Interested in vision insurance for your household? You can add a supplemental vision insurance policy to your current health care coverage. The costs of eye exams, corrective eyeglasses, and contact lenses can mean hefty bills for you without a quality vision coverage plan in place. 

You have a great deal of choice when it comes to choosing a vision insurance partner, so we’ve narrowed the field a bit by outlining the best vision insurance companies today. We looked at the options that are most important to consumers, such as size of network, plans available, and out-of-pocket costs.

7 Best Vision Insurance Companies

  • EyeMed
  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
  • Davis Vision
  • UnitedHealthcare (UHC) 
  • Direct Vision
  • Humana
  • Ameritas

When you start researching vision insurance policies, you’ll find that you have a lot of choices. While that generally works in your favor, it can also make the process of choosing a provider more overwhelming and confusing than it has to be. But when you start with a group of vetted and qualified providers in the first place, you can move forward with confidence. 

The vision insurance companies listed here are well known for providing quality service and a variety of options. Once you have a stable base of good partners, you can begin examining plan details to determine which provider offers the best vision insurance for you and your household.

What Is Vision Insurance?

Since vision care isn’t typically included in most comprehensive health insurance plans, a supplemental vision insurance policy helps make sure you have access to vision care without incurring significant out-of-pocket costs. Services include regular eye exams, plus corrective items like eyeglasses and contacts, along with some eye surgeries that may become necessary. A good vision insurance policy can effectively offset vision-related charges that you’d otherwise be forced to pay out of pocket.

When you consider that more than 150 million Americans need some type of vision correction, plus millions with other vision-related disorders, it seems an easy decision to have vision insurance for you and your family. A simple eye exam, plus the price of eyeglass frames and lenses, can cost upwards of $350. Without a vision insurance policy, you’ll have to pay the full cost. 

Vision Coverage for Children Under 19

One item of note is that the Affordable Care Act requires coverage for pediatric vision care, which means that children under age 19 who are covered under an ACA-compliant health care plan will also receive coverage for eye exams, vision screening, and eyeglasses at no additional charge. All health care plans sold in the Health Insurance Marketplace include vision care for children, but only a few plans include vision coverage for adults. This requirement does not apply to private insurance plans.

7 Best Vision Insurance Companies

Many different companies offer vision insurance options. Let’s take a look at some of the best and most reliable companies for vision insurance.

1. EyeMed

EyeMed offers access to more than 66,000 independent eye doctors, optical retailers, and online providers, allowing you to choose from a wide variety of quality brands. With EyeMed, vision consumers can choose from three different plan levels, ranging from $5 to $30 per month. Benefits kick in immediately with no waiting period. 

EyeMed plans allow patients to access everything from regular vision exams to eyeglasses and contacts, plus additional discounts and out-of-network benefits. According to EyeMed, its members save an average of 71% off the retail price of eye exams and glasses when they visit in-network eye doctors. EyeMed currently serves more than 66,000 members through its three different plan levels, and coverage is available either independently or through employer plans. EyeMed plans are available in 48 of the 50 U.S. states.

2. Vision Service Plan (VSP)

Vision Service Plan (VSP) is the largest provider of vision insurance in the nation. VSP plans start at $13 per month and serve more than 80 million Americans. With VSP, you can choose an individualized plan that works for you, so you can save on regular eye exams, lens enhancements, additional frames, and more. 

VSP members have access to more than $3,000 in savings by becoming a member of VSP’s program, and benefits begin immediately, with no waiting period. While VSP offers a standard vision plan, you also have the option to build your own customized plan that better matches your individual needs. VSP offers benefits in all 50 U.S. states and boasts a network of more than 40,000 providers. Please note that you cannot combine any VSP plan with existing Medicaid plans.

3. Davis Vision

Davis Vision is a long-time player in the vision insurance business, with a history dating back more than 50 years. Davis also boasts a network of more than 100,000 in-network providers and partnerships with all top eyewear retailers. Davis Vision insurance plans start at $12.50 per month. There are three different plan options, with the Premier version costing members $23 per month. According to Davis, 98% of its members report a high level of satisfaction with the coverage and customer service they receive.

Davis Vision is a well-respected vision insurance provider, largely due to its view of eye health as part of a comprehensive wellness plan that includes hearing aids and diabetic programs not typically covered by medical insurance. Plans are available for either individuals or employers. 

Davis Vision does not offer coverage in all 50 U.S. states. However, with a simple tool on the Davis Vision website, you can enter your zip code to determine whether your area is eligible for coverage.

