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Vision-related costs aren’t usually covered by health insurance, so that’s where vision insurance comes in. It is a specialty type of medical insurance that covers things relating to vision, such as eye exams, specialty visits, eye procedures, contact lenses, and glasses. Plan pricing and coverage varies greatly between companies.
The best vision insurance companies are reputable with long-standing histories in the insurance industry. They offer competitive prices, multiple policies to choose from, and easy-to-reach customer service agents to answer any questions about your plan.
Best Overall : Vision Service Plan
- No. Policy Types: Varies by state
- Coverage Limit ($): Contact for details
- Providers In Network (#): 39,000+
The company was founded by ophthalmologists, has a positive industry reputation, and has multiple tiered plans to choose from.
Large network of providers
Covers 50 states
Custom benefit options
Need to contact for maximum coverage amount
Plans vary by state
Doesn’t offer other types of insurance
Founded in 1955 by a group of optometrists, Vision Service Plan (VSP) is one of the largest vision insurance providers in the nation. It offers the largest network of independent doctors, with 73,000 access points at nearly 23,000 locations.
Plan members have access to in- and out-of-network coverage, except for those in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. Enrollment is open year-round, and you can use your benefits as soon as the next business day.
Depending on your state of residence, there are four different tiered plans, though VSP's Standard plan is available nationwide. We've seen their Standard plans as low as $11.20 a month, and VSP claims its members see an average of $455 in annual savings. Benefits include up to a $150 allowance for contact lenses or frames ($200 if you choose certain brand names).
You can add optional lens enhancements to all the plans for additional fees (scratch-resistant, anti-glare, light to dark tinting, etc.). However, some of their more premium tiers offer larger discounts (monthly costs also go up). For example, the EasyOptions tier offers custom benefits options like a higher frame allowance and the Enhanced tier means you don't pay extra out-of-pocket costs for impact or scratch-resistant glasses.
Exam copays are $15 (exams are not covered in the EyewearOnly120 plan), and basic lens copays are $25. VSP does not cover LASIK but offers a service coupon to certain providers for a discount.
Runner-Up, Best Overall : EyeMed
The company has strong ratings, a large provider network, and no waiting period.
Available in 48 states
Works with retailers like LensCrafters
Three tiered levels to choose from
Discounts vary by state.
Need to contact for maximum coverage amount
Contact lens allowance is lower than some other companies.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, EyeMed has an A (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best and offers more than 103,000 access points throughout the U.S., including LensCrafters®, Pearle Vision®, Target Optical®.
Individual plans are available in 48 states, and there are no waiting periods once you successfully enroll. This vision insurance company is another contender, though we placed it as a runner-up because it doesn’t offer as much allowance for frames or contacts.
EyeMed offers three different tiers: EyeMed Healthy, EyeMed Bold, and EyeMed Bright. EyeMed Healthy, the insurer’s lowest tier, offers plans starting at $5 a month and offers a free vision exam, discounts on frames, contact lenses, LASIK, and other services.
EyeMed Bold starts at $17.50, and EyeMed Bright starts at $30 a month. These two higher tiers offer an allowance for contacts and glasses up to $130 and $200, respectively. Plus, you’ll have a $10 copay for comprehensive exams and a $20 copay for lenses.
All tiers have a 5% rate discount if you submit one payment annually (though it may differ depending on your state of residence).
Best Wellness Eye Care : UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance)
The company is part of one of the largest healthcare conglomerates and offers low co-pays for glasses and competitive pricing on wellness eye care.
Available in 44 states, and Washington, D.C.
Competitive monthly premiums
Strong financial ratings
35% discount on LASIK
Need to contact for maximum coverage amount
May not be able to cancel for 12 months
Part of the UnitedHealth Group of companies, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) is one of the largest U.S. health insurance providers. We picked this as the best wellness services eye care provider because of the low-priced premium and the minimal copay for glasses pay for itself when used annually.
You can choose from two plans with no waiting period after enrollment. Both plans offer a $150 allowance for frames when in-network and up to $75 when out-of-network, plus a $10 copay for your annual eye exam and lenses, both with in-network providers.
UHC also provides a 35% discount for LASIK procedures. The difference between both plans is that Plan B lets you select an allowance for both contact lenses and glasses, whereas Plan A only lets you choose one. Plan A can be as low as $10.40 per month and Plan B as low as $14.30 per month.
Read the fine print carefully; as with some policies, you won't be able to cancel within the first 12 months.
Their vision insurance is underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance and is rated A- (Excellent) by AM Best. It's available throughout the U.S. except for Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia.
Best Price : Direct Vision
The company offers competitively priced plans that are underwritten by one of the country's largest insurance companies.
