Is Vision Coverage Worth the Cost?

It’s commonly said that there are two things you can count on: death and taxes.

For me, you can add signing up for health insurance every October. I log into my employer’s benefits website and open the document that compares my medical plan options. This part usually requires a little thought, as the plans change from year to year, and I want to make sure I pick the one that fits my family’s needs the best.

My vision insurance is a little less complicated: either I enroll in the one plan offered, or I don’t. I usually click the enroll button immediately, concluding that having insurance certainly must be better than not. But is it?

I’ve never done the homework to determine if my employer’s vision coverage saves me money.

With a stack of “Explanation of Benefits” statements that I received from my family’s recent trip to the optometrist, I decided to dig in and figure out if my vision coverage was saving me money, or if I was turning a blind eye (pun intended) to throwing my money away.

The Costs and Benefits of Vision Insurance

I signed onto my employer’s benefit portal and found that I pay $35.60/month for my family of four to have vision coverage, totaling $427.20 annually.

My vision plan provides the following benefits each calendar year:

  • Comprehensive eye exam: At the eye clinic we used, this exam costs $70. For my family of four, this saved us $280.
  • Eyeglass frames: Coverage up to $120. With two sets of frames purchased, this amounted to $240.
  • Standard lenses: Standard lenses are covered in full, while optional features (such as anti-reflection and ultra-thin material) are discounted. Looking at my explanation of benefits, our insurance saved us $170 on the two sets of lenses purchased.
  • Contact lenses: My son got contact lenses, which would’ve cost $108 without insurance.

In total, our insurance saved us $798 on exams, frames, lenses, and contact lenses.

Which means for 2014, my insurance really saved us $798-$427.20=$370.80. This puts concrete numbers behind what I’d already guessed: my vision insurance is worth the cost.

But it’s nice to know for sure.

Do you have vision insurance? Have you ever calculated whether it’s really worth it?