4. UnitedHealthcare (UHC)

UnitedHealthcare’s vision insurance is an especially good option for patients who need LASIK surgery. In fact, with UHC’s plans, patients can get up to 40% off the cost of the LASIK procedure. United Healthcare has partnered with QualSight LASIK, which offers more than 900 correction locations across the country. 

UHC boasts more than 75 years of experience servicing over 46 million people in all 50 states. Currently, 1.3 million physicians practice within the UHC network.

UHC offers two basic plans: one for patients who wear either contacts or glasses and an additional plan option for patients who wear both glasses and contacts. Premiums are $10.40 and $14.30, and neither plan requires a waiting period before benefits begin. UHC vision insurance premiums also can be combined with other existing UHC policies, such as dental or health, which will lower your overall cost for premiums. In addition, UHC vision plans provide a double allowance per 12-month period for frames and contacts, which is essentially unheard of with any other provider.

5. Direct Vision

Direct Vision insurance provides affordable vision insurance coverage both online and through a network of more than 12,000 agents across the country. With Direct Vision, patients can access two different levels of plans, both of which provide in- and out-of-network benefits, with no waiting period required. Monthly premiums start at $11.53 per month and copayments are generally $15-25 for most vision care services. 

Members enjoy a wide range of choices when it comes to eye doctors, while also receiving a discount on LASIK services and a generous eyeglass frame allowance. Direct Vision benefits are available in all 50 U.S. states.

6. Humana

Humana is the third largest health insurance provider in the U.S. Its supplemental vision insurance offers some tremendous benefits, especially for patients who wear corrective contact lenses. For example, several plans include contact lens allowances with no deductible. Overall, the company’s approach to vision insurance is straightforward. Humana offers three different plan levels, which range in price from $13 to $16, plus a $35 initiation fee. If you bundle your vision insurance with a dental plan, the $35 initiation fee is waived. 

With Humana vision insurance, you can expect low copays, access to out-of-network benefits, and convenient locations for eye exams and when shopping for corrective glasses or contact lenses. Humana’s robust network offers access to more than 23,000 in-network providers in convenient locations, including Sears Optical, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Target Optical, and JCPenney Optical. Vision care benefits from Humana are available in all 50 U.S. states.

7. Ameritas

Ameritas is a comprehensive health insurance company offering vision insurance, dental insurance, and hearing care products to all 50 states. Patients who sign on with Ameritas can begin using their benefits immediately, with no waiting period. 

Ameritas offers affordable monthly premiums, some starting as low as $8.86 per month. With its robust stable of resources, Ameritas offers several vision insurance plans for individuals and families. Ameritas consistently earns awards for its high level of customer service.

What Does Vision Insurance Cover?

Individual coverage limits will vary according to the specific vision insurance plan you purchase. Most vision insurance companies offer a variety of plan levels. However, in general, you can assume that your vision insurance will cover a few basic items. For the most part, you can count on full or partial coverage for annual eye exams, eyeglass lenses, frames, and contact lenses. Some vision insurance providers may offer higher-tier plans that include things like appointments for contact fittings, lens protection, and even LASIK surgery. Keep in mind that some plans may cover only certain brands or include price limits for frames and contacts. 

Many plans also include discounts on lens upgrades, such as:

  • Anti-glare coating
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Polycarbonate lenses, which are stronger and thinner than standard lenses
  • Transition lenses, which darken when exposed to daylight
  • Progressive lenses, which are bifocal lenses with no line

What Does Vision Insurance NOT Cover?

It’s important to note what vision insurance does not cover. Typically, you are not protected from lost or damaged glasses unless you’ve purchased an upgraded warranty. Some non-prescription glasses, such as readers, may also not be covered. You can expect to pay out-of-pocket if you have more than one eye exam per year, or need an experimental or investigative procedure. Also, if a treatment to the eye is deemed medical in nature, coverage may fall under your health insurance policy instead of your vision insurance policy. 

How Much Does Vision Insurance Cost?

The cost of vision insurance varies widely. The cost of your vision insurance will depend largely on the specific plan you decide to purchase. However, most plans come with fairly reasonable premiums. As a general rule, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 per person per month for a basic vision insurance plan. Higher-tier plans will cost more, though it’s unusual to find monthly premiums higher than $30. 

Like most insurance plans, the higher your monthly premium, the lower your copay when you pay for services. Some vision insurance providers may also charge an enrollment fee. Before you sign on with a particular partner, make sure you understand the full scope of costs.

