May 072011
 

VSP Vision Insurance

VSP is a vision insurance plan that covers routine eye exams, eye glass lens, eye glass frames and contact lenses. Let's face it, buying any type of individual insurance is a real drag on the finances and monthly cash flow. Insurance is something you don't want to use very often and when you do, it is still not likely to make things completely free. Eyeglasses cost a lot of money. In fact, the purchase of a new pair of glasses can cost up to 4 times as much as your actual eye exam. Obviously, not all eye insurance plans are going to cover the cost of your glasses or contact lenses, but it could certainly pay-off to have some of those expenses covered. If your employer doesn't offer you something like the VSP or another vision insurance plan, you'll be glad to know it is available to individuals without employee coverage plans for optical insurance. A few months ago, I found a couple of good Individual Dental Plans. Once of these affordable dental plans was good enough to replace even the employer-sponsored Dental Plan I have through my company. Is the same true with Individual Vision Insurance or VSP? I do not have a vision insurance plan through my employer, but wife does through her school district. The vision insurance plan through the school would cost us about $28 a month out of pocket for the family. Most plans like these include free eye exams, $100-$150 on glasses frames and and many of them cover free eye glass lenses and contacts. Now, I'm no dummy. I know what a racket those eyeglasses stores can be. You'll want anti-glare, scratch resistant lenses; thinner lenses; better lenses and you will end up paying much more above and beyond the free lenses provided by your vision insurance plan. None-the-less, a vision insurance plan might save you some money if you're taking 4 or 5 members of your family to the eye doctor once a year. Let's take a look at the VSP Vision Insurance plan which offers private coverage for individuals:

What is Covered under the VSP Vision Insurance Plan?

  • Full Cost of Routine Eye Exams
  • Full Coverage for Prescription Lenses, including bifocals, trifocals and polycarbonate lens for children
  • Cost of Frames up to $120, plus 20% off any out of pocket costs
  • Up to a $120 allowance for the cost of your Contact Lens Exam and Lenses

If you've been to your eye doctor recently, you probably have a rough idea of what your out-of-pocket costs of eye exams, lenses, eye glass frames, etc. are (with or without vision insurance). So, do you really save money with a VSP Vision Insurance Plan? It depends. Before we answer that question, we need to know what it costs to enroll in the VSP Vision Insurance plan that matches your family size.

Cost

The VSP Vision Insurance Plan requires an $18.00 per year CCA Membership fee.  I've added the CCA Fee into the costs below:

  • Just for You: (1 Person): $178.95 Annually or $14.92 Per Month
  • For You + 1 Family Member: $323.95 Annually or $27.00 Per Month
  • For Entire Family of 3 Plus:  $436.95 Annually or $36.00 Per Month

Your reaction to the VSP vision premiums above, probably ranges from "that's not so bad",  to "Holy Smoke! VSP Vision Insurance is Expensive!".. The older we are the more likely we fall into the latter category of sticker shock at the Vision Insurance Premiums. There is a very good reason for that:

Is the VSP Plan worth it for Individuals?

While we are young and near sighted or far sighted, our eyes seem to change constantly. If you have two or more children, you are probably taking them once or twice a year to the eye doctor to get them fitted for glasses or contact lenses. Us older folks (25 and up), are probably going to an eye doctor no more than once or twice every five years. I realize  optometrists tell us that we all need to go at least once a year, but most of us don't follow that advice unless we have some type of ongoing vision problems. The same is true for my wife and even our kids are at the age where they really don't need to visit the eye doctor more than once every couple of years. Do the math: For my family, we wouldn't even break even with the VSP Insurance Premium of $436.95 annually. On the other hand, if I could go back 15 years, when I was taking my kids to the eye doctor and paying for eye exams, new glasses and contact lenses at least once a year, my out-of-pocket expenses for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses was approximately $1,000 per year. I could have saved some money, to the tune of around $400-$500 per year, with the VPS Insurance plan. Vision Insurance is always a bonus if it's completely paid for by your company. But, if you're shopping for your own individual vision plan, consider how many times you and your family use an eye doctor. If it is 2 or more visits a year for new prescriptions in glasses and/or contact lenses, you should consider the VSP Plan. Certainly, there are other good insurance plans out there for your eye-sight, but VSP seems to make the most sense for those who need eye insurance and cannot get it through their employee health plan. Deciding whether or not to make monthly payments on vision plan (or any insurance plan for that matter) is kind of like being a back seat driver. It's always easier to make that decision with the benefit of hindsight. I've always recommended that shoppers of any type of insurance check with relatives and friends who were once in their own situation and ask them if they're happy with what they are getting received for their premium payments. Since we don't have the benefit of hindsight when shopping for a vision insurance plan, the best advice we can receive is from those who have been in our same shoes. Look into VSP - It is better to be nearsighted than short-sighted.

  2 Responses to “VSP Vision Insurance”

  1. There is one other consideration for families with one or more more contact lenses wearers: Many vision retailers will not sell you new contact lenses without a current prescription from your eye doctor. That means yearly eye exams and the cost of those can really add up if you’re a family of 3, 4, 5 or 6. I guess you find places that will sell you contact lenses online without a prescription, but if you really like buying them local, you might consider vision insurance. I thought the VSP Vision insurance plan seemed pretty reasonable when I compared it to my out-of-pocket eye exam costs.

  2. Worst, most annoying, computer generated phone voice system ever. Will definitely not be renewing coverage come change time, and would cancel it today if I could. Especially when the limited number of “in-network” providers is taken into account, along with the cumbersome and barely worth it “reimbursement” scheme for out of network care. Adios…..

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