraded options, seniors can save even more on enhancements such as trifocals, bifocals, colored contact lenses, progressive eyeglass lenses and certain types of laser correction surgery.

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    Pros
    • VSP boast the country’s largest network of independent providers
    • Members can save up to 60% on hearing aids
    • Policy upgrades available
    • Generous full coverage for standard eye needs after meeting deductible
    • Open enrollment periods
    Cons
    • Must have an upgraded policy for discounts on enhancements like transition lenses, anti-glare and scratch resistant coatings, etc.
    • Without Medicare in place, the policy isn’t really useful
    • Higher co-pay for contact lenses than average

    Pricing

    According to their website, VSP insurance individual plans start at $13 per month for a standard policy. On average, individuals can save up to $200 annually on their eye exam and glasses while enjoying additional discounts on hearing aids through provider TruHearing. Many of these savings cannot be enjoyed under original Medicare policies on their own.

    The Bottom Line

    Seniors in the market for a great way to supplement their current vision coverage under original Medicare will find VSP to be an affordable policy to boost their annual savings. They are one of the few companies that will provide significant discounts for contact lens and eyeglass enhancements. Seniors will also appreciate the great hearing aid discounts available should they find themselves in need of one.

  • 4. eHealth

    Overview

    As the largest online marketplace for insurance today, eHealth is not a provider of coverage, but it is a service that connects individuals and families with companies that can meet their vision insurance needs. eHealth works with the nation’s larges providers such as AARP, Humana, Aetna and Kaiser Permanente, and seniors may be able to add vision coverage to a current health policy. The company makes it easy to compare plans, and eHealth has a solid reputation for having friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives.

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    Pros
    • One of the nation’s largest networks of providers
    • Side-by-side comparisons easy to view online
    • Website is easy to use
    • Ability to search by doctor, allowing consumers to possibly use their current provider
    • Helpful terminology explanation section on site discussing coverage types
    Cons
    • If current doctor isn’t on the network, you’ll need a new provider
    • Numerous choices may be overwhelming for seniors

    Pricing

    Because eHealth is an online marketplace for thousands of insurance providers, the prices for vision coverage will vary. Age, where one lives, the maximum coverage they desire, and the company chosen will ultimately determine how much premiums are for customers.

    The Bottom Line

    Seniors looking to have an easy way to shop for vision insurance with the ability to do side-by-side comparisons of features, costs and deductibles should give eHealth a try. They have an extensive network, so it’s likely your current eye doctor is within one of the partnership’s network of providers. eHealth offers those on a budget and with time constraints a viable option for quickly finding vision insurance.

  • 5. UnitedHealthcare

    Overview

    UnitedHealthcare is one of the industry’s largest players, and overall the company gets positive reviews from customers. They offer a solid level of benefits with numerous policy options for vision insurance. Typically, customers will have both health and vision insurance bundled with  UnitedHealthcare policies. Seniors will benefit from the company’s large list of in-network providers in addition to having access to out-of-network providers.

    They offer standard and premium vision plans, and are one of the few companies that doesn’t require an enrollment fee. One thing to note, is that UnitedHealthcare has become a bit harder to obtain on an individual or family level, as the company has shifted more towards catering to corporate held policy.

    Ease of use Service & Response Pricing
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    Pros
    • No enrollment fees
    • Solid industry reputation for prompt service and easy claims processes
    • Out-of-network benefits are above average
    • Generous eyeglass frame allowances
    Cons
    • Premium plan doesn’t offer much more than standard plan
    • Premiums tend to be high for individuals
    • Co-pays higher than average
    • Retail access to policies may be limited

    Pricing

    Pricing will depend on personal factors to some extent, but for vision policies, UnitedHealthcare offers standard plans for individuals starting at $12 per month and $19 for families. While they aren’t the cheapest company, the benefits they offer are arguably worth a few extra bucks. There is no enrollment fee, and there may be discounts when paying annually or bundling with other insurance services through UnitedHealthcare.

