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Vision Coverage Options for Seniors

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Health

Vision problems always seem to increase with age, which is why seniors need the resources to keep their eyes in check. The problem is that getting coverage for eye care can be difficult for seniors, forcing them to pay a ton of money on eye exams and eyeglasses. However, there are plenty of cases where seniors can get the vision coverage they need depending on the circumstances. With a number of options for seniors, getting coverage isn’t always as problematic as it might seem. If you are a senior in need of vision coverage, read on to learn more about vision coverage options for seniors.

Medicare

When it comes to Medicare, getting vision coverage can be a little tricky. Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover routine eye exams as needed for eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, eye exams for macular degeneration and treatment for macular degeneration is covered. Yearly eye exams for diabetic retinopathy are also covered by Medicare, provided they are allowed in your state. For individuals who are at higher risk of glaucoma, Medicare will also cover glaucoma tests every year. For all of these tests, patients pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount. Another downside of Medicare is that it does not cover eyeglasses or contacts, unless they are needed after cataract surgery which is covered by Medicare.

Highlights:

  • Corrective lenses only covered after cataract surgery
  • Eye exams for macular degeneration and glaucoma allowed
  • Patients pay 20% of Medicare approved amount

Medicare Advantage

Because of the limitations of Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans purchased in addition to Medicare are a great way to get improved vision coverage. For instance, individuals with Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan may purchase an optional MyOption Vision benefit. MyOption Vision allows seniors to choose from a network of EyeMed Vision experts near you. With this benefit, seniors can get full coverage on routine eye exams. Additionally, seniors will have $375 towards a pair of frames and lenses or towards contacts, every year. Costs that exceed the pre-approved amount will need to be covered by the patients.

Highlights:

  • Provides coverage for routine exams
  • Provides coverage for frames and lenses
  • Purchased as an optional benefit

Non-Profit Organizations

Some non-profit organizations like EyeCare America offer free eye exams for seniors. EyeCare America stresses the importance of eye exams in preventing blindness, especially for those who may be suffering from diabetic retinopathy. The EyeCare America program from the American Academy of Opthalmology is designed for seniors age 65 and older who are US citizens or legal residents. Seniors seeking a free eye exam should not have seen an ophthalmologist in the past three years. They should also not be receiving benefits from VA or have an HMO.

Highlights:

  • Intended for US citizens and legal residents 65 and older
  • Dedicated to preventing vision loss in diabetic patients
  • Seniors should not have had an eye exam in the past 3 years

Conclusion

With old age comes more vision problems, which is why it is especially important that seniors get the vision coverage they need. While Medicare may not provide routine exams, Medicare Advantage plans may give them the coverage they need. For seniors who cannot afford it, non-profit organizations like EyeCare America prove a viable option.