I started Insurance Blog by Chris™ because I have a passion for insurance. Here at the blog, our job is to educate and inform people about the best insurance for them. Since then, we have grown into national brands with a large team of researchers helping people understand all forms of insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 19, 2021

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Vision insurance covers routine eye exams and corrective eyewear, including eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses. Many plans also cover elective eye surgeries like LASIK.

However, vision insurance doesn’t cover eye injuries, eye disease treatments, and medically necessary surgeries; medical insurance does.

In many cases, vision insurance is offered as a rider with health or dental insurance plans. It’s typically found within employer-provided group plans, but you can choose to purchase it separately — and for a relatively low cost — if your existing provider doesn’t offer vision benefits.

We narrowed down our list to the 10 top companies offering vision insurance. Some sell individual or family plans, while others operate exclusively through employer-provided benefits.

Each one differs in variables such as coverage options, financial strength, customer service reputation and regions served.

Comparing these differences enables you to see and compare the value of each company – and how it can best serve your needs.

10 Best Vision Insurance Companies

Here are the 10 best companies that provide vision insurance in 2021:

VSP Vision Insurance

vsp vision insurance

While VSP is often available as a third-party plan option through other insurers, including two of the other companies in this top 10, it is also a seller of individual vision insurance plans.

This direct business is offered through a website that has several interactive features, giving buyers a clear impression of the possibilities when they work with VSP.

The quote and application process when dealing directly with VSP is carried out through digital tools that include cost calculators and customized recommendation engines based on location.

VSP VISION INSURANCE PLANS

Customized plan options are available based on where individuals are located, and therefore the actual details of VSP’s offerings can differ. The primary choice people make when dealing with VSP is whether they will employ the self-service website or acquire coverage through an employer that offers VSP plans.

  • Individual Vision Plans: These offerings are primarily meant for those who don’t have access to vision coverage, and can be helpful for anyone who is self-employed, working part-time, retired or changing jobs. By paying for this coverage independent of an employer plan, individuals gain access to the network of independent care providers working with VSP.
  • Employer Coverage: Employers can work with the VSP network to offer coverage to employees. Enrollment in these programs is handled during open enrollment, hiring or another transitional time and gives policyholders access to VSP care providers.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+

Compare Plan Rates

 

UnitedHealthcare Vision Insurance

uhc vision insurance

UnitedHealthcare is a network of medical services providers that stretches across the country and includes many kinds of businesses and care providers.

It does not offer every kind of insurance itself, and the vision policies sold through its network are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company.

UNITEDHEALTHCARE VISION PLANS

The application process for vision coverage is relatively straightforward. UnitedHealthcare offers its plans as either stand-alone products or as features added to dental coverage.

  • Vision Insurance: Vision plans from UnitedHealthcare, via the Golden Rule Insurance Company, are designed for individuals or families. There is no waiting period to start using benefits, coverage extends to people from all age groups, and copays for eye exams are $10 at in-network providers. The plan comes in two varieties: Plan A for either glasses or contacts and Plan B for both.
  • Vision Benefit Rider: This vision plan, similar to the stand-alone coverage, is added to a dental plan as a rider. Both plans accommodate both in- and out-of-network eye exams and procedures, though in-network charges will be lower.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: A+
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Awards: Multiple J.D. Power awards for vision plan satisfaction

Compare Plan Rates

 

Direct Vision Insurance

direct vision insurance logo

Direct Benefits, the parent company of Spirit Dental and Direct Vision, is a marketplace and employee benefits provider, not an insurer in its own right. Therefore, it is not possible to calculate the exact financial strength ratings for this company, or comprehensively list its offerings.

Applying for coverage with Direct means picking between two plans. Enrollees can select an offering based on the types of providers and services that an individual wants to access as a patient.

DIRECT VISION INSURANCE PLANS

The company notes that its vision plans begin at $7 a month and extend to more expansive options that include procedures such as corrective surgery. There are over 78,000 care providers covered in-network by the plans offered by Direct Vision.

  • EyeMed Plan: This plan is designed for enrollees who are interested in working with some of the larger eye care chains in the U.S., including Pearle Vision, LensCrafters, and many big box stores, though there are also independent providers in the 78,000-strong network. There are extra 40 percent glasses discounts beyond the initial benefit, smaller discounts on first frames and laser surgery discounts through the US Laser Network.
  • VSP Plan: This plan, involving 37,000 private practices, includes frame savings, allowances for favored frame brands and laser discounts, LASIK included.