5 Types of Vision Insurance Plans

Vision insurance plans can be structured in several different ways. There are actually five different types of vision insurance plans.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan

With this type of plan, eye care services are provided through an approved network of select health care providers. You may also use out-of-network specialists, but you’ll pay more in the form of higher co-pays, higher deductibles, or non-discounted charges from providers.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan

This kind of coverage limits eye care services to those provided by doctors who either contract with or work directly for the HMO. An HMO plan will not cover out-of-network eye care services except in cases of emergency. In addition, an HMO may require that you work or live within its service area in order to qualify for coverage.

Indemnity Plan

An indemnity insurance plan is commonly referred to as “traditional” insurance. This plan allows patients to choose a vision care provider with no detrimental effect on reimbursement. Under this type of plan, the insurance carrier pays for some or all of your vision care.

Point of Service Plan (POS)

A Point of Service plan incentivizes you to get your vision care at a particular service location. Specifically, you will be charged less if you use hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care providers who are part of the plan’s network. Under this type of plan, you must get a referral from a primary care doctor to see a specialist of any kind.

Vision Discount Plan

A vision discount plan is similar to vision insurance, but the mechanics of how it works are slightly different. With a vision discount plan, which you may also hear referred to as a vision savings plan, the patient receives a discount on vision services after joining a particular plan group. When you join a vision discount plan, you become a member of a large collective that has negotiated discounted fees with a network of vision care providers. Think of it like a Sam’s Club or a Costco membership. You pay a membership fee to join, and then you receive discounts that, in the best case, surpass the cost of membership.

With some vision discount plans, you can also access services from eye care providers who are not in the group’s network. In these cases, you will usually need to pay for services in full and then request reimbursement from the company. It’s important to understand any discount plan’s policies in this area, especially if you think you may often access out-of-network care.

Vision Insurance vs Vision Discount Plan

When it comes to vision insurance or a vision discount plan, which is better? The answer depends largely on your vision care needs. Vision discount plans and vision savings plans typically cost less up front per year than traditional vision insurance policies, but you may end up paying more out-of-pocket costs for vision care visits and corrective glasses or contacts.

Any type of vision care coverage – whether employer-provided, individual vision insurance, or a vision discount plan – covers a different set of services at varying levels. When you’re shopping for a vision care plan, look for coverage of the services you and your family members will need. For example, if you wear corrective glasses, research the coverage for both eyeglass frames and lenses. If you wear contact lenses, find out how often you can have them replaced and what types of lenses are covered under any plan you’re considering. For LASIK or any other eye surgery, find a plan that covers the procedure.

How To Choose the Best Vision Insurance

As with homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, and health insurance, it’s in your best interests to shop around and do your research when choosing a vision insurance policy. There are several key items to keep in mind. Carefully itemize your vision care needs so that you have an accurate accounting of the services and types of coverage that you require. For example, if you’re contemplating having cataract surgery or LASIK surgery, you need more insurance coverage than someone who’s just looking to cover a yearly eye exam. If you already have an eye doctor you trust, talk to them about your vision needs and how to make sure your vision insurance covers everything essential for you. 

When researching policies, consider the benefits on an annual basis. This may be harder than it sounds. For example, some vision insurance plans allow for an eye exam and a pair of glasses every two years, while other plans offer an exam each year but frames only every two years. This fact may not immediately be noticeable, so if you see an unusually low price, it’s important to understand the full terms of your agreement.

Be sure to understand the vision plan’s network of eye doctors. Under most plans, you will only receive full benefits if you visit an in-network eye doctor. If you already have an eye doctor that you know and love, check whether they are an in-network provider. If you’re looking for an eye doctor, try to choose a plan with a robust network of eye doctors so you can find an eye doctor who’s right for you.

Make note of the allowance your plan provides for eyeglass frames. Some plans may only offer generous allowance on their in-house brand of frames, while others offer a consistent allowance, no matter the frames you choose. It’s important to understand your options when it comes to selecting eyeglass frames covered by your insurance. Take the time to fully research any exclusions and price limits that come with your vision insurance plan.

Also, check whether your vision insurance provider charges any type of enrollment fee. Many times, a provider is able to promote low monthly premiums because they charge a substantial enrollment fee. Verify the full financial obligation you’re taking on before you enter into an agreement with a vision insurance provider. Make sure you understand when your vision insurance benefits become effective. While some providers allow you to use your benefits immediately upon sign-up, others may insist upon a 30-day or even longer waiting period before your benefits become active. 

Purchasing vision insurance is a smart move, but it’s important to pay attention to the fine print. With the right insurance plan, you and your household can receive quality vision care while avoiding the high costs of eye exams, corrective eyeglasses, and contact lenses.