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Independent vision insurance
Best Vision Insurance Companies of 2019
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These days, consumers have an array of styles to choose from when it comes to glasses – bamboo, titanium, black-rimmed are among frame options. But beyond a fashion statement, eyewear can also be expensive.
Vision insurance, a supplementary health plan, can help offset the costs of eye exams and prescriptions that help improve your sight. Some vision insurance plans even help cover corrective eye surgeries like LASIK surgery.
While many people get vision insurance coverage from their employers or through their health insurance plan, others may purchase it themselves to save on costs.
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There are four kinds of vision coverage. The first is indemnity health insurance, a plan that allows you to choose your provider. The second is Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), which is a network of providers that you can access at discounted rates and requires that you stay within the plan’s network. The third plan is a preferred provider organization (PPO), which provides you with discounted rates but allows you to choose a provider outside of your network and pay more.
Finally, the last kind of coverage is a discount plan. Unlike a health plan, you don’t get a certain amount of coverage after co-pays or deductibles. Instead, discount plans offer a specific dollar amount or percentage in discounts. These plans have far less paperwork because you simply provide your card to get discounts.
So, what is the best vision insurance plan for you? Here, we help you evaluate your options, while allowing you to compare the coverage and costs.
Best Vision Insurance Comparison
When looking for vision insurance, it’s important to shop around for your best option. Each provider offers different policies with varying coverage, costs, and benefits. Check out the providers below to see if any fit your needs.
Compare Vision Insurance Companies
- Provide vision insurance plans for individuals and employers
- Offer different types of policies including Standard, EasyOptions, Enhanced, and EyewearOnly plans
- You will get more coverage if you use in-network providers, but they do allow you to submit out-of-network claims
- An online marketplace that allows you to compare the prices of vision insurance companies across multiple insurers
- By completing one short application you will get multiple quotes from companies that include Humana, VSP, and more.
- Vision insurance is provided in collaboration with EyeMed Vision Care Network, and is primarily offered as an add-on to medical insurance
- Access to 7,800 eyewear and eye care providers across the country
- Offers coverage to employers through a large network with 70,000 access points across the country
- As an added bonus you receive hearing aid discounts of up to 60%, access to a diabetic outreach program, and a fit FWD program
- A vision savings program offered across the country
- Does not provide insurance, but instead provides members with savings and discounts on eye exams, eyewear, contact lenses, and LASIK surgeries
Best Vision Insurance Companies and Plans
Click on a company to review their vision insurance plans.
VSP Individual Vision Plans
VSP Individual Vision Plans provides vision insurance plans for individuals and employers. VSP advertises vision plans as low as $13 per month, but how much you pay will depend on your location and the level of coverage.
VSP has a number of different types of policies including Standard, EasyOptions, Enhanced, and EyewearOnly plans. The Standard plan provides an eye exam and basic glasses with $15 copays on exams, and $25 copays on glasses. For glasses, you’ll have $150 to spend on frames and can get an additional coverage if you buy specific brands. You can also use that $150 for contacts instead of glasses. Policyholders receive an annual eye exam at one of the 33,000 doctors in the network.
VSP provides additional savings on additional pairs of glasses under eligible brands, and it provides lens enhancements at extra cost. You’ll receive up to $500 in savings on LASIK surgery, and additional savings on contact lenses from Bausch + Lomb, as well as on hearing aids.
The EasyOptions plan is similar to the Standard plan except it has additional coverage. You get up to $230 for frames or contacts, and you can choose certain types of lenses for no additional cost.
The Enhanced plan is best for those who need multiple lens enhancements. The benefits are similar to the Standard plan, except that it covers expenses like impact resistant lens, scratch coatings, and line multifocal lens.
With the EyewearOnly plan, you get $120 for contacts or glasses, but you must pay the full amount of your eye exam.
While you will get more coverage if you use an eye exam provider in their network, they still allow you to submit out-of-network claims. You also get a significant amount of savings via discounts that they’ve negotiated with popular brands.
When it comes to their customer service, VSP has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, although some users have complained, for example, about claims not being paid in a timely manner.