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+

Compare Plan Rates

 

Aetna Vision Insurance

aetna vision insurance

Aetna is one of the largest insurers in the country, with over five percent market share in the health insurance segment.

The company has won approval for its customer service efforts, with the call center named No. 1 in U.S. customer satisfaction several times in recent years.

Aetna underwrites its own health insurance products, vision add-ons included. Individual vision coverage is offered as part of a partnership with VSP.

Aetna’s application process for vision insurance is handled through the company’s web portal. This digital system allows members to seek a specialist up to 100 miles from their location, get cost estimates for services and lookup more precise information about coverage.

The insurer boasts that it works with the top eye care retail chains, as well as many independent providers around the country.

AETNA VISION PLANS

Aetna’s vision coverage options are offered as part of existing health plans or through employers. Individuals who want to buy their vision coverage directly through Aetna can do so, but the policies do not originate with Aetna: They are sold through VSP.

  • Aetna Vision: This is the standard coverage purchased as part of an Aetna medical plan. It covers eye exams in the policyholder’s area, with extra considerations for glasses and contact lenses. The insurer pointed out that the latter type of coverage is a feature on some but not all plans.
  • Aetna Vision Preferred: This more advanced type of coverage does not have to be tied to other Aetna products – people can purchase these vision benefits as a stand-alone product. Aetna Vision Preferred plans are purchased through an employer.

AETNA VISION INSURANCE DISCOUNTS

  • Aetna Vital Savings: Aetna allows individuals to reap discounts through the use of an Aetna Vital Savings card. This card comes in two versions, one of which is only for dental plans. The more flexible version of the Vital Savings program may deliver savings on multiple steps of the eye care process, from an eye exam to frame purchase or lens order.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: A-
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: A2
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Trustpilot Score: 4.5

 

Aflac Vision Insurance

aflac insurance logo

Aflac is one of the largest insurance companies in the country, and is one of the most widely known due to its ubiquitous advertising.

It offers medical, dental, vision and life insurance policies, among more niche products. Aflac’s vision products are only available through employer plans on a worksite payroll deduction basis.

Aflac underwrites its own policies, rather than acting as a reseller or marketplace.

Employees should ask their employers about vision coverage. Therefore, some of the Aflac tools designed to help individuals purchase or receive quotes for insurance, such as the online estimator, do not apply to vision products.

There are levels of coverage people can select between, with the ability to pay more for higher cash payouts in case an eye exam reveals problems requiring glasses or direct intervention.

AFLAC VISION POLICY

Aflac’s one vision insurance product is designed to help policyholders and their families be proactive about the health of their families.

Aflac’s materials present this as a pillar of overall health care, as it’s possible to detect dangerous conditions beyond sight loss when taking a vision exam.

  • Aflac Vision: This is the standard plan from Aflac. Benefits include cash for one vision exam from an optometrist or ophthalmologist per year. Not every state has the annual eye exam benefit. The plan involves all eye care providers and is not bound by a network. There are also cash payouts to help with some eye surgeries or care for specific disorders and diseases, as well as visual impairment in general. Aflac does not list discounts for the plan, instead noting that its standard price equals a cup of Starbucks coffee each week.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: A+
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: Aa3
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A+

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+

 

Cigna Vision Insurance

cigna vision insurance

While many insurers active in the U.S. market are focused on serving American customers, Cigna is part of a global health care network.

The company boasts 95 million customers around the world, and 40,000 employees. The business offers coverage for individuals and employers, encompassing health, dental, vision and specialized products.

Cigna is an insurer rather than a reseller and underwrites insurance coverage through subsidiaries across its licensed regions.

CIGNA VISION INSURANCE PLANS

As with many other vision insurance providers, Cigna offers its coverage products through employers. Employees who receive coverage through their workplaces can select from between the two plan options and choose the one that is most appropriate for their current needs.

This process may include browsing the directory of covered eye care providers.

  • Vision Preferred Provider Organization: The Vision PPO plan offered by Cigna is based around discounts for individuals who deal with eye care specialists in the Cigna network. The company did note that people should specifically check the list of optical care organizations in the PPO network, as this is a different group than Cigna’s general health care partners. Working with in-network providers minimizes costs and reduces paperwork. Dealing with out-of-network care means being reimbursed after the fact.
  • Indemnity Vision Care: This plan is designed to work with any and all licensed eye care specialists and organizations. There is no network, and therefore no differentiation between in-network and out-of-network care. All claims are handled through reimbursement based on itemized receipts, with the patient paying bills upfront. Products such as glasses and contact lenses are paid for by materials allowances in some employers’ plan offerings.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: A
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: A2
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Trustpilot Score: 3/10
  • Awards: J.D. Power Top-Rated Commercial Member Health Plan for East South Central Region

 

Progressive Vision Insurance

progressive logo

Progressive is a large-scale insurer mainly known for its auto insurance policies. Its frequent use of advertisements has positioned it as one of the highest-profile major insurer in the U.S.

