Want a tip on how to save money on your next eye exam and when it's time to purchase new eyeglasses or contact lenses?
If you are a full-time employee, it's possible you have vision insurance benefits associated with your employment that you've forgotten about or are not aware of. Failing to use these benefits can cost you hundreds of dollars each year in eye care expenses.
If you're uncertain whether you have vision care benefits at work, contact your Human Resources department. You may be able to start making smarter buying decisions today by taking advantage of vision care benefits offered by companies like VSP.
What Is VSP?
VSP Vision Care is the largest vision insurance company in the United States. According to the company's website, one in five Americans is covered by a VSP plan that offers vision care and eyewear benefits.
If you're lucky enough to be enrolled in a VSP plan (or a comparable vision benefits plan, such as EyeMed) through work, you can take advantage of significant savings when purchasing eye care and eyewear.
Here are essential steps you should take to get the most from your VSP plan and the benefits it offers.
8 Steps To Get The Most From Your VSP Vision Insurance
1. Start Early
When many people find out they have VSP vision insurance coverage at work, they make the mistake of thinking, "I'll look into that when I have more time." Don't wait! Take advantage of your VSP benefits as soon as possible during your coverage period to avoid forgetting to use them later in the year.
2. Know Your Benefits
To get the greatest value from your VSP plan, you need to fully understand the benefits your specific plan offers. If you are enrolled in a VSP plan at work, go to their site and login to access your personal benefits information and obtain your VSP vision card.
If you don't have VSP coverage through work, you can visit the VSP website or contact VSP Vision Care at (800) 877-7195 to select an Individual Plan for you and your family.
3. Schedule An Exam
Write down a summary of your VSP vision benefits. Review the list and see which benefits apply to your needs.
If so, schedule exams for yourself, your spouse and your kids. Make it a family affair so you can help each other choose glasses after your exams.
It's hard to know how good or bad your vision is until you have your visual acuity measured during an eye exam. Don't rely on vision screenings alone — for example, you can pass that vision screening at the Department of Motor Vehicles with 20/40 vision, which isn't that clear!
5. Don't Settle For Second-Rate Eyewear
One of the best things about having VSP vision benefits is you don't have to compromise when selecting eyeglasses — in particular, when choosing lenses for your glasses.
Though appearance is important, the most valuable thing about your eyeglasses isn't how fashionable the frames look — it's the quality of vision the lenses provide.
Features like anti-reflective coating, photochromic lenses, and the latest progressive lenses often are essential if you want the clearest, most comfortable vision possible.
But the added cost of these premium products can stretch your budget if you don't have vision insurance benefits such as those provided by a VSP plan.
Essentially, your VSP vision benefits plan is like a gift card — it can make the best eyeglass lenses (and frames) significantly more affordable. And while you might be able to save a few dollars by purchasing no-name or unfamiliar "private brand" lenses, with your VSP benefits it's likely you can afford premium brands for the clearest, most comfortable vision possible.
6. Wear Contacts? You Need Glasses, Too.
Many people — especially teenagers and young adults — mistakenly think glasses and contact lenses are an "either-or" decision. If you wear contacts, why bother buying glasses?
Even if you can wear contact lenses comfortably all day, it's important to have an up-to-date quality pair of eyeglasses as well.
Why? Even the best-fitting premium contact lens reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your cornea. This eventually can cause problems — including redness, discomfort, blurry vision and even serious eye infections.
To keep your eyes clear, healthy and comfortable, it's best to give them a "breather" at the end of the day by removing your contacts at least an hour or two before sleep.
7. Get Computer Glasses
According to a recent Vision Council report, up to 68 percent of Americans experience symptoms of digital eye strain because of the hours they spend using computers, e-readers and smart phones. Many of these discomfort symptoms can be relieved with eyeglasses specially prescribed for use with these devices — computer glasses.
In particular, if you currently wear bifocals or progressive lenses, switching to a pair of glasses with single vision lenses prescribed specifically for the distance from your eyes to your screen can make your eyes and neck much more comfortable during computer use.
And your VSP benefits make this option affordable!
8. Supplement Your VSP Coverage With An HSA
Eye care is important and quality eyewear isn't cheap. No vision insurance will cover the entire cost of your eye exam, eyeglasses and contact lenses — especially if you want the best eyewear possible.
A health savings account (HSA) enables you to set aside pre-tax dollars every pay period that you can use for health-related expenses your vision insurance doesn't cover — including eyeglasses and contact lenses. And you don't have to worry about losing any money in your HSA at the end of the year, because the balance rolls over year-after-year.
Discuss this option with your HR representative at work to see if a health savings account is a good choice for you.
A passionate eyecare provider with strong interest in new technology and great customer service.
Austin Village Eyecare
1013 Chestnut Ln Suite 210
Matthews, NC 28104