Vision Insurance: 101

Eye Health, Featured Article, VSP
on October 7, 2014
vision insurance 101_1

For those who have vision benefits through their employers, open enrollment is a time to ensure you are getting the most out of your health benefits. For those whose employers don’t offer vision insurance benefits, or are retired or self-employed, it’s hard to know where to turn.

To get some answers, we asked our friends at VSP Vision Care, leaders in individual vision insurance, to see what consumers can do if they don’t have vision insurance through an employer. We give you the low-down on what vision insurance is, the benefits of enrolling in a vision plan, and how to cut through the clutter to what is most important.

Spry Living: What is vision insurance?

Vision insurance is a form of health insurance that provides coverage for eye care. A typical vision plan includes yearly coverage for routine eye exams, and either full or partial coverage for frames, prescription lenses, or contact lenses.

Spry Living: Why do I need vision insurance?

“Even if your vision seems fine, it’s still wise to consider investing in a vision plan. Getting an eye exam isn’t just about finding out if you need glasses—it’s about your health too,” said Ken Stellmacher, senior vice president and general manager of VSP Individual Plans.

Comprehensive eye exams are an important component of your overall health, and a number of serious health conditions can be detected early by your eye doctor. An eye exam can detect diabetes years before you show signs of the disease. In addition, your eye care provider can often detect other issues:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Risk of stroke
  • Risk of heart disease

VSP provides the best access to eye care. With more than 30,000 providers, VSP offers the most extensive doctor network of any vision company. Find out more at

Spry Living: Does vision insurance cover glasses and contacts?

Glasses and contact lenses can be costly. Compared to paying for corrective eyewear out-of-pocket, a vision plan can help you save a substantial amount of money by giving you access to eyewear and contact lenses for a fraction of the cost. Some vision plans, like VSP, offer a great selection of designer frames, so you can look stylish and protect your eyes at an affordable price.

Spry Living: What do the benefit packages look like?

“Affordability is one of the most important aspects of vision insurance for consumers, especially if they are not offered coverage through an employer. Look for a plan that gives you low out-of-pocket costs, as well as the flexibility to pay your annual premium monthly instead of all at one time,” said Stellmacher.

In addition to affordability, check the vision insurance company’s member satisfaction rating, the simplicity with which you can sign up for coverage, as well as whether the coverage they offer is the coverage you actually want. For example, if designer frames for your glasses are important to you, make sure they’re covered by your vision plan.

Did you know that vision insurance includes coverage for a wide selection of fashionable frames – even designer frames? Affordable individual vision insurance plans start at under $17 a month from VSP Direct. Visit to learn more.

Bottom line, if you do not have vision insurance coverage through your employer or if you’re retired, you have options. When researching those options, make sure your plan is affordable, offers the basics like an annual eye exam as well coverage for prescription glasses and contacts, but also other popular features, such as impact-resistant lenses and anti-glare coating. Taking care of your eyes is an important part of taking care of your overall health.

VSP Direct offers the lowest out-of-pocket costs in the vision insurance industry and a typical annual savings of $227 a year. Go to to learn more.

VSP Direct is an individual vision insurance product provided through VSP Vision Care, offering affordable and high-quality individual vision benefits directly to consumers. Individual vision coverage includes an annual eye exam with a copayment, allowance for glasses or contacts, and access to the largest doctor network in the industry with 30,000 doctors—all backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. VSP Direct offers the lowest out-of-pocket costs in individual vision care and a typical annual savings over $200 a year.

Insurance policies have exclusions and limitations.  For costs and complete details of the coverage contact VSP at 800.785.0699.