Pros / The lens copay is only $10.
Cons / Its standard plans are slightly more expensive than average.
Verdict / United Healthcare strikes the best balance between premium prices and benefits, making it our top choice for vision insurance.
After comparing individual vision insurance plans, we found that United Healthcare has the best ones, with affordable premiums and excellent benefits. In fact, it is more affordable than VSP and has very similar benefits.
United Healthcare offers a variety of plans. To get a quote, you need to supply information like age, ZIP code and whether you smoke. We were quoted two plans: Vision Plan A and Vision Plan B. Plan A has a monthly premium of around $11, and Plan B has a premium of around $15. A plan with a spouse or dependents costs $18. There are no enrollment or monthly maintenance fees.
Both plans have very similar benefits. You pay a $10 copay on an annual eye exam, with United Healthcare covering the remaining cost. Eye exams can cost as much as $200 when you pay out of pocket, so just getting an exam each year makes the annual cost of insurance worth it. You also get a $150 allowance on frames or contact lenses, though there’s no discount for anything you spend beyond that. Lenses have a $10 copay, and it applies to all types of lenses. As such, this the best vision insurance if you need anything beyond standard lenses.
The main difference between the two plans is Plan A provides the allowance for either frames or contact lenses, but not both. Plan B’s $150 allowance can be used for both frames and contacts. However, this depends on the contact lenses you choose – certain ones have a $0 copay. These select contacts aren’t available at Walmart, Sam’s Club or Costco. If you get contacts through those locations, you use the $150 allowance.
Family plans follow the same structure, with a Plan A and Plan B. The difference in these plans is the same as between the two single-person plans. With Plan A, you choose between lenses and contacts, while with Plan B you get both.
United Healthcare works with over 80,000 providers – the largest network of all the insurers we reviewed. You can use a tool on its website to find a provider nearby. In case you already see an eye doctor and they’re not part of the United Healthcare network, you get out-of-network benefits. These include a $50 allowance on eye exams, a $75 allowance on frames and a $105 allowance on contact lenses. These are among the best out-of-network benefits we saw.
Another reason United Healthcare’s out-of-network benefits are better than others is they take affect when you pay. Other insurers reimburse you up to their prescribed limit. United applies the allowance and you pay the rest. This is nice because it saves you the hassle of filling out paperwork and waiting to get paid back.