In addition to its auto products, the company offers life insurance and bundles to protect property. While the company writes its own policies for its core lines of business such as care and motorcycle coverage, its individual health products – such as vision – are underwritten by third parties.

Applying for vision coverage through Progressive is part of the insurer’s third-party partnership with eHealth, a service that helps match people to plans through online finder and comparison tools. The recommendations generated by the eHealth tools are based on applicants’ needs and budgetary requirements.

PROGRESSIVE VISION INSURANCE PLANS

Though Progressive does not underwrite vision coverage itself, the plans it sells through eHealth take a few forms.

The options are divided between individual plans found with the eHealth match tool and group products aimed at employer needs.

Since the products are not an official part of the Progressive lineup, the insurer does not mention discounts around them.

  • Vision Insurance: Vision plans bought through eHealth are advertised as affordable, with rates starting at $6.99 monthly. Progressive offers reminders that policyholders’ standard medical coverage through employer-purchased plans may not handle optical work, in which case these individual vision plans may provide much-needed funds.
  • Group Vision Insurance: Small businesses that work with Progressive can offer vision insurance to employees as an add-on to a standard policy. Progressive noted that this is considered additional rather than basic coverage because it isn’t required by law, and added that there could be tax benefits for small companies that add vision options.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: AA
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: Aa2
  • AM Best Financial Rating: a

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Trustpilot Score: 4.7/10

 

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

anthem bcbs vision insurance

Anthem is a network of health care benefits companies and exchanges, based in Indiana. This company’s many member organizations offer numerous kinds of general and specialized coverage in many states.

Anthem operates members of the Blue Cross Blue Shield family in some states, though some of those insurers are independently operated instead.

ANTHEM BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD VISION INSURANCE PLANS

Depending on the state in question and the Anthem subsidiary involved, the application process to receive vision coverage may differ.

Medicare is a special case. Some individuals getting their Medicare coverage from Anthem and its related organizations may receive vision insurance as a default part of the plan, others can add it.

The Blue View Vision plan is separate and is available as an addition to any Anthem health or dental plan.

  • Vision Coverage for Medicare Eligibles: Anthem noted that not every Medicare plan it offers comes with vision coverage. Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans may include vision services. There are also optional vision coverage options that policyholders can add to their Medicare plans in some states. These may either increase discounts associated with having vision coverage or act as a person’s only vision insurance.
  • Anthem Blue View Vision: This coverage, which can be purchased alongside other health or dental plans, entails a $20 copay for annual eye exams, $130 for glasses frames every two years, standard lenses every 24 months at a $20 copay and an $80 copay for contacts on the same schedule. Anthem works with a large group of commercial eye care providers and offers extra benefits such as 40 percent off extra glasses and 20 percent off performance upgrades.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: AA-
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: A2
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: D-

 

Guardian Vision Insurance

guardian vision insurance logo

Guardian is a company that provides life insurance, disability insurance coverage and benefits to employees through workplaces.

Some of these benefits include vision insurance plans. In many cases, Guardian works with third parties such as VSP and Davis, but it also offers its own plans with a network of providers.

Due to Guardian’s role as an employee benefits management firm, signing up for one of the company’s vision plans happens through an employer. Employees may choose their plans during an enrollment period at work. From there, they work with the provider they’ve selected – whether that is Guardian itself, Davis or VSP.

GUARDIAN VISION INSURANCE PLANS

Guardian urges employees to enroll in vision programs through their employers, noting that 73 percent of people will need vision correction in their lives.

To achieve this coverage, there are a few options, one based on working with a network of providers and the others coming through third-party partnerships.

  • Guardian Vision: This is the in-house Guardian plan. The partners where members can use the benefits of the plan include chain stores and big-box outlets, ensuring that help will be available for members across the country.
  • Guardian VSP or Guardian Davis Vision: To provide more choices and options for plan members, Guardian also allows employees enrolled through their workplaces to pick either VSP or DavisVision as their vision plan.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: AA+
  • Moody’s Financial Rating: Aa2
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A++

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+

 

Ameritas Vision Insurance

ameritas vision insurance logo

Ameritas is a large-scale provider of life insurance, dental coverage and vision plans. The business works with many subsidiaries to provide diverse group plans for employers of all kinds.

