Vision insurance and vision plans are designed to help customers with vision issues reduce the cost of their eyecare and prescription eyewear, covering prescription glasses, contact lenses, and eye exams, etc. However, regular vision checkups can also detect a whole host of hidden medical problems, though people with poor vision, a family history of eye disease or a condition that may exacerbate vision problems (like diabetes) , should also have frequent exams.

Usually referred to under the term vision insurance, vision plans more accurately function as stand-alone annual wellness benefits or discount plans, except in the case of medically necessary eye surgery, which usually falls under general health insurance coverage. It's important to note here that eyecare for children is considered an essential benefit under the Affordable Care Act, but adult healthcare is not required to include vision plans. Basic services are usually limited to eye examinations with dilation, one eyeglass frame and pair of lenses, and possibly a pair of contact lenses. Refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK may also be included. Value-added options, such as progressive, high-index, photocromic, or polycarbonate lenses, are also typically available, as well as anti-reflective or scratch-resistant coating, and polarized sunglasses.

When evaluating different vision plans, it's important to determine which provides the benefits and discounts that best meet your specific needs, which will save you the most, and whether it has quality assurance mechanisms and simple claims procedures. Also remember that even if one of the aforementioned options isn't included and must be paid for out-of-pocket, you may still find that the components that are covered result in a significant reduction of your overall cost. 

Top 8 Companies

Our Partner
9.9 / 10
  • Top Rated Vision Plans Start As Low As $17/month
  • Nation’s largest vision benefits provider for more than 60 years
  • Coverage for eye exams, frames, lens enhancement, and contacts
  • More than 33,000 in-network doctors nationwide
  • Personalized service with multiple plans to fit your needs
  • Easy Online Enrollment (or speak with VSP representative by phone)
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • Rated A+ by the BBB
  • Pre-determined discounts on all vision-related expenses
  • Annual routine eye exam
  • Wide variety of vision plans to choose from
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Locate a provider online
  • A+ BBB accredited
  • Savings on eye care and eyewear
  • Access to thousands of nationwide providers including top optical retail brands
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Vision plans free with every dental plan
  • Up to 20-40% off the retail price of eyewear
  • Save on laser vision correction
  • Unlimited frequency on usage
  • Discounts on eye exams, contact lenses, frames and lenses
9.2 / 10
  • Save up to 15% off on lenses and frames purchased at any Walmart Vision Center
  • Prescription savings at over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide  
  • No elimination or waiting periods
  • Freedom to see any vision care provider
  • Rated A+ by the BBB
9.2 / 10
  • Apply for vision insurance online
  • Get vision insurance with medical or dental plan
  • Find optometrists online
  • Covers eye exam, frames and lenses
8.7 / 10
  • Over 12,000 optical and Lasik locations nationwide
  • No restrictions or limitations on number of purchases
  • Online account management
  • Up to 20% off on eyeglass examinations
  • Online enrollment
7.8 / 10
  • No waiting periods
  • Annual eye and vision exams
  • No ID cards or claim forms required
  • Discount on LASIK eye surgery
  • $150 frame allowance
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How We Compare Vision Insurance



Each vision insurance plan offers different levels of coverage, starting with basic eye healthcare and wellness needs such as vision exams, prescription glasses and contact lenses, usually performed by doctors and care providers within the network. More comprehensive plans may also provide discounts for elective surgical procedures such as LASIK vision correction, additional allowances for out-of-coverage providers and health professionals, or lens enhancement alternatives for prescription glasses. 

Common exclusions include eye exams given during a hospital stay, contact lens exams, prescriptions, elective corrective procedures such as LASIK and PRK, light sensitive lenses, vision therapy, lens tints, and replacement of lost or stolen prescription eyewear; though these may all be abailable as optional policy ride-ons. 

Types of Vision Insurance


Vision insurance, though typically offered as a value-added benefit connected to an existing health insurance plan, can also be purchased as a stand-alone discount plan. This last option is the simplest type of plan, as it usually works as a flat discount (commonly between 15 and 30%) for vision services such as routine eye exams, some surgical procedures, and prescription eyewear. After the discount has been applied, policyholders are responsible for paying the remainding cost of the service. These plans offer the advantage of low insurance premiums, and are therefore a good option for consumers on a budget.

The other available option is incorporating visioncare as a benefit plan that acts as a rider to your existing health insurance coverage. Vision benefit plans usually take the form of preferred organizations (PPOs), or health maintenance organizations (HMOs). PPOs have a specific network of eye doctors you are allowed to use, which charge a fixed rate below retail prices; if you go out-of-network, costs are usually substantially higher. HMOs only allow their customers to access care from within their netowrk of healthcare providers, in order to access their discounted rates. In any case, both HMOs and PPOs provide eyewear and eye care at discounted rates, for an annual premium or membership fee. In some cases, customers must also pay a small deductible, or fixed dollar amount they must pay out-of-pocket per each service. 



Vision insurance benefit plans are usually inexpensive when part of an employee health plan, though specific costs may vary depending on how each plan is structured and on the customer's state of residence. Since these types of plans are usually rolled into employer-provided group plans, they can be charged either as either payroll deductions or so-called cafeteria plans (flexible spending accounts, or FSAs). The latter allows employees to use pre-tax dollars to purchase select health benefits (eye care, in this case).

When you've purchased vision insurance on your own account, (whether due to self-employment or due to your employer not offering vision insurance), then you will be billed separately either monthly or annually, and costs can be higher than when the coverage is rolled into an existing healthcare plan. 

When considering the costs involved with vision insurance, it's important to make note not only of the services you need, but the frequency with which your plan allows you access. If you're choosing between a benefit plan and a discount one, it's important to compare the actual costs of the services you need, and which type of plan is most likely to offer you greater savings. Coverage and payments can vary significantly between plans, and it can be structured considerably different to regular health insurance. For instance, eye surgeries for glaucoma may be covered, but only as a flat payment of, say, $1,000 (and anything over that must be covered by the customer). Traditional health insurance coverage would usually only require you pay a deductible, and cover everything over that. 

Customer Experience


Any reputable vision insurance plan should offer easy ways to contact them, either over the phone, via email, or live chat online. It's also important to check whether the plan has a waiting period between the moment of purchase, and when coverage begins. Incidents which occur during waiting periods are not claimable.