Best Vision Insurance: VSP Vs Davis Vs Guardian Vs Humana & More

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VSP logo
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UnitedHealthcare logo
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Ameritas logo

Are you not seeing 20/20? Your vision is essential. You shouldn’t neglect your eye health, but glasses and other vision care can be expensive. Can vision insurance help you get the care you need for your precious eyesight or is it just a waste of money?

Luckily, vision insurance plans are more affordable than you’d expect and a small monthly payment can actually save you hundreds of dollars every year. We’ve read between the lines on the various vision insurance plans available to help you see which policy is a perfect pair for you to try on.

Article Overview

What Is Vision Insurance?

Eye doctor's officeBasic vision insurance works similar to other types of insurance in that you pay a monthly premium (or payment) that prevents you from spending a more substantial lump sum of money out of pocket all at once (which can save you money in the long run which we’ll get into more in the next section).

However, if you need eye surgery or have significant medical issues with your eyes, those conditions should be covered by your regular health insurance plan. Vision insurance is more for general eye wellness and ensuring your vision is in overall good health.

Vision insurance typically covers:

  • An eye examination
  • Pupil dilation
  • Diagnosis of any conditions (such as astigmatism)
  • Prescription for lenses (or contact lenses)
  • Eyeglass frames, eyeglass lenses and/or contact lenses

Some plans even include partial coverage for refractive surgery, such as LASIK and PRK.

There are two main types of vision insurance:

  1. As part of a comprehensive health insurance plan
  2. As an ancillary, stand-alone plan

Some employers offer one of these options in their employee benefits packages. But not all employers do, leaving you on your own to weed through all of the individual vision plans on the market.

Is Vision Insurance Worth It?

Everyone should get eye exams on a yearly basis. But, vision insurance only makes sense financially if you need to pay for prescription glasses or contacts. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending more on insurance in the long run than if you pay for your eye exam alone.

Getting new lenses or glasses requires an up to date prescription from an optometrist. So insurance pays for itself by covering both your annual trip to the doctor and new frames. Savings on eyeglasses and contacts are especially significant if you have to cover multiple family members.

TIP: When shopping for a policy, be sure to consider the specific types of products and services offered and pay close attention to vision insurance quotes.

What Are The Largest Vision Insurance Companies?

Before we get to our review of the best vision plans for individuals, let’s first take a look at the big players. The table below lists the top 10 largest eye insurance companies in the U.S.

They’re ranked by vision insurance market share. We’ve indicated the companies that offer plans for individuals (not through an employer) with an asterisk (*).

Rank Company Total Participants
1. EyeMed Vision Care 159,000,000
2. VSP Vision Care* 54,767,676
3. Davis Vision 50,000,000
4. OptumHealth Vision & UnitedHealthcare Vision* 17,683,369
5. Cigna 3,266,690
6. WellPoint Inc. 2,444,000
7. Advantica Eyecare Inc. 2,000,000
8. Guardian Life Insurance Co. 1,220,000
9. Ameritas Group* 985,685
10. Principal Financial Group 191,782

Best Vision Insurance Plans For Individuals

The following vision insurance plan features are standard for the industry:

  • Coverage is for one eye exam and equipment once every 12 months.
  • Most plans cover eyeglasses OR contact lenses every 12 months (not both).
  • Most plans require a 12-month contract.

We’ve based our reviews on the variable factors, such as vision insurance cost and value, where insurance is accepted, special coverage and more.

Winner: VSP Vision Care Direct Review

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We’ve chosen VSP Vision Care Direct as the best eye insurance for individuals and families. With several plans to choose from, VSP gives you more flexibility in finding the type of coverage that fits your needs.

Some plans are even customizable. Copays and allowances care competitive. And more than 33,000 vision care providers in all 50 states accept VSP.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive allowances
  • Four different plans to choose from
  • Access to a large, 33,000 provider network
  • You can go out-of-network
  • Discounts on laser surgery
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Monthly premiums for 1-2 people are slightly above average

Pricing

The following pricing is for VSP Direct’s Standard Plan. Be sure to check out their enhanced plans, where you can enjoy savings on premier lens features.

Monthly Premiums

Monthly premiums vary by state. Below are estimates for North Carolina. View your estimate for free.

  • Individual: $16.01/month
  • Two People: $30.31/month
  • Family Plan: $41.49/month

Standard Benefits

  • $15 copay for eye exam
  • $150 allowance for frames
  • $25 copay for eyeglass lenses
  • $150 allowance for contact lenses

Runner-Up: UnitedHealthcare Vision Review

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UnitedHealthcare Vision Insurance stands out for its Vision Plan B that covers a pair of glasses AND contact lenses during a 12-month period. They also have a standard Vision Plan A that covers one of the two. If you live in one of the 30 states UnitedHealthcare serves, give them a closer look.

UnitedHealthcare Vision insurance is available in these states: AL, AR, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV and WY.

Pros

Cons

  • Low copays
  • Offers a plan that covers both glasses and contacts within a 12-month period
  • You can go out-of-network
  • Discounts on laser surgery
  • Unavailable in 20 states
  • Provider network not as large as our #1 pick, VSP

Monthly Premiums

Monthly premiums vary by state. Below are estimates for Plan A (glasses OR contact lenses) in North Carolina. Plan B premiums (glasses AND contacts) are an additional $5+ per month.

