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Insurance Vision Insurance

What Does Vision Insurance Cover?

Many people purchase vision insurance policies through their employers or from independent insurance companies. Like health insurance, vision coverage can help reduce high medical costs—in this case, those associated with optometry appointments and things like glasses or contact lenses.

Before you select a vision insurance provider, it’s important to know precisely what their insurance policies cover.

On this page:

What IS usually covered by vision insurance

When you purchase any kind of insurance policy, there are a few things that you need to know. You have to know what the plan covers, as well as how it covers those things. If the plan only covers a third of the cost of eye care or eyewear, you need to be ready to pay the remaining two-thirds of those costs out of pocket.

Some things that vision insurance typically covers include:

  • Eye exams, vision tests, and other forms of preventative vision care, often with a small copay
  • An allowance for eyeglass frames (you pay for any amount above this allowance to purchase more expensive frames)
  • Prescription eyeglass lenses
  • Some treatments for lenses, such as scratch-resistance
  • Either an allowance for contacts, over which you must pay the cost, or a co-pay for contact orders

Vision insurance also typically offers discounts on things like:

  • Corrective surgery, such as LASIK
  • Lens treatments like anti-glare, shatter-resistance, or transition
  • Progressive lenses

Some insurance providers offer multiple levels of coverage. The cheaper coverage typically has more exclusions and lower allowances. The premium coverage typically has higher allowances and will cover or offer discounts on optional things like lens treatments.

What usually IS NOT covered by vision insurance

Like any kind of insurance plan, vision insurance often excludes certain types of equipment or treatment. The exact exclusions will vary with your policy, but some common exclusions are:

  • More than one eye exam, each year
  • Additional frames and lenses (unless replacing glasses under warranty)
  • Miscellaneous fees and charges, such as missed appointment fees, charged by your optometrist
  • Non-prescription glasses, such as those purchased at a drug store
  • Medical treatments related to the eyes (medical insurance typically covers these procedures)
  • Experimental care

Example: What a typical VSP Individual Vision Plan policy covers & costs

VSP is the largest vision insurance provider in the United States. With a VSP Individual Vision Plan, you can buy coverage on your own for yourself, or you and one other, or your entire family. Let’s compare two plans: Standard and EasyOptions, which include similar procedures at different levels of coverage.

Eye exam copay$15$15
Frames allowance$150$150 or $230
See custom benefit
Basic lens copay$25$25
Anti-glare coating$85$85
Impact-resistance lenses$35$35
Light-to-dark tinting$75See custom benefit
Custom benefitn/aChoose One
Progressive lenses (no-line multifocal):
No copay

Light-to-dark tinting covered:
No copay

Higher frame or contacts allowance:
Visit websiteView ratesView rates

VSP also offers the option to add an additional person, or your whole family, to your policy. Here are sample monthly premiums for these two plans (note: rates below are for California, but they vary by state. Your rate may be higher or lower than what’s shown.):

Self + one$32.33$55.94
Self + family$44.16$76.46
Visit websiteView ratesView rates

If you want to compare other options, check out our guide to the best vision insurance.