Buying Glasses

Buying Glasses

One of the considerations that can impact what type of glasses you purchase is how you are going to pay for the glasses. If you are covered by a vision insurance plan, check with the plan administrator before you purchase the glasses to determine if there are any certain requirements that have to be met in order for your purchase to be reimbursable.

One money-saving option is to use a Flexible Spending Account or FSA. Provided by many employers, FSA’s let you use pre-tax dollars to pay for many medical expenses, including prescriptions, health insurance deductibles and co-pays, and eye exams and other medical equipment, including prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses, prescription readers, computer glasses, and contacts, as well as medical procedures. 

There is a maximum annual amount that can be contributed to an FSA based on IRS regulations. It does not all have to be contributed at once, but if the money in the account isn’t used in full that year, the money will be forfeited. The FSA’s appeal is that taxpayers aren’t taxed on the funds in their FSA, up to that annual limit, making those dollars essentially tax-free earnings.

Sometimes vision correction and glasses are also considered a medical condition by your eye care provider and insurer and as such, they might be covered under your medical insurance plan. 

Questions to ask your vision insurance plan administrator:

  • What vision care services and products are covered? i.e. comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, prescription lenses, etc.
  • How often are vision care services and new glasses allowed? Once a year? Twice a year?
  • Is there a deductible and how much is it?
  • Am I responsible for a co-pay?
  • Am I responsible for filing a claim or does my vision care provider file the claim for me?
  • Do I need pre-approval or authorization before I receive vision care? Typically, your eye care provider obtains your eligibility and authorization on your behalf.
  • Can I set up a flexible spending account (FSA) to cover my out-of-pocket vision care expenses?

Insurance-related questions to ask your eye care provider:

  • Are you an approved provider for my particular vision care insurance plan?
  • Are any vision problems I’m experiencing considered a medical condition that should be filed under my medical insurance rather than my vision insurance?
  • Do I file the claim with my insurers or will your  office?
  • Am I limited to only certain types of frames and lenses in order to be covered by insurance?