Vision insurance is an important benefit. Don’t leave it on the table.
Fall is coming, which means the period for open enrollment is just around the corner. Open enrollment is when members can join, change, or cancel their health insurance plan without needing a special exemption. Although there are some exceptions (moving or changing jobs, for instance), in general, if you miss the open enrollment period, you may have to wait a full year before you can sign up for insurance benefits again.
While many of us are aware of the importance of general health insurance, other benefits often go overlooked. After all, if you don’t have glasses now, what are the chances you’ll need them in the next year?
The truth is that vision is an important benefit even for those who think their vision is perfect. So, if you’re on the fence, here are six reasons you should enroll in vision insurance this year.
1. Three quarters of American adults need vision correction.
Glasses and contacts are incredibly common, especially as we grow older. In fact, over 75% of American adults wear glasses or contacts. If you’re in this group, vision insurance can make eye exams, glasses, and contacts more affordable.
Vision problems can develop slowly over time, and may appear first as headaches, fatigue, or light sensitivity. You may not realize you’re experiencing signs of poor vision until you look through corrected lenses for the first time and realize how clear the world is!
2. Vision insurance isn’t just for you—it’s also for your dependents.
Even if you’re satisfied with your own eye health, don’t forget that your spouse and children may also be included on your vision plan. Coverage for your family can give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones have access to adequate care.
This can be especially important for children. While vision problems tend to develop with age, this isn’t always the case. To complicate the issue, a child with vision loss may not know what they’re experiencing or how to ask for help. Poor vision can cause children to become withdrawn and can affect their performance in school, especially if they’re having difficulty reading or seeing a whiteboard from the back of the classroom.
If you notice that your child is squinting or closing an eye when focusing on an object, frequently rubbing their eyes, holding a book too close to their face, complaining about bright light, or experiencing other behavioral issues in school, it may be a sign that they need an eye exam!
3. Early detection of vision problems leads to better outcomes.
Eye exams aren’t just for updating your glasses prescription. They also detect vision conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. While these diseases become more common as we age, early detection leads to better outcomes.
For instance, glaucoma, which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, results in pressure building up in the eye and damaging the optic nerve. When glaucoma is caught early, treatments are more effective and less invasive. Annual eye exams provide a check-in point for eye doctors to identify these conditions and recommend treatment.
4. Eye exams can detect health concerns beyond vision.
While eye diseases are obvious conditions to look for in an eye exam, they’re not where the story ends. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association, there are over two-hundred and seventy conditions which can be detected during an eye exam. This is because an eye exam allows doctors to see blood cells behind the eye without relying on more costly or invasive procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, or surgery.
In fact, your eye doctor may be the first to detect signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain autoimmune diseases, or cancer. An eye exam may quite literally save your life!
5. Vision insurance can protect you financially against costly surgeries.
Many health insurance policies cover major surgeries, such as cataract removal or other procedures deemed medically necessary. However, your exact coverage will depend on your health plan, and if your specific procedure isn’t included, out-of-pocket expenses can be high.
Vision insurance can ensure you are covered for these treatments while also saving you money on more routine care, like retinal screenings.
6. Heritage offers member discounts on LASIK and hearing aids.
Finally, we offer ancillary benefits to members enrolled with Heritage Vision Plans. The first is a discount on LASIK services through our partners at LasikPlus, TLC Laser Eye Centers, and The LASIK Vision Institute. Heritage members can receive a free LASIK exam, and a discount of $800 or 15% off surgery.
We have also partnered with Amplifon to increase access to hearing coverage. If you or one of your dependents is experiencing hearing loss, Amplifon’s national network of providers can help you get the care you need.
Vision insurance isn’t just a valuable benefit—it’s part of a holistic health plan.
It’s tempting to think of vision benefits as being for those who already have known vision challenges. In reality, vision is part of our overall health, not separate from it. Quality of vision can powerfully affect quality of life, changes in vision can be symptoms of other health conditions, and vision loss can increase the risk of accident or injury.
Annual eye exams should be part of your health routine just as much as getting a physical or going to the dentist. If you don’t have a vision plan, sign up for one this open enrollment season.