Unfortunately, dental and vision insurance is not always offered as part of a comprehensive health care package provided through full-time employers. But that does not mean that these types of coverage are any less important. In fact, finding an independent eye insurance plan can save you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars in out-of-pocket eye care expenses.
Health and vision insurance may be offered to you as a full-time employee by your employer. This is the most common way to get standard health care, but vision is not always offered as part of the package. By law, employers with at least 50 full-time employees must at least offer health insurance; vision insurance, however, is optional.
Combined dental, health and vision insurance plans give you the most comprehensive coverage. In addition to eye insurance, you’ll be covered for standard medical services as well as dental procedures. However, these plans are rare and often cost the most to maintain.
There are a handful of ways to get vision coverage:
- Employer-sponsored health care plans
- Standalone independent vision plans
- Independent dental and vision insurance combination plans
Since affordable health, dental and vision insurance packages are not commonly offered, independent vision insurance companies offer policies to round out your healthcare.
A standalone eye insurance plan only covers medical services related to your eye health. For example, VSP insurance (also known as Vision Service Plan) is one of the most popular vision-only insurance companies. They work with employers to offer eye insurance to their employees, but also have standalone policies available for people to purchase on their own. VSP insurance covers nearly 80 million Americans.
The cheapest vision insurance policies may be offered as standalone plans because they only cover expenses related to eye care. For example, standalone eye insurance does not offer coverage for general medical care or dental procedures.
If you need both dental and vision insurance coverage, you might consider looking for an independent combination plan. These types of policies combine dental services and eye care services into one policy to make it easier to pay for coverage. Combination policies may cost a bit more per month, but could end up being more affordable than purchasing two standalone policies from different companies.
No matter how you get your eye insurance, you may have the option of choosing how it is issued. Vision insurance may be offered in the following formats:
- Preferred provider organization (PPO) – This type of eye insurance has a network of select health care providers. You may use out-of-network specialists, but it will cost more in the form of copayments (money due up front to the health care provider).
- Health maintenance organization (HMO) – If you have an HMO vision plan, you can only visit doctors within the network. You cannot see an out-of-network doctor except in an emergency.
- Point of service (POS) – With this plan, you will pay less when you use health care providers who belong to the network. However, you must get a referral from your doctor to see a specialist.