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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.

COVID-19 News

 

 

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We are following recommendations from our governing body to postpone routine vision care, and are only opening the office to emergency patients at this time. Patients can reach the office by calling 856-832-4950 or emailing us at vec@sjvillageeyecare.com. We will be returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner.

In the meantime, here are some recommendations to stay healthy while we work through this:

Urgent/Emergency Eye Care:

⁃ Avoid urgent care and the hospitals for eye problems to keep the hospitals more available for COVID-19 care. Call or email our office for emergency eye care needs.

Vision Strain Awareness:

⁃ Children and adults alike are about to spend even more time than usual on their tablets, phones and computers and the risk of eye strain will consequently be much higher. To reduce the risk of eye strain, try to follow the “Rule of Twenty”; when performing prolonged near activities, do the following:

- Maintain a working distance of at least 20 inches (the further you hold things from your face the less focusing effort is required).

- Take a vision break every 20 minutes to look far away (at least 20 feet) for at least 20 seconds.

- For children, the break should be longer.

Social Distancing:

⁃ Help everyone stay safe by social distancing and eliminating unnecessary social interactions. This will make a huge difference in delaying the load on our hospital system so everyone has the best chance of surviving when they become infected with COVID-19

Contact Lens Care:

⁃ Remove your contact lenses nightly. Even if you've been told they are safe to sleep in and you've been doing it with no problems, this is not the time to get an eye infection.

⁃ When you remove your lenses be sure to clean them with designated contact lens cleaning solution, using fresh solution nightly. DO NOT USE WATER!

⁃ Keep your contact lens case clean! If you are having trouble finding cases or contact lens solution to purchase, we have some available at no charge.

⁃ Throw away your lenses on time. Acuvue Oasys lenses are designed to be thrown away every 2 weeks, while other brands such as Air Optix, Biofinity and are monthly disposable lenses. Daily disposable lenses are single use lenses and should be thrown away after every use. If you aren’t sure what your disposal schedule is supposed to be, contact us via email (vec@sjvillageeyecare.com) and we will be happy to help you.

⁃ If you are at risk of running out of contact lenses, our office can order you more and have them shipped directly to your home.

Emergency Glasses:

⁃ If you have the misfortune of breaking your glasses, contact us and we will do our best to get you an emergency pair as soon as possible.

Our office number is (856-832-4950) and our direct email address is vec@sjvillageeyecare.com. We check our messages and email regularly and will respond as soon as possible.

Wishing the best for you and your families and looking forward to working together during this crisis and into the future!