There are 21 million pairs of eyes in the Sunshine State, but many Florida residents aren’t covered for routine eye exams or prescription lenses. Medicare doesn’t cover routine exams and many private insurance plans also miss this important coverage. Here’s how to choose the best vision insurance in Florida.
Quick Look: The Best Florida Vision Insurance
- Best Overall: VSP Individual Vision Plans – Learn more
- Davis Vision
Overview: Vision Coverage in Florida
As a technical matter, vision insurance plans aren’t insurance at all, and neither are dental insurance plans. Both products work like health insurance, however, so the industry has adopted the insurance moniker. Vision insurance plans are really discount plans that can come in a few different types of structures.
For most Florida households, a plan that covers the cost of exams and frames with lenses is the best fit, but less-expensive plans that scale back coverage are also available.
Vision Coverage Costs
You can expect to pay about as low as $13 a month for a vision insurance plan and your membership often requires a 12-month initial commitment. You’ll usually have the option of splitting this into 12 monthly payments, which can help make your vision insurance costs more predictable.
Coverage varies depending on the plan you choose, but the plans that offer the best value cover the cost of regular eye exams and lenses or contacts and also provide a generous allowance for frames. It’s common for vision insurance plans to require a co-payment for services. In many cases, copayments run between $10 to $20 per item. Some covered eye care services may have a higher co-payment, like no-line bifocals or scratch-resistant lenses.
Common coverage considerations that can affect your wallet tend to be frame coverage and special lenses. For example, many vision insurance companies provide an annual frame allowance of around $150 and then cover a small percentage of the cost if your frames exceed the allowance.
Some providers offer a smaller frame allowance or limit frame replacement to once every 24 months, both of which can mean extra out-of-pocket expenses. Similarly, you’ll want to read the fine print on lens replacement because specialty lenses can be costly even with coverage on some plans.
Many vision insurance plans are structured like a preferred provider organization (PPO), which means you’ll have access to coverage both in-network and out-of-network, but out-of-network coverage may be limited or covered for lesser amounts. Some plans limit coverage to in-network doctors only. As with other types of health coverage, the network can be a consideration when choosing vision insurance in Florida.
What to Look for in the Best Vision Insurance Companies
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best vision insurance company, whether in Florida or elsewhere. Entry-level plans that only provide coverage for a standard eye exam or for glasses (but not both) may not provide enough value to warrant a purchase. Similarly, plans that are simply discount plans and do not pay toward services may not be worth the monthly investment.
Eye exam coverage. Unfortunately, group health insurance provided through employers doesn’t have to include vision coverage. Those covered by Medicare can face a similar challenge because Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover routine eye exams.
In addition to testing vision and writing new prescriptions as needed, routine eye exams often serve as a first line of defense against other illnesses, like diabetes or high blood pressure, and warning signs can show up during an eye exam.
Affordable copayments. Vision insurance doesn’t use a deductible, but copayments are commonplace and are the part of your eye care that you pay at the time services are provided. Most services provided by the majority of vision insurance providers are subject to a copayment, although you may find some providers that offer an annual eye exam or lenses without a copayment.
Review the copayments required for frames, lenses and exams before you settle on a plan. Light glare-resistant lenses or impact-resistant lenses often have special copayment requirements. Some lens options can have higher copayment requirements than the glasses themselves. If you need fashion frames or typically utilize a number of lens options, the copayment for these options can be a deciding factor between one plan and another.
Ample frame allowance. Many vision insurance plans cover frames by granting an allowance, an amount the plan will cover fully, with coverage for a smaller percentage of amounts that exceed the allowance. For example, VSP Individual Vision Plans offers a $150 frame allowance for many frames on their plans.
For amounts above the allowance, VSP offers 20% discount on the cost over the frame allowance. In addition to that, VSP also offers exclusive member extras like an extra $20 to spend on featured frame brands in addition to your frame allowance. In this case, a $200 set of frames would cost $40 out of pocket. However, if you choose a feature frame brand (like Nike or Calvin Klein to name a few), you would only pay $24 out-of-pocket.
By comparison, a plan from Humana offers a $100 allowance for frames with 20% coverage for amounts above the allowance. The same $200 set of frames would cost $80 with the second plan. Also, be aware of how often you can change frames. Coverage can provide new frames once per year or once every two years, depending on the plan you choose.
Network and doctors. For many people, the doctor network is the deciding factor when choosing eye care coverage. Vision insurance companies may focus on independent providers, as VSP does, or you may find companies that are closely aligned with big-box retailers, like EyeMed. Out-of-network services can be more costly or may not be covered at all, so it’s important to choose a plan that covers your area widely or covers the doctor you prefer.
Affordable premiums. With vision insurance, it’s easy to underspend or overspend, with lower-level plans often providing very limited coverage and top-tier plans providing more coverage than many households need — at a premium price. Consider your needs carefully before choosing a plan.
For most households, mid-level plans usually provide the best value point when comparing the cost to coverage. You’ll find some plans that fall outside of the normal price range. If you need the extras provided by a premium plan, it may be the best value for you, but many households will find more value in mid-range plans. Look for providers with a selection of plans to compare.
Our Picks for the Top Eye Insurance Companies
Your choice for the best vision insurance for you or your family is based on your individual priorities. The field is crowded with providers and plans come with lots of fine print that you’ll need to understand before you make your choice. Here are some of our top picks.
Best Overall: VSP Individual Vision Plans
VSP Individual Vision Plans, founded by a visionary group of optometrists, has been helping customers save money for more than 60 years and now has nearly 90 million members worldwide.
As the largest vision benefits company in the U.S., VSP has a wide network of independent providers to help ensure affordable coverage if you need to use a different in-network doctor. Coverage is available for out-of-network doctors as well,
VSP Individual Vision Plans has an affordable $15 copayment for exams on most plans. Frame allowances can vary but tend to be $150 or higher. Lenses have a $25 copayment on most plans regardless of whether the lenses are single, bifocal or trifocal. And VSP offers exclusive member extras like an extra $20 to spend on featured frame brands. Expect to pay a larger copayment for no-line multifocal lenses.
Founded as a nursing home company, Humana later became a hospital company and then a health insurance provider with a large support network in Florida and throughout the U.S.
Vision plans can vary by location, but we found Humana’s coverage to be affordable and full-featured. Coverage in the area we chose, Amelia Island, near Jacksonville, is provided in cooperation with EyeMed, another leading vision insurance provider.
Humana covers annual exams with a low $15 copay. Frames are given a $150 allowance with 20% coverage for the balance over $150. Lens options were more affordable overall than with some competitors, with popular lens options like UV coating and scratch-resistance only costing $15 each.
Out-of-network services are covered but expect to save more with in-network doctors. There is a one-time $35 enrollment fee with the Humana vision care plan we reviewed. Once enrolled, there’s no waiting period for coverage.
UnitedHealthcare offers a number of related coverages, including vision and dental plans. We found plans with a low $10 copayment for in-network eye exams. Frame coverage was generous, with an in-network frame allowance of $150. Coverage for lenses is tiered depending on lens type, with single vision lenses available for a $10 copayment.
Bifocals or trifocals are on a different coverage schedule and may result in higher out-of-pocket costs. Scratch-resistant coating is standard with eligible lenses but other lens options may not have coverage. If you don’t have a need for lens options, you might find UnitedHealthcare to be among the most affordable choices for vision insurance in Florida.
A well-respected vision insurance provider with affordable pricing, Davis Vision should be on your shopping list. We found dozens of local doctors in our area and Davis has a wide network throughout the Sunshine State. An eye exam is covered every 12 months with a $15 copayment.
The monthly cost for Davis’ plans are among the more affordable option in Florida, but there is a one-time administrative fee of $35 and few details are available for lens option costs.
Expect to pay a bit more for options. Frames get a generous allowance of up to $175 for select frames from Davis Vision’s Collection and the allowance renews every 12 months.
Another provider with a wide doctor network in Florida, EyeMed offers vision insurance plans ranging from no-frills exam-only basic coverage to more comprehensive plans with low copayments and large frame allowances.
The best value may be found in EyeMed’s mid-tier plan, EyeMed Bold, which offers annual eye exams for $10 and a frame allowance of up to $130. EyeMed Bright offers a $200 frame allowance, but the plan is pricier.
Out-of-network coverage is available and a 5% discount for an annual payment helps make vision insurance premiums more affordable. Many lens options are available without a copayment. Some options, like no-line bifocals, are covered only by a discount off standard retail pricing.
Choose the Best Vision Insurance in Florida
Florida residents are fortunate to be able to choose from some of the best vision insurance companies around. As you choose the best vision insurance plan, there are a few key considerations beyond the cost of the plan. Often, the true cost of the plan is found in the details.
Households that need lens options should pay special attention to copayment requirements because these out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly. There are enough top-rated vision insurance providers in Florida, so there’s a great fit for nearly every household.