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Home » Insurance » What’s in Your Vision Insurance Plan

What’s in Your Vision Insurance Plan

There are more options for vision insurance today than ever before. Whether your vision insurance plan is one you choose as an additional benefit in your employer health benefits package, or vision coverage you seek on your own through an insurance company or vision benefits provider, there are basics you should understand to make the most of vision insurance.

Understanding Vision Plans and Coverage

The options available to you in vision plans can be a little daunting. If you’ve chosen your vision insurance through your employer, your HR department and the insurance company literature—and websites—are a good place to start to understand what your vision insurance plan does and does not cover.
In general, there are two types of vision insurance plans:

Vision Benefits Package

Often purchased as an addition to traditional employer-provided healthcare, this type of vision insurance includes a fixed set of benefits related to eye health and maintenance, such as routine eye exams and testing, discounts for corrective eyewear, even benefits that reduce the cost of eye surgery. Vision insurance like this typically includes a network of participating eyecare professionals who have agreed to honor the plan particulars.

This type of vision insurance plan has evolved over the years to include more personalized choice for the consumer in the form of defined contribution vision coverage—where you, the consumer, choose the particular services and discount offerings based on what you expect your vision expenses to be.

Many of these vision plans involve using pre-tax dollars deducted automatically by your employer in the form of Flexible Spending Accounts, ‘Cafeteria’ Plans, Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts. Each has particular tax advantages and drawbacks you should discuss in full with your vision plan administrator or provider, and if necessary, a tax professional.

Vision Discount Plans

While similar to traditional vision benefits, this type of vision insurance is generally less flexible than a vision benefits package because it offers flat discounts across the board for a wide menu of vision-related services, including specified discounts on eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses, even many surgical procedures.

You agree to pay the difference in cost in full—however these types of plans generally offer lower premiums than traditional vision benefit plans.
Vision insurance like this typically includes a “network” of participating eyecare professionals who have agreed to honor the stated discounts within the vision plan, so long as you agree to pay the difference.

Vision Insurance Planning

It may sound confusing at first, but you can plan to use your vision insurance to your maximum benefit by fully understanding what is specifically covered or not covered under your vision insurance plan, and by also discussing options with your eyecare professional to see how best to apply your particular vision coverage to your eyecare expenses.

This planning includes fully understanding any traditional health insurance coverage you may have. Unexpected eye injury, or the onset of certain eye diseases and their related treatments is often covered by your traditional health insurance rather than your specific vision insurance plan.

The point here is—it’s your vision insurance, your vision coverage—understanding your particular vision insurance plan is critical to maximizing those benefits.

Use it or lose it. Vision insurance benefits do expire.

Depending upon the type of vision insurance plan you’ve enrolled in, your vision insurance benefits may expire annually. This means if you don’t “use it” you “lose it” until the next year. Since you are contributing your hard-earned money toward your vision coverage, there’s really no excuse to skip your annual eye exam or see your optometrist should you experience any changes in your vision.

What’s more, many of the defined contribution vision insurance plans (Flexible Spending Accounts in particular) don’t allow for your deposited money to roll over into the next year. If you don’t spend what you’ve allocated, you may be at risk of losing that money entirely.

Think beyond the traditional examination to a second pair of eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, photochromic lenses, or eyewear that’s specifically designed to fit your lifestyle. All might be within ready reach if you maximize your vision insurance coverage.

Special thanks to the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, for source material that aided in the creation of this website.

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NOTICE OF TEMPORARY CLOSURE/REDUCED BUSINESS HOURS DUE TO COVID-19

Dear Patients and Families of First Eye Care Grand Prairie,

In light of the recent development and spread of COVID-19, our top priority has remained the safety of our patients, families, community, and staff.

The American Optometric Association (AOA), Texas Optometric Association (TOA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that “health care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks” and to “postpone routine dental and eyecare visits.

To better follow the guidelines recommended by the CDC, we have made the decision to postpone routine eye exams and temporarily close. A doctor will be on call for urgent or emergency medical eye visits only. Should you have an ocular emergency that requires immediate or urgent care, whether it is an injury, infection, foreign body, or sudden change in vision, please call/text (469) 563-2460.

We will have limited staff in the office on an as needed basis for urgent/emergency visits, and to take care of contact lens orders, picking up glasses, etc. Patients can arrange to get their contact lenses ordered and shipped to home, or curbside pick up of glasses/contact lenses can also be arranged. We believe that this unfortunate but necessary step will allow us to better follow the CDC’s guidelines and the Dallas County Shelter in Place Order to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

We will continue to monitor and keep you informed as the situation unfolds and will update you on changing hours as we learn more.

We want to thank you for your overwhelming understanding and support as we get through these difficult times together (but socially distant). We are most concerned for your health and safety, and that of your family, and look forward to seeing you again soon!