How Insurance Covers LASIK and Other Laser Vision Correction Procedures
Nearly 60 percent of people in the U.S. need prescription eyewear to see well, including those struggling with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Those weighing options for vision correction naturally want to understand how insurance cover LASIK or other laser vision correction procedures. Part of choosing a procedure like LASIK is figuring out how to pay for the associated cost. Health plan holders often wonder if insurance covers LASIK in their vision benefits.
The good news is that some policies do offer some benefits that can help people wanting LASIK. However, because it isn’t considered a medical necessity, rarely is the entire cost of LASIK covered by insurance. Health insurance providers point to the fact that glasses and contacts offer adequate, safe vision correction. But patients struggling with glasses and contacts in living daily life certainly want to explore other options.
The first step, always, is having a complete exam to evaluate the health of the eyes and measure vision function to determine if a laser vision correction procedure is recommended. Once a patient is identified as a good candidate for a procedure, then a more informed discussion about the costs and coverage can occur.
How Insurance Covers LASIK
Vision insurance may be of some help. However, vision benefits are slightly different than standard medical or health insurance. Vision insurance plans are designed to reduce a patient’s costs related to routine preventative eye care. While most of the benefits relate to eye exams and prescription eye wear, some plans offer additional savings. Some of the larger vision insurance carriers offer specific laser vision correction benefits including:
- Discounts on laser vision correction procedures
- Higher discounts of up to 50% on procedures performed by in-network surgeons
- Frame benefits for non-prescription sunglasses after vision correction surgery
Understanding how insurance covers LASIK can make a difference for some patients. Regardless of insurance plan, a laser vision correction patient should anticipate paying for some of the cost of the procedure. There are, however, many ways to pay for LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures including:
Many surgical practices offer patients financing plans for their portion of the costs of a procedure. Some patients qualify for very affordable interest rates and payment plans. Patients often use low or no interest credit cards or bank loans to help spread out the payments over time.
Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA):
Some employers offer access to an FSA or HSA to allow employees to set aside tax-free money that can later be used for a qualified procedure such as LASIK. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service currently caps accounts at $2,600 for an individual FSA or up to $3,400 in an individual HSA.
Bonuses, Gifts and Refunds
Unanticipated financial windfalls offer a tremendous opportunity for patients to invest in excellent vision by helping to offset the costs associated with a laser vision correction procedure.
It’s good to know benefit and human resource managers are great resources for details about the benefits offered by an insurance plan or other benefits such as FSAs and HSAs. Employees and policy holders who are interested in understanding what vision and other benefits are available in a specific plan should contact the either the insurance provider directly, or ask for assistance from the employer benefits manager.
In conclusion, knowing insurance covers LASIK with benefits and savings is helpful to those who are interested in improving their vision with a laser vision correction procedure. Once it is firmly established a patient is a good candidate following a thorough eye exam with a highly qualified surgeon, exploring the options for savings, coverage and payment is a logical next step.