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Does Insurance Cover LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK eye surgery typically is not covered by health insurance because insurance companies do not consider it medically necessary. Often classified as a cosmetic procedure, most insurance companies will deny coverage for LASIK eye surgery.

Some insurance companies offer discounts on LASIK eye surgery to help their policyholders save on costs. Costing $2,100 per eye, on average, consumers will want to capitalize on savings where possible.

When Does Insurance Cover LASIK?

Insurance will rarely cover LASIK eye surgery because health insurance companies do not consider it a medically necessary procedure. Even vision insurance will usually exclude coverage for vision correction surgery costs.

Medically necessary eye-related procedures, like surgeries, may be covered by a health plan and under the care of an opthalmologist.

Instead, LASIK eye surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure (like plastic surgery) and the cost will be out-of-pocket for most consumers. Fortunately, several insurance companies offer discounts to lower the cost of the procedure. Other financing options, like payment plans and health savings accounts, can help consumers manage costs, as well.

How Much Does a LASIK Procedure Cost?

The average cost of LASIK surgery is $2,100 per eye according to the American Refractive Surgery Council. Actual LASIK prices will depend on several factors, including:

  • Location and clinic
  • Type of laser used
  • Treating one eye or both eyes

Many clinics will offer a free LASIK consultation, but not all. Be sure to ask before scheduling an appointment to avoid unexpected costs.

Although LASIK eye surgery is not covered by health insurance, the cost has steadily decreased as technology has evolved. One journalist reported in 2000 that LASIK cost, on average, $2,500 per eye. After adjusting for inflation, that would equate to $4,243.55 per eye today.

Is LASIK Eye Surgery Worth the Cost?

LASIK eye surgery can be a significant investment but it is a one-time upfront cost that can result in long-term savings. After a decade, those who successfully undergo laser vision correction may see higher savings than those who opt for contact lenses. Wearing glasses, however, may still be a cheaper long-term alternative to corrective eye surgery.

Correction Method

Annual Cost

Cost After 10 Years

LASIK

$4,200 (one-time cost for both eyes)

$4,200

Daily contacts

$1,000 plus solution, cases and optometrist appointments

$10,000+

Monthly contacts

$600 plus solution, cases and optometrist appointments

$6,000+

Glasses

$200 for one pair plus optometrist appointments

$600+

Source: Vision Associates

Lifestyle and preferences will also play an important factor in determining the worth of laser vision correction. If you lead an active lifestyle — you play sports, go hiking or surfing, for instance — then wearing glasses can be an annoyance. Some people may simply dislike the sensation of wearing glasses or contact lenses. The convenience LASIK eye surgery offers can be worth the cost for many people.

Costs of Other Laser Eye Surgeries

Beyond LASIK, there are other types of corrective eye surgery procedures, including PRK and SMILE. Each type of procedure carries its advantages, level of invasiveness and costs. Many clinics that offer LASIK also offer alternative solutions. When you are at your consultation, discuss the different options available and which is right for your situation.

Eye Procedure

Average Cost (Per Eye)

Photoreactive Keratectomy (PRK) 

$1,750 and $5,000

Small Incision Lenticules Extraction (SMILE)

$2,000 and $4,000

Refractive Lens Exchange

$2,500 to $4,500

What Other Ways Can I Pay for LASIK?

LASIK eye surgery can carry a steep price tag, and you may not have the available funds in your savings account. Fortunately, many LASIK providers are flexible on payment and may allow you to opt into a payment plan, pay with credit card or use some other method.

In-House Financing

Some LASIK clinics offer in-house financing options to help consumers break up the large cost of LASIK into smaller payments completed over time. Some in-house financing plans may even allow you to put zero dollars down.

However, be sure to ask about the interest rate. If the interest rate is high, it may be more cost-effective to put the procedure costs on your credit card.

Credit Card

Paying for LASIK surgery with a credit card can be viable if you have enough available credit. Credit cards may be a more attractive option than in-house financing because you may get cash-back and reward points depending on your credit card. Interest rates may be lower than a payment plan, too. Just be sure to make your payments timely or you may be paying more in interest than necessary.

FSA or HSA Plans

If you have an FSA or HSA plan, then you may use those funds to cover your laser vision correction expenses.

A health savings account plan (HSA) is a type of savings account that lets you accumulate money on a pre-tax basis for qualified medical expenses. HSAs are generally available only if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which is a health plan that covers only preventative services before the deductible.

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a savings account used to pay for qualified out-of-pocket health care costs, which may include LASIK surgery. You do not pay taxes on FSA savings, which can indirectly help you save on LASIK surgery costs.

Looking for Affordable Health Insurance?

Are There Discounts for LASIK Available Through Health Insurance?

Discounts on vision correction procedures ranging from 10% to 15% may be available from your insurance company. Some insurers may offer a flat amount off the cost, such as $1,000 off per eye with select providers.

Company

Cost (per eye)

Discount

Cigna

$695-$1,895

15% off standard prices from LasikPlus

BlueCross BlueShield 

$945 to $1,995

Up to 50% for Blue365 Members

Humana

$1,295-$1,995

10% off standard prices from TLC Laser Eye Centers, LasikPlus or QualSight

Aetna

$1,600

$500 off through LasikPlus, TLC Laser Eye Centers, The LASIK Vision Institute and more

VSP

$1,600

$1,000 off through NVision Eye Centers, The Lasik Vision Institute, LasikPlus, TLC Laser Eye Centers

Blue Shield of California

$1,785

15% from NVISION Laser Eye Centers

Anthem

$1,785

$800 from LasikPlus

UnitedHealthcare

$1,785

15% off standard prices from select providers

EyeMed

$1,785

15% off standard costs from LasikPlus

Note: Costs were provided when disclosed by insurance companies and LASIK clinics. When rates were not disclosed, we calculated discounts based on the national average cost of LASIK surgery ($2,100 per eye).

Discounts on vision correction procedures ranging from 10% to 15% may be available from your insurance company.

FAQs

Does insurance cover LASIK for astigmatism?

No, insurance usually will not cover LASIK eye surgery for astigmatism since it is considered a cosmetic procedure and not medically necessary. However, your insurance company may offer a discount redeemable at certain LASIK clinics to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Does Medicaid cover LASIK eye surgery?

No, Medicaid will not pay for LASIK eye surgery. Laser eye surgery is typically considered a cosmetic procedure and undergoing the procedure will usually be an out-of-pocket cost for the consumer.

Will my insurance cover other eye-related procedures?

Medically necessary eye-related procedures, like surgeries, may be covered by a health plan and under the care of an opthalmologist. Many vision insurance plans also cover various eye-related services and corrective devices, including eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. Vision insurance is not always included in base health insurance plans and you may need to add it at an additional cost or purchase a vision plan separately.

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance typically will not cover the cost of LASIK eye surgery because insurance companies consider it a cosmetic procedure that is not medically necessary.
  • The average cost of LASIK eye surgery is $2,100 per eye and will vary based on location, the type of procedure and whether one or both eyes are treated.
  • In-house financing, credit cards, and HSA or FSA plans can help consumers manage the significant upfront cost of LASIK eye surgery,
  • Although insurance may not cover laser eye surgery, some insurers will offer discounts to help consumers save on costs.

A few health plans include vision coverage for adults. Health insurance is highly individualized, and you need a health plan that serves your coverage needs and budget. SmartFinancial can help match you with the perfect policy based on your answers to a few quick questions. Just enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive your free health insurance quotes.

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