Key Points You’ll Learn
- Can you use vision insurance online? YES.
- Out-of-Network is the most common way to utilize your benefits, but there are some online eyeglass retailers that accept your vision insurance as in-network providers.
- Using your FSA/HSA account is a great way to utilize your vision insurance and maximize your tax savings.
How It All Began
I glimpsed down at my phone last week and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t read it. I mean, I could read it, once I moved it back a few inches. But I couldn’t read it in the same exact spot that I had been reading that phone for the prior 15 years. All of a sudden, overnight, I couldn’t read that damn phone. “You are over 40 now,” a friend of mine told me via text. “We all need reading glasses once we turn 40.”
I didn’t reply. She would now become the scapegoat for my inability to see up close. It doesn’t just include the phone, I can’t read a god damn book with holding my arm extended longer than any person should ever have to consider doing so.
So, since I can’t get an eye exam right now (I’ll blame it on COVID-19 and social distancing, but I’m still partly in denial), I decided to see if I can use my vision insurance online. Since I had no idea how my vision insurance worked IRL, let alone attempting to use it to buy glasses online, I figured most of my readers don’t either.
Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to learn how to use your vision insurance online, for glasses or contact lenses. For the sake of this article, I am going to focus on the glasses aspect of how to use vision insurance online. So, here we go…
The easiest way to use your vision insurance when buying glasses online is by using your out-of-network benefits. This means that you pay all the fees upfront for your glasses, and submit your claim form and itemized receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement (at the end of this post I have provided detailed instructions on how to do this).
The dollar amount of coverage will be less than if you purchase in-network, but don’t let that scare you. Remember, when you are purchasing online, the prices are already significantly less than your optometrist and neighborhood eyeglasses shop. So, being able to submit for out-of-network benefits when buying online is another way to save even more money.
Can you use your vision insurance online while maximizing in-network benefits? That is the question I wanted answered. Because, to be quite honest, I am too lazy right now to download and submit claim forms and shit.
There are a handful of online eyeglass retailers that do accept your vision insurance as in-network providers. This means that you are only responsible for your copay and coinsurance amounts. They will submit the claim on your behalf and the insurance company will pay them directly. Here is a list of providers and the in-network insurances they accept.
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Eyeconic is an online optical retailer that accepts VSP, Cigna Vision, and Metlife Vision. Eyeconic is owned by VSP (Vision Service Plan) which can also go by other names, such as Cigna Vision or Met Life Vision. They are all the same thing, so it makes sense that you can use your VSP vision insurance online with Eyeconic.
I really like that you can utilize your United Healthcare vision insurance at Warby Parker. Warby Parker was a paradigm shift and essentially created online eyeglass shopping. They offer a quality product at a great price, and the fact that they even accept vision insurance online, is an added bonus.
You can purchase glasses with your United Healthcare vision insurance at Warby Parker for $25 or less. They are in-network and take care of all the paperwork and submitting claims.
Glaases.com is owned by Luxottica, the company that controls over 80% of the eyeglass industry. They own Lenscrafters, Oakley, Rayban, Tiffany, Prada, Coach, Armani, and hundreds of other popular eyeglass brands. Luckily for them, they also own one of the largest vision insurance providers, Eyemed.
Not unlike VSP, Eyemed goes by a variety of different names, but it is all the same. So, you may have Eyemed, Aetna, or Blue View, all of which are accepted at Glasses.com. They also accept Humana and UniView insurance plans as an in-network provider.
FSA/HSA (Flexible Spending Account/Health Savings Account)
If you have an FSA card, you can use it to pay for the glasses that you purchase online. If you don’t have a card, then you can submit your itemized receipt for reimbursement that will deduct from your available FSA account balance. Depending on your insurance plan, you may have an HSA instead of an FSA. No need to worry as you can also use your HSA card to pay for the glasses that you purchase online.
Your FSA/HSA can be combined with using your in-network benefits online, including Eyemed vision insurance, VSP vision insurance, or when purchasing online with vision insurance at Warby Parker.
How to Submit for Out of Network Reimbursement
All you need to do is to obtain a copy of your itemized receipt (not a credit card receipt), print the claim form by clicking the appropriate link below, and mail/fax to your vision insurance company. They should send you a check for your out-of-network insurance benefit in a few weeks. Some insurance companies are quicker than others.
What are my final thoughts about how to use vision insurance online? Just don’t get old, that’s my advice. Then you don’t have to worry about this shit. But, if you can’t read your phone anymore without increasing your font to the extra-large size, then know that it is possible to use your vision insurance online. Whip out your insurance card. Head to your computer. And order those glasses you old bastard. It’s not that difficult.