VSP plans allow you to customize your coverage so that you’re getting exactly as much as you need.
eHealth is an online marketplace that allows you to compare vision insurance companies from a number of insurers. These include Humana, Das Vision Eyecare, VSP Individual Vision Plans, United Health Care, and many others. The available insurers vary from state to state.
Essentially, eHealth is like an online insurance broker selling multiple kinds of insurance. You can use eHealth to easily find vision insurance because all you have to do is complete one short application to get multiple quotes. This saves you a considerable amount of time. It also allows you to more easily compare the prices and features of different plans with all the information in one place.
eHealth plans start at just $6.99 and include options including like coverage for eye exams, glasses, contacts, LASIK, and other types of eye care. Many plans also provide discounts on other types of eyewear products or additional frames in addition.
How much you’ll pay will depend on where you live, if you’re a smoker, your age, your gender, and the number of people that you’re covering.
Each plan provides different benefits. Some are PPO plans, whereas others are HMO plans. The best fit for you will depend on your vision needs, the cost of the plan, how many doctors are in their network, or whether you would prefer to see a doctor that is outside of their network. All plans have co-pays and deductibles.
One of the benefits of eHealth is responsive customer service. eHealth has a 24/7 chat to help you choose a plan. Once you purchase, your actual insurer will be the one to provide customer service. eHealth is rated “excellent” for insurance and customer service by Consumers Advocate.
eHealth is a great resource for those who aren’t sure what they want and what’s available in vision insurance plans. It allows you to quickly and easily shop around to get quotes from multiple insurers.
Humana is a well-known provider of health insurance and offers vision insurance coverage across the U.S. – with a few exceptions.
How much you’ll pay will depend on what kind of plan you want, where you live, your gender, how many people you’re covering in your family, and other factors. Humana gives discounts on plans if you combine your vision plan with a dental plan, or if you have a member of your immediate family in the military.
One example of a plan offered by Humana is the Humana Vision plan, which is a PPO plan. The plan can start at $15.00 with a $35.00 enrollment fee. There is a $15 co-pay for a routine exam and a $40 co-pay for a contact lens exam. There are no waiting periods for coverage.
You get a $150 allowance for frames every 12 months, and then you pay 80% of anything over that amount. You also get a $150 allowance for contact lenses. You also get discounts on various specialty frames and lenses.
Humana provides insurance at a reasonable monthly rate but has a higher enrollment fee than average. It also has a higher than average co-pay if you use contact lenses.
Humana’s customer service has an A- rating for their customer service from Insure.com, ranking fourth in best health insurance companies.
Davis Vision offers coverage to employers through a large network with 70,000 access points across the country. Davis Vision Eyecare says four out of five of the major eye care retailers are in their network.
Davis Vision provides low-cost coverage for fully covered glasses. You can choose from 200 frames that have a retail value of up to $195. You also get access to 900 locations that provide up to 50 percent off LASIK vision surgery. Glasses have a free one-year warranty against breakage. The plan also provides a few kinds of signature lenses at a discount – particularly tinted transitions glasses that have a co-pay of just $65.
As an added bonus, you also get hearing aid discounts of up to 60 percent, access to a diabetic outreach program to ensure you have retinal exams, and a fit FWD program that provides you with additional health and wellness resources.
You can use the Davis Vision app to make claims, find providers within your network, determine eligibility for benefits, check on the status of your claims and track glasses orders.
UnitedHealthcare offers vision insurance coverage across the U.S., with no waiting periods to get glasses.
UnitedHealthcare has a national network of doctors and eyewear stores that allow you to get the best deal. Despite this network, you also have the freedom to go out of network to get services or exams. You need to be aware of the difference between what your plan covers and the cost of the out-of-network services.
UnitedHealthcare offers several plans. What they include depends on where you live. As an example, one provider in Los Angeles offers a basic plan that offers an annual eye exam with a $10 copay, frames up to $150 every 12 months, lenses with a $10 copay, and contacts instead of glasses without a co-pay. Many plans also include discounts on eye surgery or hearing aids.
The cost of the plans varies according to where you live, your gender, age, whether you smoke, how much coverage you want, and the size of your family. Plans start as low as $11.40 per month. You could also save money by combining your vision and dental care plans.
The bottom line is UnitedHealthcare offers affordable plans with good coverage and relatively low co-pays.