The company puts a focus on using strong insurance coverage as an employee retention tool. The financial strength and reputation reviews listed here are for the part of the company responsible for employer-offered products such as dental coverage, rather than life plans.

Ameritas is an underwriter, but some of its offerings come through third party networks.

The application process for Ameritas plans is handled through an employer’s open enrollment period, as these offerings are for employees rather than individual buyers.

One detail that sets Ameritas apart from similar providers is the huge variety of plans it offers.

AMERITAS VISION INSURANCE PLANS

The huge variety of vision plans offered by Ameritas will differ based on where a company is located.

The underwriters and issuing organizations involved may also vary. These offerings encompass the following:

  • Vision Perfect: This plan involves a clear schedule of increasing annual benefits, giving employees a road map of coverage.
  • Focus: This offering allows employees to work with the VSP Signature and Choice Networks, treating these independent VSP-affiliated care providers as in-network.
  • ViewPointe: This plan is based on the EyeMed Vision Care Access and Select provider networks, which offer nationwide coverage.
  • Exam or Materials Only: Employers that already offer vision benefits can add plans that only cover exams or materials, to complement whatever is missing from the current plan.
  • LASIK Advantage: Benefits from this plan can be added to other plan offerings, increase over time, and specifically target top LASIK eye surgery providers.
  • High/Low: This plan allows enrollees to pick from two levels of cost and coverage to suit their needs.
  • Core/Buy-up: This product exists to give employers the option of offering a core benefit and a greater benefit.
  • Dual or Triple Choice: Workers can pick between plans such as Vision Perfect, Focus and ViewPointe.
  • Administrative Services Only: Ameritas can administer a company’s self-funded benefit plan, providing products and services.
  • Voluntary: Employers may provide voluntary plans that employees must sign up for individually.
  • EyeChoice: The EyeChoice brochure lists all the top vision options available from Ameritas.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH

  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating: A+
  • AM Best Financial Rating: A

REPUTATION

  • BBB Rating: A+

 

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Advantages To Vision Insurance

Deciding whether vision insurance is right for you can be tricky. Vision coverage can offer major perks and savings to some but it might be a waste of money for others.

When considering the advantages of vision insurance, allow your own vision needs to guide you toward a plan that offers the highest value for the lowest price.

No Enrollment Period

You don’t have to wait for an enrollment period to sign up for vision insurance.

Once you decide you want to buy vision insurance, things move along pretty quickly. Unlike medical insurance, vision insurance providers typically don’t mandate special enrollment periods or extended waiting times.

In many cases, you can sign up at any time of the year and you’ll only have to wait about a week from the time of enrollment to the time your coverage begins. This is a great advantage for someone looking to get their eyes checked in the near future — it’s completely possible to sign up for coverage, book an eye appointment, and get a hold of a new pair of prescription glasses within a month’s time.

Save Money

For a low monthly premium, vision insurance helps you save on expensive services.

If you’ve ever been to the optometrist, you’ll know that prescription eyewear and related services can be surprisingly pricey. Thankfully, vision insurance is relatively inexpensive.

Monthly premiums, which range from about $8 to $20, can make expensive eye services a lot more affordable. For instance, VSP, which specializes in vision insurance, offers individual plans starting around $13 to $17 per month while Golden Rule offers $11 monthly premiums.

Each provider follows a different benefits structure, but most involve discounts, allowances, and low deductibles wherein you pay a certain amount out of pocket before the coverage kicks in.

Eye exam copays typically cost between $10 to $25, while discounts range from 15 – 40 percent, depending on the provider and the service. With policies that include allowances, your insurance provider will grant you a certain amount available to spend on eyewear each year.

Just remember that you’ll have to pay the remainder of the charge out of pocket if your purchase exceeds the allowance — and you won’t get a payout at the end of the year if you fail to use the full allowance.

New Pair of Glasses Yearly

Most vision insurance plans help you buy a new pair of prescription eyeglasses each year.

This is a major advantage for people with poor eyesight, as well as those with an evolving sense of style. Most plans cover — at least partially — the cost of a brand new set of lenses and frames, as well as the cost of one eye exam.

