If you or your family members are eligible for the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) you’ve maintained a clear path of your mission in life – to serve others and your country. But when it comes to your actual vision maintenance, it’s crucial that you also take care of yourself with regular eye exams. Whether or not you need vision correction, top-notch vision coverage offered through a FEDVIP Vision Plan is a smart way to ensure that you keep an eye on your health.
When enrolling in a vision plan, you want to ensure that you have the right coverage for both yourself and your family. Sadly, only half of the estimated 93 million US adults at high risk for vision loss visited an eye doctor in the last year1, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. One reason might be that the cost is a deterrent for those who don’t have any insurance coverage. According to a survey done by Consumer Reports, respondents who bought glasses without insurance reimbursement at one of Consumer Reports’ top-rated eyeglass stores reported paying a median cost of $1872; that’s not including the eye exam.
On the other hand, a solid vision plan may lower your out-of-pocket expenses significantly, sometimes offering exams at no additional cost, low-cost prescription lenses, and even an allowance for frames. More importantly, regular screenings can help identify potentially serious conditions early so you can be properly treated.
While choosing a vision carrier and the appropriate level of coverage can seem confusing at first, with a little research, you can make the right choice. To help you with your decision, here’s a breakdown of the top considerations for choosing a vision plan:
Ample Plan options
Everyone’s eye health needs are unique, so it’s good to have different coverage levels. FEDVIP gives you the option to choose the carrier and the plan that’s right for you. Depending on where you’re located, carriers may offer both a standard and a high option plan. If you pay a little more for a high plan it will generally reduce your copay amounts and provide you higher allowances for things like frames and contact lenses.
The benefits you need
Think about your eye health and that of your family. How many wear eyeglasses/contacts? Does anyone require advanced eye examinations for members with diabetes, glaucoma and age-related muscular degeneration (AMD)? How you answer those questions can help determine the plan level that suits your situation best. For example, people with chronic conditions, low vision or need complex lenses need to make sure the plan selected has the coverage needed.
While most plans will include a basic eye examination and prescription lenses, it’s nice to have additional benefits. Explore your coverage options to see if there are special features such as:
- Coverage for sunglasses, either prescription or non-prescription.
- Family coverage, including children. Certain plans offer coverage for children up to age 18, while others will only cover until age 13.
- Retinal screening for members with diabetes
- Discounts for laser eye surgery
It’s also wise to select an insurance plan that offers a large selection of providers. A large network that includes major retail chains, warehouse stores, and well-known vision centers can make it easier to make an appointment that's convenient and close to home. Also, check if the coverage allows for out-of-network benefits in case you decide to see a non-participating provider.
Reduce out-of-pocket costs
Having $0 co-pays for regular eye exams and coverage for either eyeglasses or contact lenses are benefits to look for if you're hoping to save on out-of-pocket expenses. Not all carriers offer plans that cover contacts, and some require a co-pay of 20$ or more for each visit of $20 or more, which can add up if you have a family.
Keeping up with eye examinations and updating your eyeglass prescriptions regularly will help you detect vision problems so that you can correct them and continue taking in this beautiful country’s sights that you’ve served so well.
MetLife is a new FEDVIP vision carrier for 2021. Find out more about MetLife’s standard and high plans available to federal employees, federal annuitants, retired Uniformed Service members, National Guard & Reserve members, and family members of active-duty service members at www.metlife.com/FEDVIP-Vision.