Spirit Dental & Vision
Spirit Dental & Vision provides vision and dental insurance to individuals in the U.S. The vision insurance, provided in collaboration with EyeMed Vision Care Network, is primarily offered as an add-on to medical insurance.
Spirit Dental & Vision provides access to 7,800 eyewear and eye care providers across the country, including top optical brands. Its plan provides eye exams every 12 months for a $10 copay, and eyeglasses and lenses every 24 months for a $20 co-pay. You can also opt for contact lenses instead. Spirit Dental & Vision does not offer extra coverage for, say, vision therapy or LASIK. And it does not offer different coverage options — there is only one vision plan to choose from.
The vision plan starts at $7 per month. How much you actually pay depends on where you live and how many people are in your family.
EyeMed was ranked ‘better than most’ in J.D Power’s ranking of overall customer satisfaction among vision insurance providers.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive plan, then Spirit Dental & Vision is probably not a great choice for you. However, if you need a basic dental plan and want to save money by bundling a vision plan in with it, then this provider can offer a great deal.
Spirit provides vision coverage through a collaboration with EyeMed, so you might want to compare EyeMed’s direct pricing and plan options with what Spirit offers.
EyeBenefits is a vision savings program offered across the country. It does not offer vision insurance but instead provides members with savings and discounts on eye exams, eyewear, contact lenses, and LASIK surgeries.
Its more than 12,000 providers across the country include reputable companies like Target Optical, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Eyeglass World, and VisionWorks.
With EyeBenefits, there is no waiting period and your membership begins immediately after enrollment. There are also no restrictions on how much you buy or spend. You will always qualify for discounts of up to 10 percent to 20 percent on eye exams at independent stores and regional chains and $5 off at national chains.
You’ll also get up to 30 percent off on frames at independent stores, up to 50 percent off at regional chains and 30 percent off at national chains. You’ll get up to 25 percent off on lenses at independent stores, up to 30 percent off at regional chains, and 30 percent off at national chains.
When it comes to non-disposable contacts, you get 10 percent to 20 percent off at independent stores, up to 20 percent at regional chains, and 15 percent off at national chains.
EyeBenefits does not provide discounts on disposable contact lenses unless you purchase them online through a link on their site. The contact lens discounts start at 10 percent. With EyeBenefits discounts, the price for LASIK surgery starts at $995 per eye. You can also get discounts of up to 70 percent off hearing aids.
The price for a membership in a vision savings programs like EyeBenefits generally is affordable and doesn’t vary much depending on factors like your age, smoking history, location, or gender. You can get a membership that applies to you and your family members. The cost of an individual membership is $30, and the cost of a family one is $45.
Unlike a typical vision insurance company, EyeBenefits doesn’t have robust customer service. But you don’t have to submit claims to get paid. You just use a discount card at various locations.
Even if you have a basic vision insurance plan, you might consider EyeBenefits to cover any additional purchases of glasses or contacts above your plan’s maximums. After all, the cost of membership is so low.
Anthem is owned by BlueCross and BlueShield. They provide a variety of different health insurance benefits including vision benefits to individuals across the country. They provide things like discounts on routine eye care such as eye exams, and non-routine care such as eye disease, illness or injury, glaucoma, pink eye, cataracts, and other eye issues.
They also provide discounts such as up to 30 percent on LensCrafters prescription glasses and discounts on LASIK surgery. One benefit of their plans is that there is little paperwork involved.
Some examples of coverage include the Blue View Vision “Value” plan, which includes a routine eye exam with a co-pay of $20; eyeglass lenses with a co-pay of $20; $130 per year towards glasses; and $80 per year towards contacts.
The Blue View Vision “Plus” plan is similar except your eye exam co-pay is just $10, and you get $130 towards contacts per year.
A third plan is the Blue View Vision “Enhanced” plan, which offers up to $150 on both eyeglass frames and lenses and has co-pays of $10 on eye exams and lenses.
How much you’ll pay will depend on where you live, how old you are, how much coverage you need and how many people are in your family. You’re also likely to save money if you combine your vision coverage with another kind of health plan.
Anthem has an A rating for their customer service and insurance on Insure.com, which noted its claims processing.