    The Bottom Line

    While the premium plans has greater contact lens allowances, the standard plan is the most popular program UnitedHealthcare offers for vision insurance. Seniors like that there is both in and out-of-network compensation available, and that there are 88,000 providers to choose from on their vast listings. This makes it easy to find an eye doctor nearby that accepts UnitedHealthcare.

What is Vision Insurance?

Vision insurance generally refers to wellness plans established to help policyholders lower their out-of-pocket cost for preventive and routine eye care, eyeglasses, contact lenses and other eye-related treatments. Some policies may even cover corrective surgeries and procedures such as photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) and LASIK. However, vision insurance doesn’t work the same way as traditional medical insurance that offers unlimited benefits after meeting deductibles and co-pays.

Rather, most vision plans work as a discount plan with set limits and benefits in exchange for an annual premium. Vision insurance covers much of the cost of comprehensive eye examinations, eyewear, contact lenses with policyholders paying a small co-pay and or meeting a deductible prior to benefits kicking in. Most policies require add-ons to cover enhancements such as scratch-resistant coatings, photochromic lenses, progressive lenses and anti-reflective coatings.

What Does Vision Insurance Cover?

Every vision insurance provider will offer different levels of coverage amid their range of policies and add-on options. However, the primary services and enhancement options are typically the same across the board. Traditionally, one can expect a good vision insurance policy to offer the following benefits.

  • Eye Examinations: Policyholders will qualify for one annual vision exam, with co-pays ranging between $10-$20.
  • Eyeglass Frames: Often offered in the form of an ‘allowance,’ which is how much the insurer will pay, eyeglass frame discounts range between $125-$150 depending on the provider.
  • Lenses for Eyewear: Typically, out-of-pocket costs for standard lenses are a co-pay ranging between $20-$30, with benefits available once annually.
  • Contact Lenses: Payouts for contacts averages betwen $100-$150, depending on the level of coverage and policy limitations.
  • LASIK and Surgical Procedures: Many providers will offer some type of discount or coverage for vision correction surgeries. The amounts will vary, but they average around $500 max payout.

Common enhancements or add-ons to vision policies allow benefits for transition lenses, progressive lenses, polycarbonate lenses, scratch-resistant coatings, etc.

What Does Vision Insurance NOT Cover

As with any type of insurance policy, there will be exclusions concerning what the company will and will not cover. Vision insurance is no different, and exclusions will vary from provider to provider. However, vision insurance coverage typically excludes:

  • Exams beyond one per year.
  • Eyeglass replacements w/o warranty insurance.
  • Charges for missed appointments.
  • Provider application fees or miscellaneous charges.
  • Reading glasses or magnification devices.
  • Experimental procedures.
  • Medically related eye problems that should be covered under a health policy.

How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?

How much vision insurance costs will depend on a number of factors including whether the coverage is employer provided and whether it is bundled with a larger policy such as health and dental. Other factors such as where the applicant lives, their age, the level of coverage requested, etc. will also play a role in determining the final cost of a vision insurance premium.

Seniors who are still covered under an employer-sponsored plan may have the option to participate in a flexible spending account for vision care. Other affordable options for seniors is to purchase a Vision Service Plan (VSP). The best advice here is to shop around or use a search company that will ease the process of getting matched up with the best carrier within your budge.

Why is Vision Insurance a Good Investment for Seniors?

Vision insurance is a wise investment for most seniors, as age tends to bring about weaker vision and can foster a number of age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and dry eyes to name a few. It is recommended that seniors over the age of 64 receive a comprehensive eye examination once a year, according to the American Optometric Organization. However, those with an eye-related condition or really poor vision will want to come in twice per  year.

The nonprofit organization FAIR Health states that an eye exam’s cost ranges between $128-$200, and the average co-pay for examinations is around $20 per visit. With a fairly priced policy, the cost of one eye exam can easily recompense expenses on policy premiums. Seniors who require corrective lenses or who manage an eye-related condition with an optometrist will benefit most financially from having vision insurance. Vision policies have a set allowance for such needs, so customers will spend less out of pocket when getting new contact lenses or eyeglasses.

Whether or not vision insurance is worth the expense is a personal choice, but if you have vision problems, you’ll likely get your money’s worth with coverage.

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt