In 2018 everybody realizes Lasik has come to stay. We have learned how to overcome the side effects and get a great visual outcome utilizing the latest technology. What hasn’t changed is the ability to afford it. There’s a lot of confusion about coverage of Lasik eye surgery through vision insurance and medical insurance. So we are going to take a look to see how we can analyze the different insurances and rebates to make Laser Eye Surgery affordable in the year 2018
Let us start by stating vision insurance is actually a misnomer. It’s very unclear why vision and dental were cut out of medical insurance to be created as a separate unit. Vision insurance actually would be better called Spectacle and contact lens insurance. That’s what they mainly pay for. We all know eyes are part of the human body. Doctors also know that nearsightedness or farsightedness are a pathology of the eye. It is insurance driven concept that Lasik eye surgery is cosmetic. We tend to disagree with that concept. We believe cosmetic is the way world sees us whereas visual is the way we see the world. Therefore ideally Laser Vision correction should be fully covered. It is not. Let’s make the best of the rules laid out.
Vision insurance like VSP or Vision Service Plan, Eyemed, Davis, Spectera and the like don’t cover Lasik eye surgery. They benefit in one of two ways. They negotiate discounts with the Refractive eye surgeon on their plan. Usually it is a discount of fifteen percent from the best available rates. VSP also negotiates directly with laser eye centers. This allows patients to avail a fixed flat fee for this sight improving surgery that is below the market rate. The exact price would depend o the technology used. So Vision insurance discounts are still better than paying the full price but they don’t cover the surgery entirely.
Coming to medical insurance; they may cover some aspects of the care needed before during or after Lasik eye surgery. We are referencing to full eye exams, management of dry eye, insertion of punctual plugs and medically necessary interventions. We are making it explicitly clear that medical insurance is not going to cover Lasik eye surgery. There are certain insurances like in Los Angeles the LA city fire fighters have their union fund which pays $1500 towards each eye for Laser Eye Surgery. All over the country there might be such opportunities.
There are certain mediators who negotiate with Lasik eye centers and surgeons to take a discounted rate for certain insurances like Blue Cross Blue Shield. They advertise directly to the members of the insurance groups. They are able to save on marketing costs and pass those discounts to the consumers.
We have saved the best for the last. How about having Uncle Sam to pay for your surgery? With Flex spending plans and Health Savings Accounts or HSA that is possible. These accounts have pre-tax money put in them which could be used for Laser Eye Surgery. For example if you were to pay $4000 from your HSA account it would allow you to save $2000. Because if you made $6000 approximately $2000 would have gone in taxes and you would’ve got only $4000 in hand.