Anthem provides a number of different coverage options in order to fit your needs. They do tend to give more money for glasses in certain policies, so you might want to look elsewhere if you primarily wear contacts.
Direct Vision Insurance
Direct Vision Insurance, operated by Direct Benefits, provides a complete suite of dental, disability, life, and vision insurance plans through workplaces, brokers, and to individuals online. They provide coverage across the U.S.
With vision insurance, you can choose between two providers: EyeMed and VSP Plan. With EyeMed, you get access to 78,000 vision care providers. This includes chains like Pearle Vision, Target, Sears, JCP Optical, LensCrafters, and others.
Through EyeMed, you receive benefits and an additional 40 percent off eyeglasses after you’ve exhausted your eyeglass benefit, a 20 percent discount on your frame balance, and 15 percent on any balance over the cost of conventional contact lenses. They also provide up to 15 percent in savings on LASIK surgery.
In contrast, the VSP Plan offers benefits with access to 31,000 care providers. One example of the Plan is the VSP A Plan, which offers a health exam every 12 months with a $15 co-pay, a contact lens exam and fitting for up to $60, a $150 frame allowance or a $150 contacts allowance, and a $25 co-pay for lenses. The VSP A Plan starts at $15.97.
You can also get a VSP Choice Plan B plan. It’s similar to the VSP Choice Plan B, except that you’re only allowed the $150 frame and contact allowances every 24 months. You still receive an eye exam every 12 months. After you use up your frame allowance, you’re entitled to 20 percent in savings. You also get an additional $20 frame allowance if you choose a featured brand, 20 percent savings on glasses and sunglasses, and discounts on LASIK surgery. There are also special fees for lens enhancements depending on what you want.
VSP does offer out-of-network benefits, but you will have to pay more if you do. If you have poor vision that interferes with your daily functioning, VSP can provide low vision testing and up to $1,000 in low vision aids every two years.
EyeMed plans are similar in that the EyeMed Access Plan A costs $15.02 per month provides a yearly eye exam for a $15 co-pay. You get $150 towards frames or contacts. The co-pay for lenses is $15. The EyeMed Access Plan B is similar, except you only get the benefits every 24 months with the exception of the annual eye exam. The plan costs $11.52 per month. You also have to pay extra for special lenses. You have out of network coverage, though you’ll pay more for the services.
Consumers Advocate has rated Direct Vision’s customer service as “very good,” although you will likely deal with EyeMed or VSP representatives with your plan.
Before you purchase plans through Direct Vision, compare the offerings and prices to what EyeMed or VSP offer directly.
Superior Vision Insurance
Superior Vision is a provider of vision insurance primarily to employers and health plans like Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and plans bought on the Health Insurance Marketplace. They do not sell vision insurance plans directly to the public.
Superior Vision plans include routine eye exams and tests for early detection of chronic conditions, lenses, progressive lens upgrades, contact lens allowance, stand-alone contact lens fitting exam, and medically necessary contact lenses. You also receive discounts on special lenses, additional lenses and contact lenses, online contact lens, and LASIK.
The Superior Vision network involves access to a diverse provider network and you can also get access out of your network but it will cost you more. How much you pay for your coverage will depend on the plan. Your employer might pay completely or require that you pay a portion of it.
With health plans like those bought on the Health Insurance Marketplace, the cost could depend on the plan that you buy. You can often save money on your vision plan if you get multiple kinds of coverage.
Superior Vision was given a “very good” rating by Consumers Advocate for their plans and customer service.
Keep in mind that Superior Vision’s policies aren’t available for purchase by individuals as a standalone policy. So it is not a good fit for those looking for vision insurance on their own.
Best Vision Insurance FAQs
How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?
The cost of vision insurance will depend on a number of different factors. That said, the monthly fee can start as low as $10 to $20 per person. But even with that rate, you’ll still pay out of pocket for co-pays and any needs beyond the basic coverage. You might save more by paying a higher monthly premium as you pay less for each visit or service. Or a higher monthly payment could provide you with significantly more coverage and save you more down the line.
What Factors Influence Vision Insurance Cost?
When it comes to vision insurance, there are many factors that can influence the cost you will pay for your plan. Lets review some of those influences.
