Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 15, 2021

Does vision insurance cover LASIK?

LASIK surgery is a popular solution for those who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses. This minimally invasive procedure can help correct different types of vision problems, which affect over 2 billion people across the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

Still, LASIK can be expensive and tough to insure. That’s why it’s important to know whether or not your vision insurance covers this form of surgery and, if not, how else you can finance your payment.

What is LASIK surgery?

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a type of refractive surgery that corrects vision impairments, such as far-sightedness, near-sightedness, and astigmatism. Essentially, a LASIK surgeon will use a laser to reshape the patient’s cornea and improve vision. The procedure is generally quick and painless, often lasting less than 30 minutes. Patients also commonly recover quickly and enjoy near-immediate results.

Candidates for LASIK surgery must be at least 18 years old with healthy eyes and a stable prescription. Those with glaucoma or cataracts, for example, may not be ideal candidates for LASIK.

How much does LASIK surgery cost?

While the cost of LASIK surgery can vary by state and provider, the average cost of LASIK is $1,500 to $2,000 per eye, according to the Laser Eye Institute.

Does insurance cover LASIK surgery?

Insurance companies typically do not cover LASIK because it’s considered an elective or cosmetic surgery. In certain cases, such as if a patient suffers from a serious eye injury, LASIK may be considered a necessary procedure and therefore partially covered by vision or medical insurance.

Insurance providers may also cover after-care medications, such as eye drops and antibiotics, needed for recovery.

What are other ways to pay for LASIK?

If your insurance provider does not cover LASIK, you may be able to use the following solutions to curtail some of the costs:

  • Flexible spending account (FSA). Created through your employer, this account helps you save a portion of your pre-tax income each payment period. You can then use this money to finance certain out-of-pocket medical costs. FSAs are capped at $2,750 for 2021. Any money that’s left unspent by the end of the year won’t roll over.
  • Health savings account (HSA). Similar to an FSA, an HSA helps you save pre-tax income for health costs, as long as you have a high-deductible health plan. At the end of the year, unspent money rolls over into the following year.
  • Payment plan. Your surgeon may offer financing with interest rates for repayment over a period of time.

LASIK can be helpful for those who no longer want to rely on wearing glasses and contacts for vision correction. But it’s important to do your research beforehand and gauge the overall costs and coverage of this elective surgery.

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