Is Lasik Covered by Your Insurance Plan?

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Insurance plans usually don’t cover Lasik or corrective eye surgery because it’s a voluntary procedure. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price.

Your insurance company may offer discounts on Lasik as a policyholder perk. This is more common with vision insurance than with health insurance, but either option can save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you can use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) account for even more savings on Lasik surgery.

We recommend Cigna health insurance plans for the best benefits for Lasik eye surgery.

Is Lasik covered by health insurance?

However, there are a few insurance companies that offer discounts on Lasik as a part of their member rewards or deals programs. This can save you money off of the cash price that the surgery facility charges.

On average, health insurance plans that offer the benefit can save you $715 per eye on Lasik surgery.

Plus, the discounts are usually applied at the time the bill is issued to help you reduce your out-of-pocket spending without having to worry about reimbursement.

Keep in mind that because Lasik benefits are a discount program rather than traditional health insurance coverage, any costs for Lasik will fall outside of your health insurance plan’s deductibles and copayments.

So for example, say you paid a few thousand dollars for Lasik surgery using your health insurance discounts. When you need other medical care during the same policy year, you would still need to pay for some of your health costs out of pocket until that spending reaches your plan’s deductible. What you spent on Lasik would not count toward your deductible.

Which insurance companies have the best coverage for Lasik?

Even though discounts for Lasik are more frequently offered with vision insurance plans, some health insurance policyholders can get great discounts on corrective eye surgery. For example, Cigna plans can reduce the cost of traditional Lasik to less than $1,000 per eye.

Keep in mind that your actual costs and insurance discounts will vary based on the plan, the location where you get your surgery and the type of surgery you need.

Also, some insurance companies only offer Lasik discounts if you get the procedure at one of the affiliated provider chains. For example, both the Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield discount programs can only be used at a LasikPlus facility. Cigna offers better rates if you get your surgery with LasikPlus, but it also provides a 15% discount if you use another surgical center in the U.S. Laser Network.

Is Lasik covered by vision insurance?

These discounts are typically considered a perk that’s in addition to the plan’s standard coverage for eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. On average, a vision insurance plan can save you $948 per eye on Lasik surgery.

The amount you save on Lasik surgery is frequently more than your out-of-pocket costs for the vision insurance plan. This means vision insurance is a very good deal if you expect to have Lasik surgery.

Keep in mind that insurance benefits for Lasik usually can’t be combined. For example, if you have Lasik discounts through both your vision insurance plan and your health insurance plan, you’ll need to work with the surgery provider and the insurance companies to decide how you can get the best deal.

Which vision insurance companies have the best coverage for Lasik?

Many vision insurance plans will only give you a discount if you use one of their affiliated Lasik providers. For example, both UnitedHealthcare and Davis Vision partner with QualSight, a lower-cost provider. This further reduces your out-of-pocket costs by combining large discounts and cheap rates.

Remember that even with vision insurance, your actual costs will vary based on your insurance plan, the type of procedure you need and the location where you get the surgery.

For those who have group insurance plans through an employer, how much your Lasik discount is may also be influenced by negotiated rates between your company and the insurer. For example, we have seen Lasik prices as low as $695 per eye with a Humana vision insurance plan for employees at a large college. That’s nearly half the price of what you’d pay with a typical Humana vision plan.

Is Lasik covered by an FSA or HSA?

Even when Lasik is an elective surgery that’s not medically necessary, it is still considered a qualified medical expense according to the IRS Publication 502. That means you can use funds from a health reimbursement arrangement or a flexible spending arrangement to pay for your surgery.

Tax-advantaged accounts like an FSA or HSA are a useful tool for helping your money to go further when paying for health expenses. These accounts won’t lower your actual medical bills. Instead, they’ll eliminate the taxes that you owe on the money you use to pay for your surgery.

A typical consumer can save 38% on the cost of Lasik by using an FSA. However, actual savings will vary based on your tax rate and the cost of your procedure.

Plus, savings from an FSA or HSA can be on top of any insurance company discounts. By combining the two, you can make your Lasik surgery even more affordable.

How much can you save on Lasik with an FSA?

The amount you save with an FSA is based on your tax rate.

For example, say you contributed the current maximum amount of $2,850 into an FSA account. If your annual income was $35,000 and you had a tax rate of 20%, that means you’d save $570 in taxes on those funds, which could be used for Lasik. But if your income was $100,000 and you had a tax rate of 34%, you’d instead have $969 in savings.

So for the typical household in the U.S. earning $50,000, the estimated tax savings from using a FSA is $855 based on a 30% tax rate.

Estimated tax savings for putting $2,850 in an FSA to be used for Lasik

Using an FSA gives you much more buying power for your dollars, and these tax-advantaged accounts are a very good tool for planned health expenses. If a typical consumer who saved $855 didn’t use an FSA, they would have needed to earn the equivalent of $3,705 in order to pay the $855 tax bill and still have $2,850 to spend toward Lasik.

The downside of using an FSA or HSA is that it takes planning.

Before you start saving toward getting corrective eye surgery, it’s a good idea to first get an initial eye exam to make sure you’re eligible for the procedure.

Also, you’ll need to time the procedure for when the funds are available in your account. For example, at the beginning of the policy year, are funds distributed to your account in a lump sum, or does it happen on a rolling basis throughout the year? And at the end of the policy year, do funds roll over for you to use the next year, or is it a use-it-or-lose-it account where any unused funds are fortified at the end of the year?

Frequently asked questions

Sources and methodology

Cost data is based on advertised rates from insurance companies and Lasik providers. When costs varied by procedure, we used the most affordable procedure, which is usually traditional Lasik without lifetime enhancements. When discounts were provided but not rates, we used a standardized cost of $2,395 per eye in our calculations. Average FSA savings are also based on this standardized Lasik cost for a consumer with a $50,000 estimated salary. FSA tax savings are based on data from Paychex.

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