The Type of Coverage
The type of coverage you have is one of the biggest factors that impacts cost. If you want coverage that allows you to go to any provider, you’ll typically have to pay more. If you’re willing to see optometrists within your network, then you will benefit by saving money.
Another thing that will impact your cost is what you want to be covered. If you get a vision insurance plan that only provides coverage for glasses and contacts and has limited maximum amounts, then you’ll likely pay less than if you also want a plan that provides eye exams, vision therapy, and LASIK reimbursement. Your plan costs will also vary depending on how much of a co-pay you’re willing to accept.
Where you live impacts the costs of your doctors, so your location often influences the cost of your insurance. Also, you might not be able to buy certain vision insurance plans if the company’s networks don’t have doctors in your area.
Your vision insurance will likely include a deductible. Typically, the higher deductible you choose, the cheaper your insurance. Similarly, the lower a deductible, the lower you’ll pay in premiums for your vision insurance.
Can You Get a Cheap Vision Insurance Policy?
One way to get a cheaper policy is to shop around. Vision insurance companies offer wildly different rates on their policies. To save time getting quotes, shop online.
The more a company allows you to customize your policy, the more likely you’ll get a cheaper policy. For example, you can skip on getting glasses every year, and get a new pair only every two years if that’s a better fit for your needs.
Choosing an HMO insurance plan that allows you only to go to providers that are in your network will also decrease your costs.
Another way to save money is to take advantage of discounts that your vision insurance plan provider offers. Many of these discounts involve getting other types of coverage such as dental plans. Finally, you can also potentially see savings if you buy a plan through your employer. Even if they don’t offer their own plans, they often offer discounted plans.
What Does Vision Insurance Typically Cover?
The best vision insurance typically covers important basic preventative vision care such as eye exams and other vision tests. It also covers frames, lenses, contacts, and protective lens coatings or light-sensitive lenses.
Some plans will also cover eye surgeries, though they don’t typically cover all the costs. Instead they provide a discount. It is relatively rare for a vision insurance plan to cover extended vision therapy if you have eye problems.
Many vision insurance plans offer discounts in addition to their coverage. For example, some might provide you with 20 percent off glasses after you use up your available annual spending amount. Others will provide you with discounts on hearing aids.
Almost all vision insurance companies require co-pays on all procedures, glasses, or contacts. The co-pay varies depending on the company but is usually between $10 and $25. Most companies do not cover specialty lenses and there are often higher co-pays for those.
Should You Buy a Supplementary Vision Plan If You Already Have One With Your Employer?
There are a few reasons why you might want to buy supplementary vision insurance, even if you have an employer-sponsored plan.
The first reason is that the plan your employer provides may not give you the level of coverage that you or your family need. For that reason, it can be cheaper to purchase a supplementary package than to pay out-of-pocket for the additional costs.
For example, if your employer only provides you with enough to buy one pair of glasses, then you could benefit from getting a secondary vision insurance plan to purchase additional pairs annually. This might be particularly important if you have problems seeing both near and far but do not want bifocals.
Secondly, you might not need the level of coverage that your employer plan provides. If you’re paying for your coverage through a paycheck deduction, you might save money by unenrolling from your employer’s plan and self-enrolling in another.
What to Consider With Out of Network Procedures
Not all of the best vision insurance companies cover procedures outside of a routine eye exam. So you are less likely to need to go out-of-network than with your regular health insurance.
However, there are still situations when you might need to. Every optometrist can provide a basic eye exam. But if you need LASIK or vision therapy, there might not be a provider in your area.
Even if you plan allows you to go out of network, you would have to pay much more. For that reason, you might be better off getting an indemnity health insurance plan or a PPO plan, where you can go out of network, but you don’t get discounted rates.
Does the Difference Between PPOs vs. HMOs Matter?
With an HMO, you will be able to get cheaper care from providers within their network, but you might prefer another provider. In contrast, PPO networks do allow you to go see out-of-network providers, but you will have to pay more.
Can You Use Flexible or Health Spending Accounts to Pay for the Best Vision Insurance?
If you have money saved in a flexible or health spending account, you can absolutely use those pre-tax dollars to pay for your vision insurance plan. After all, vision care is an important part of your healthcare.