One of the considerations that can impact what type of glasses teens purchase is how they are going to be paid for. If teens are covered by a vision insurance plan, check with the plan administrator before the glasses are purchased to determine if there are any requirements that have to be met in order for the purchase to be reimbursable.
One money-saving option is to use a Flexible Spending Account or FSA. Provided by many employers, FSA’s let you use pre-tax dollars to pay for many medical expenses, including prescriptions, health insurance deductibles and co-pays, and eye exams and other medical equipment, including prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses, prescription readers, computer glasses, and contacts, as well as medical procedures.
There is a maximum annual amount that can be contributed to an FSA based on IRS regulations. It does not all have to be contributed at once, but if the money in the account isn’t used in full that year, the money will be forfeited. The FSA’s appeal is that taxpayers aren’t taxed on the funds in their FSA, up to that annual limit, making those dollars essentially tax-free earnings.
Sometimes vision correction and glasses are considered a medical condition by eye care providers and insurers and as such, they may be covered under a medical insurance plan.
Questions to ask your vision insurance plan administrator:
- What vision care services and products are covered? i.e. comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, prescription lenses, etc.
- How often are vision care services and new glasses allowed? Once a year? Twice a year?
- Is there a deductible and how much is it?
- Am I responsible for a co-pay?
- Is there a limit to the lenses’ and frames’ purchase price?
- Am I responsible for filing a claim or does my vision care provider file the claim for me?
- Do teen patients need pre-approval or authorization before receiving vision care?
- Can a flexible spending account (FSA) be set up to cover out-of-pocket vision care expenses?
Insurance-related questions to ask your teens’ eye care provider:
- Are you an approved provider for my teens’ particular vision care insurance plan?
- Are any vision problems being experienced considered a medical condition that should be filed under medical insurance rather than vision insurance?
- Who files the claim with the insurance company?
- Does the insurance cover only certain types of frames and lenses?