Can cancel within 30 days
Low deductibles for individuals and families
Need to contact company for specific plan details
Contact for geographic coverage
Need to ask for discounts
Direct Vision's policies are underwritten by Ameritas, one of the nation's largest insurance companies. Ameritas serves over four million customers and has an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from Standard & Poor's.
We chose Direct Vision as an insurer with the best price because of its low premium and deductibles, keeping annual costs down for individuals, couples, and families. Plans start as low as $9.22 per month for individuals, and you get access to plans and discounts offered by two of the largest vision insurance companies in the U.S.
Both the VSP and EyeMed plans have two tiers and all include a $15 deductible for annual eye exams, a $25 deductible for standard, bifocal, or trifocal lenses, and a $150 allowance for frames or contacts (with no deductible or copay). The main difference between tiers and providers is how often you can use your benefits.
There are no waiting periods, and Direct Vision offers a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee; if you're not happy with your plan, you can cancel it within that time frame.
Best Value (Coverage for Price) : Humana
- No. Policy Types: Multiple
- Coverage Limit ($): Contact for details
- Providers In Network (#): contact for details
Humana offers coverage in 43 states and Washington D.C. and offers discounts if you go over the allowance for things like contact lenses.
Simple easy-to-understand plans
Other types of insurance available
Discounts only apply to in-network providers.
Some pre-existing conditions not covered
Enrollment fee may apply
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Humana has an AM Best rating of A- and a Standard & Poor's rating of BBB+. Vision insurance plans are available in Washington, D.C., and all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. They have 95,000 locations in the Humana vision network.
What we like about Humana is the simplicity of their plans and the discount you get if you go over the contacts or frames allowance (rare with other companies). To start, you receive a $150 allowance for glasses or contacts. Then, you'll also receive 20% off your balance if you go over your frames allowance, as well as other add-ons and services. For contact lenses, you'll receive a 15% discount off your balance over the allowance.
If it's deemed that your contacts are medically necessary, Humana will cover the cost of materials, but if you have a history of corneal or elective refractive surgery, you won't' be covered. These discounts only apply to in-network providers.
You are required to pay a $35 enrollment fee (no fee if you bundle it with their dental plans), then your monthly premium starts at $11.49 per month with no waiting period. You'll need to pay a $15 copay for an in-network annual eye exam, a $40 copay for standard contact lens exams, a $25 copay for standard plastic lenses, and lens options starting at a $15 copay.
Best for Families : Ameritas
Large network of providers in all 50 states
No waiting periods
Plans for families and individuals
Need to contact for maximum coverage
Pay deductible on lower tiered plan
Smaller allowance on lower tiered plan
Founded in 1887 and originally called The Old Line Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska, Ameritas serves over 4 million customers and has received high ratings from AM Best (A) and Standard & Poor’s (A+). Plans are available nationwide, and there are no waiting periods.
Ameritas offers two tiers to their plans that are affordable for families, starting at $23.47 per month. All tiers offer free eye exams every 12 months (covered in full), but the lower tier only offers contacts or eyeglass lenses and frames every 24 months, a $25 eye exam deductible, and a $130 allowance for frames or contacts.
The higher tier offers a lower copay for eye exams at $10 and a $150 allowance for frames or contacts every 12 months.
The companies that made our list of the best vision insurance companies have various positive and negative attributes. Some have large provider networks and high coverage limits, while others offer immediate coverage and low prices.
Overall, we recommend checking out Vision Service Plan. The company was founded by a group of ophthalmologists, has multiple plans, and a large network of providers.
Compare the Best Vision Insurance Companies
|Company||Plans (#)||Providers In Network (#)||Coverage Limit ($)||Waiting Period|
|Vision Service Plan
|Vary by state||39,000+||Contact for details||Next business day|
Runner-Up, Best Overall
|3||100,000||Contact for details||No|
|UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance)
Best Wellness Eye Care
|2||Not disclosed||Contact for details||No|
|Direct Vision Insurance
Best Value (Coverage for Price)
|Multiple||Not disclosed||Contact for details||Contact for details|
Best for Families
Guide to Choosing the Best Vision Insurance Company
Do You Need Vision Insurance?
Before deciding if you need vision insurance, assess your current vision needs. Vision insurance typically helps to cover the costs of things like routine eye exams and prescription eyewear. You may need vision insurance if you currently wear glasses or contact lenses or think your vision is deteriorating, and you may need them in the future. Other considerations include cataracts and laser eye surgery.
Compare Vision Insurance Companies
It's a good idea to shop around whenever you're selecting insurance and anything relating to your health. Keep in mind the following things when comparing vision insurance companies:
- Coverage areas: The first thing you want to determine is if coverage is available in your area and how many providers there are to choose from that are convenient for you. You don't want to choose a company and then have to end up driving hours to the nearest provider's office.
- Types of plans: What types of plans are offered? How much do they cost, and what do they cover? Just as you compare providers, compare the plans they offer too.
