How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?
What's Covered by Insurance, What’s Not, and How to Get the Best Price
Refractive eye surgery—also known as Laser eye surgery—is used to correct or improve vision when you have astigmatism (presbyopia), nearsightedness (myopia), or farsightedness (hyperopia). Laser eye surgery uses a laser to correct the shape of the cornea and can be successful in helping improve vision, or to regain vision to the point that you may no longer need glasses. Here’s what you need to know about how much laser eye surgery costs, what’s covered by health insurance (or not), and how to find the best price.
How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?
The national average of laser eye surgery is about $2088 per eye for LASIK. If you have a Custom LASIK procedure, the cost could be up to $500 more per eye. If you have a procedure with IntraLase technology, then you can expect to add around $344 per eye.
However, it may surprise you to find out that 77% of U.S. eye surgeons charge the same fee regardless of which type of procedure or technology they use.
If you’re wondering if your quote for laser eye surgery is a fair price, here is some data from Market Scope LLC:
- 9.9% of LASIK surgeons charge between $2,501–$3,000
- 43.8% charge between $2,001–$2,500
- 37.2% charge between $1,501–$2,000
- 9.1% charge between $1,001–$1,500
Factors in the Cost of Laser Eye Surgery
- The experience of the surgeon
- The technology used for your laser eye surgery
- The pricing policies, payment plans or discounts offered by the surgeon
- What they include in the price estimate, see our checklist below for a list of what to compare
41% of Refractive or Laser Eye Surgeons offer special financing and payment plans
Does Health Insurance Cover Laser Eye Surgery?
In most cases, standard health insurance does not cover the cost of laser eye surgery. Although laser eye surgery may seem critical to you, most health insurance providers consider this to be a cosmetic procedure and therefore exclude coverage for it.
How to Qualify for Laser Eye Surgery With Your Health Insurance
You might be able to get coverage through your health insurance for laser eye surgery if you meet certain conditions. For example:
- If the laser eye surgery is medically necessary as a result of an injury, accident, or surgical error
- If no other method of vision correction is possible
Be prepared to provide your insurance with documentation to support the medical necessity of your surgery along with expert opinions and referrals.
Vision Insurance and Laser Eye Surgery Coverage
If you have supplemental health insurance such as a vision insurance plan, then you may have some coverage or discounted prices on laser eye surgery. To understand what’s covered or not for laser eye surgery, ask about deductibles, whether or not there are limits (the maximum they will pay), and to what percentage of the procedure they will pay (co-pays).
If your vision insurance does not cover laser eye surgery, you can shop around to find plans that do. When you find one, be sure and ask if there is a waiting period before you are covered.
Before committing to a surgeon, check if there are conditions that would impact whether the insurance will pay or not.
For example, ask them if you have to use certain doctors or clinics, or if they offer “in-network” providers with special pricing and discounts?
Checklist: How to Compare Costs for Laser Eye Surgery
Various aspects will impact the total cost of refractive or laser eye surgery. Use this checklist to compare costs, so you get the best price.
- Are there any conditions or qualifications that will impact the price quoted?
- Is the technology they are using older or newer?
- Is the price for one eye or both eyes?
- What if something goes wrong? Will there be additional costs?
- Will you need to pay for temporary lenses or other costs while you recover?
- If you are financing your surgery, compare interest rates, and payment terms—low to no interest programs may be available.
- Ask if there is a Refractive Surgery Coordinator who can review the cost options with you.
- Make sure the quote you are getting is for your prescription and not just a generalized number to get you in the door.
- Compare the number of follow-ups, after-surgery care, pretreatment diagnostic testing, surgeon fees, medications provided, and any facility fees included (or not included) in the costs.
Some clinics or surgeons will offer promotional pricing on the cost of laser eye surgery, but once you go to the clinic for an in-person consultation, the price may go up. You should not be expected to pay a “non-refundable deposit” to book a consultation.
Options to Help You Pay for Laser Eye Surgery
If your health insurance does not cover laser eye surgery, there are a few options you can consider to help you finance your laser eye surgery.
- Some employers may offer vision programs or discounted laser eye surgery pricing with certain providers. Before taking on the cost yourself, find out if your employer offers any benefits.
- Consider medical loans that may offer flexible payment options, and in some cases, interest-free payment periods to help you.
- Look into medical credit cards which can help finance medical costs and may offer lower interest rates than your standard credit card.
- Ask the laser eye surgery clinic if they offer any payment plans or discounts for paying in one lump sum or cash.
Using An HSA or FSA to Pay For Laser Eye Surgery
If you have an HSA or FSA, you may be able to use the funds to pay for your laser eye surgery. Although this does not offer a “discount,” using an HSA can save you money due to the tax-free advantages and pre-tax employer contributions. With a little planning, you could save money in an HSA or FSA to finance your surgery.
The Mayo Clinic. "LASIK Surgery: Is it Right For You?" Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
Market Scope U.S. Refractive Surveys. "Average Cost of Laser Refractive Surgeries," Accessed Nov. 22. 2019.
All About Vision. "How to Compare Laser Eye Surgery Prices," Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
American Refractive Surgery Council. "How Insurance Covers LASIK and Other Laser Vision Correction Procedures," Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
See With LASIK. "Understanding LASIK Eye Surgery Costs," Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.