This means you can get your eyes checked and order a new pair of glasses every year. If this is something you’re interested in, closely examine the benefits to make sure that lenses and frames are included. In some cases, you may only be allowed new lenses for your old frames, or you might only be covered for new glasses every other year.

It’s also worth thinking about what type of frames you’ll want to wear. For instance, Anthem Blue Cross BlueShield offers free frames from the Davis Vision Premier Frame collection, or a $120 allowance toward other frames.

If you don’t plan to take advantage of the free frames deal, you may wish to consider a different plan with a higher annual allowance.

LASIK Eye Surgery Discount

You can get discounts on LASIK eye surgery with vision insurance.

Elective surgeries such as LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are frequently discounted under vision insurance plans.

If you’re interested in getting corrective eye surgery, compare a few policies to see whether these services are covered. In 2019, the average cost of LASIK was $2,246 per eye, according to industry data compiled by Market Scope.

Many vision insurance providers offer 5% to 25% discounts, making these pricey procedures slightly more attainable.

However, some providers don’t cover any of the costs. If you see LASIK in your future, look for the greatest possible discount when deciding which insurance provider to choose.

Reimbursement

You may be able to get reimbursed for glasses ordered online.

If your optician’s boutique gives you serious sticker shock, consider purchasing glasses from one of the newer online retailers like Warby Parker. Known for their try-on-at-home services and affordable, stylish frames, Warby Parker is considered in-network under UnitedHealthcare, Davis Vision, and Spectera.

If you choose one of these providers, your $95 frames and lenses could be free! Most other online retailers, such as EyeBuyDirect and Discount Glasses, aren’t in any networks.

However, some vision insurance providers will be able to reimburse your out-of-network purchase if you submit a claim with a receipt. There’s a good chance you’ll actually spend less this way than if you buy glasses through a pricey in-network provider.

How Do I Find The Best Vision Insurance?

If you want to buy vision insurance separately from your other health coverage, you can usually sign up anytime of the year. The monthly premiums are relatively low and can offer major savings on expensive eye exams and corrective lenses. But before you make a hasty decision on which policy you’ll go with, do a bit of research.

Type of Vision Insurance

First, determine whether you prefer a PPO or HMO policy. Then, take a look at the provider networks to see if your preferred optician and retailer are included. If they aren’t, your investment in vision insurance might go to waste.

Take VSP, for instance. With over 33,000 participants, VSP boasts the largest independent eye doctor network — but their coverage doesn’t extend to big-box retailers. If you prefer getting your eyes checked at Walmart or Costco, look elsewhere.

Search online to see which doctors are considered in-network or call up your optician and ask which networks they’re included in.

Compare Quotes

Get quotes online for a few different plans, and ask your preferred providers to provide pricing estimates for the services you’ll need. With this information, crunch the numbers to estimate the annual costs under each plan.

You might find that one policy falls short of what you’re looking for, but an equally priced policy from another insurance company gives you everything you need. Keep in mind that premiums will vary due to your age, gender, state of residence, and smoking habits.

Compare Retailers

To save yourself from frustration and financial burden when buying prescription glasses, consider shopping around before you pick an insurance provider. See which retailers carry the frames you like best and take note of the list price for the frames and lenses. Then figure out which networks your preferred retailer is a part of and look up the allowances or discount rates. From there, calculate how much your insurance will cover and how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket. The savings could be either be substantial or minimal.

Read The Fine Print

Keep an eye out for other exclusions so you can plan accordingly. For instance, if your insurance provider doesn’t cover replacements for prescription glasses, you may want to buy from a retailer that offers a warranty. If you’re interested in contact lenses or corrective eye surgeries like LASIK and PRK, look at the fine print to make sure these services are covered under your chosen plan.

Is Vision Insurance Worth It?

As an optional form of insurance, vision coverage might help you lower your annual spending on eye exams, glasses, contacts, or corrective surgery. It can offer great value to those who take advantage of the services and products covered by the plan, such as an eye exam and a new pair of glasses each year.

But if your prescription remains stable and you only need to replace your glasses every few years, you’ll probably save money if you don’t pay the premiums. If you’re seeking protection from eye injuries, eye disease treatments, and medically necessary surgeries, look to your regular health insurance for coverage.

Whether you have fine vision or poor eyesight that calls for frequent visits, let your own eye wellness guide your decisions. When comparing vision insurance providers, assess how frequently you’ll need vision services and products — and keep your eyes on the fine print to confirm that these costs are covered by your plan.

Don’t be afraid to go with the lowest price policy to cover the basics and make the products and services you need more affordable.