- Exclusions: What is excluded from the plan? Are things like contact lenses included? You want to find out all exclusions upfront.
- Discounts: See if the company offers discounts on frames and lenses and if they offer discounts on services. For example, some companies offer 30% off contact lenses and other companies offer a certain dollar amount to be used towards contact lenses. Compare them to find out which will cost you less.
Selecting a Vision Insurance Company
After you have made your selection and chosen a vision insurance company based on your needs, it’s time to apply for a quote either over the phone with an agent or online. You can select your policy and enroll, and usually, payment is required at the time of enrollment, which can generally be done online or over the phone with a credit card.
After you’ve enrolled in your chosen policy, you should be able to manage it online, make your ongoing payments online. Additionally, some companies offer apps that you can download on your smartphone or tablet to manage your policy on the go.
Remember to take advantage of your vision insurance coverage. Go to your eye exams, follow your doctor’s advice, and stay up to date with your contact or glasses prescriptions. You’re paying for coverage, so you might as well use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Vision Insurance?
Vision insurance is a supplemental health insurance plan that can help you reduce your vision care-related expenses. These plans will cover some products and services such as glasses and eye exams—additional benefits may differ between insurers.
These types of plans—whether you're purchasing an individual plan or an optional rider with your regular health insurance—are best for those who have recurring vision expenses, such as purchasing contact lenses regularly or those who require annual eye exams. Plans may have copays or deductibles—copays are a fixed amount you pay out of pocket before your insurer covers the remaining balance. In contrast, a deductible is the amount you'll need to pay each year before your vision insurance kicks in.
For example, if you have a $10 copay for eye exams, that's all you need to pay when you visit your eye doctor; your insurance will cover the rest. Whereas if you have a $300 deductible, you'll need to spend that amount on any qualifying expense within a calendar year before insurance will pay for whatever's covered in your vision plan.
Even those who plan on going through LASIK or a similar type of eye surgery may find vision insurance useful. That's because you may be able to save a considerable sum of money compared to paying for vision expenses out of pocket. LASIK isn't covered by regular health insurance, so vision insurance may offer a discount on services if you're' using an in-network doctor.
What Does Vision Insurance Typically Include?
Vision insurance plans include benefits that can help you detect eye disease or serious vision problems early and make maintaining good eyesight a bit more affordable. This includes costs related to contacts, eyeglasses, and annual eye exams. Plus, many plans offer discounts for LASIK procedures—health insurance doesn’t necessarily cover it because it isn’t considered medically necessary.
Visits with in-network doctors may require pre-authorization before your exam, whereas for out-of-network ones, you may need to pay upfront then submit receipts for reimbursement, assuming your provider covers it.
What Does Vision Insurance Typically Exclude?
Vision insurance plans don’t cover the treatment of eye diseases—that’s usually covered under your regular health insurance plan. In other words, health insurance typically covers eye care when it’s related to a medical condition. Let’s say you have eye complications from diabetes, diagnosed high blood pressure, or cataracts, then your health insurance may cover the eye care, whereas vision insurance may take care of the eye exam if your medical insurance doesn’t.
What Are the Expected Costs of Vision Insurance?
Monthly premiums from the companies mentioned above are relatively inexpensive, averaging around $10 for the lowest tiered plans. All plans include an annual eye exam and allowances for eyeglasses or contact, though the exact amount permitted and copay amounts differ between insurers.
You can expect to pay more—some as high as around $30 a month—for higher tiers of coverage. Companies with higher-tiered plans typically include a bigger allowance for glasses and contact lenses, lower copays, and additional discounts on other products and services (like LASIK surgery).
Is Paying for Vision Insurance Worth It?
Maintaining vision health is crucial to your overall health. For example, during routine eye exams, doctors may detect serious health problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Getting diagnosed early could mean lowering overall medical treatment costs.
Even something as simple as impaired vision can affect your day-to-day life—think mobility, normal communication, and even your independence. For children, having an undiagnosed vision impairment can hinder their long-term health, academic, and social achievement.
Plus, paying for vision may be worth it from a cost-savings perspective. If your vision care needs outweigh the cost of insurance, then it might be a good idea to consider getting some form of coverage.
For example, your vision insurance premium costs you $124 each year. A basic eye exam can cost around $100, but you only pay $10 as your copay. You find out you need new glasses, and it costs you $200 for the pair with standard lenses. You need to pay out $50 since you only receive a $150 allowance. That means you only pay a total of $184 for the year (including the copay and the amount above your allowance) instead of the $300 it would cost without insurance, saving you $116.
We researched and reviewed more than a dozen top vision insurance companies before narrowing them down to the top six. We chose reputable companies that have been in business for years and specifically offer vision insurance plans. We placed importance on things like the types and numbers of plans, coverage limits, and waiting periods. We also considered the size of the provider network.