  • Individual: $11.40/month
  • Couple: $18.60/month
  • Family of Four: $33/month

Standard Benefits

  • $10 copay for eye exam
  • $150 allowance for frames
  • $10 copay for eyeglass lenses
  • $0 copay for select list of contact lenses
  • $125 allowance for non-select contact lenses (Plan A)
  • $150 allowance for non-select contact lenses (Plan B)

3rd Place: Ameritas Group Review

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Ameritas, a large U.S. life insurance provider, offers two individual vision insurance policies and access to VSP’s network of 33,000 providers or EyeMed’s network of 78,000. Whether you get VSP or EyeMed depends on your state of residence and the specific plan you choose.

Ameritas’ PrimeStar Vision Select plan is a cheap vision insurance alternative if you only need coverage for glasses or contacts once every 24 months. Their PrimeStar Vision Choice plan gives you competitive premiums, copays and allowances for once-every-12-month coverage.

Both plans cover an annual eye exam.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive copays
  • Access to VSP or EyeMed networks, two of the largest in the U.S.
  • You can go out-of-network
  • Discounts on laser surgery and enhanced lens features
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Family plan pricing is slightly higher than average
  • Some user complaints about poor customer support

Monthly Premiums

Monthly premiums vary by state. Below are estimates for North Carolina.

PrimeStar Vision Select Plan PrimeStar Vision Choice Plan
Glasses or Contact Lenses Once Every 24 Months Glasses or Contact Lenses Once Every 12 Months
One Person $10.67/month $16.34/month
Two People $19.63/month $30.07/month
Family $29.34/month $44.94/month

Standard Benefits

Standard benefits include the following copays and allowances. Ameritas also provides discounts for premium lens features.

PrimeStar Vision Select PrimeStar Vision Choice
Glasses or Contact Lenses Once Every 24 Months Glasses or Contact Lenses Once Every 12 Months
Eyeglass Exam Copay $25 $10
Contact Lens Exam Copay $15 Up to $60
Eyeglass Lens Copay $25 $20
Allowance for Frames $130 $150
Allowances for Contact Lenses $130 $150

More Vision Insurance Plans Reviewed

The following vision plans didn’t make out top three, but each has unique features you’ll want to consider.

EyeBenefits | Humana

EyeBenefits Review

EyeBenefits logo

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EyeBenefits is a savings plan rather than a traditional vision insurance company. You pay a low yearly fee and get roughly 20% to 30% discounts on eye examinations and products — and there’s no limit to the number of times you can use your benefits. You can purchase coverage from one to three years.

The EyeBenefits Provider Networks consists of 12,000 optical and LASIK locations nationwide, including popular national and regional chains like VisionWorks, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, and Target Optical.

This vision care plan is best for people who have simple vision needs, and it makes an excellent supplement to your vision insurance plan.

Pros

Cons

  • Low single and family annual fees and no enrollment fee
  • No limit on how frequently you use your benefits
  • Up to $500 savings at participating LASIK centers
  • Users report excellent customer support
  • Can’t go out-of-network
  • Disposable contact lenses aren’t covered
  • They don’t guarantee the quality of services or products
  • Not available in AK, CT, MT, RI or WA

Pricing

Single plans are $30/year; Family plans are $45/year. EyeBenefits offers a 30-day cancellation refund. Discounts are as follows:

Independent Optical Locations Regional Optical Locations National Chain Locations
Eyeglass Exam 10%-20% 10%-20% $5 off
Contact Exam 10%-20% 10%-20% $5 off
Frames 15%-30% 10%-50% 30%
Eyeglass Lenses 15%-25% 10%-30% 30%
Contact Lenses
(Non Disposable)
10%-20% 10%-20% 15%

Humana Vision Review

Humana logo

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Humana, a well-known insurance provider, offers one vision plan with the option to add on family members. Compared to other eye insurers, Humana’s plan has higher than average premiums, an enrollment fee — and exam copays are higher than average.

Like most other vision insurance, this plan covers exams and products once every 12 months.

Humana Vision does offer added discounts on extra features, such as tinting, progressive lenses, anti-reflection, scratch-resistance and more. But unless you want these special add-ons, you can find better savings elsewhere.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive premiums
  • Available in more than 40 states
  • Some benefits available if you go out-of-network
  • Discounts on laser surgery and enhanced lens features
  • Save with dual vision/dental insurance plans
  • Enrollment fee of $35
  • Copays on the higher side
  • Unavailable in AK, DC, HI, MT, NH, OR, RI, VT or WA

Monthly Premiums

Monthly premiums vary by state. Below are estimates for North Carolina.

  • Individual: $15.99/month
  • Couple: $27.99/month
  • Family of Four: $45.99/month

Standard Benefits

  • $15 copay for eyeglass exam
  • $40 copay for contact lens exam
  • $150 allowance for frames (then you pay 80%)
  • $25 copay for standard plastic eyeglass lenses
  • $150 allowance for conventional and disposable contact lenses
  • Additional copays available for premium lens features

Do You Need Glasses (Or Can You Wait)?

Many of us who require glasses or contacts recall the days when we held off taking the plunge into the vision wear pool until it became a necessity. If you’re on the fence about whether you need glasses yet, take a peek at this brief video to help you determine if it’s time.

Best Dental And Health Insurance Providers

When shopping for supplemental insurance to accompany your health insurance, in addition to the top vision insurance plans, you may also be seeking dental insurance. We’ve got you covered with review of the best dental insurance.

If you are not sure where to start your search for a health insurance plan, take a look at our review of eHealthInsurance, which lets you get quotes for multiple types of health insurance.

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing, and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those that may be used for example purposes in this article.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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