Vision insurance is a supplemental benefit and usually taken along with the major medical insurance policy-the one that covers you for doctor visits, hospital stays, diagnostics and surgery. Vision insurance is generally given as a group coverage and is difficult, not impossible, to obtain at a reasonable cost as a stand-alone. Usually dental and vision insurance go together.
So should you have vision insurance?
Before I answer that, let me tell you why vision testing and treatment is important.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the premier government health agency, approximately 11 million Americans 12 years and older have impaired vision. Over 3 million Americans over age 40 are legally blind or suffer from low vision.
Other than the fact that eyesight is one of the most important functions for humans, you should understand that our eye and the placements around it–the capillaries, focusing and receiving mechanisms etc. –are built in a very complex formation.
Here is what your eye insurance or vision insurance should cover at the minimum:
1. Eye exam
The most commonly covered vision basics are annual eye examinations where there is a complete evaluation of the eyes, including tests for eye health and a refraction to determine the need for glasses.
2. Vision correction
This involves ensuring you are properly fitted with right types of glasses–b or tri-focals, reading glasses, glasses for distance etc.
3. Medical condition related vision exam
This could involve lack of oxygen in the eye area due to excessive sugar in the blood. This can affect your vision and eye muscle
4. Other medical conditions
This includes cataract, glaucoma or retinal disorders. They should be checked and if surgery is indicated, covered by insurance.
As you can see, there are many types of conditions that, depending upon your age and medical history, you need covered. Unfortunately, most vision insurance policies will only cover vision examination and partially cover medical condition related treatments. However, you can shop around.
Also, look at higher deductible policies. They may actually be better for you if they have expanded coverage for medical condition related treatments.
Next, be choosy when picking your eye doctor. Know the difference between Opthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician. An Opthalmologist is an eye doctor. He or she has an MD with nine years of medical education and can not only diagnose but treat even severe conditions including eye surgery. An Optometrist is a diploma holder with 4 years of medical education and is limited mostly to diagnosis of eye related conditions.