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How Much Does it Cost to Provide My Employees Vision Insurance?

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Organizations looking to attract the best talent understand that they need to provide a comprehensive benefits package. Medical insurance is the obvious place to begin, but most employees are looking for more than that from an employer. Offering vision insurance is another way to strengthen your position as an employer that values its employees, making top talent want to come work for you.

A vision policy typically covers annual eye exams. In addition, it may provide discounts or reimbursement for glasses or contact lenses on either a yearly or every other year basis. Rarely are services such as LASIK surgery covered, but some plans may offer discounts on these types of procedures. Coverage varies according to provider and the plan you choose.

The cost to the company also varies according to your plan and provider, as well as by the number of employees you have. Compare offerings carefully, and don't be afraid to negotiate.

Benefits of Vision Insurance

The main purpose of vision insurance is to help people save on the cost of their eye care. High costs of prescription eyewear and routine eye exams are a real concern for most people with average incomes. Vision insurance helps your employees defray some of these costs.

Vision insurance is also a value-added benefit associated with indemnity health insurance. As part of a well-rounded benefits package, vision coverage helps you both attract and retain the best employees. Companies experience reduced turnover, leading to incredible savings as it typically takes 18 months before an employee becomes a financial asset to your organization.

Points to Consider when Looking for a Vision Insurance Plan

  • What benefits does the plan include? At a minimum, vision insurance should offer preventive and routine eye care services. Ideally, they also offer significant discounts on eyeglasses and contact lenses. Plans may also offer access to ophthalmologists and optometrists, eyewear stores, LASIK surgeons, and optical laboratories.
  • What is the type of vision plan? Plans may offer discounted services or a full benefits package. Discount plans should provide eyewear and eye care at discounted rates after payment of annual membership fees or the insured's premium. A vision benefits package should provide free eyewear and eye care services within fixed amounts, such as up to $150 for frames. Look carefully at the different packages available to determine which is best for your employees.
  • What is the routine checkup schedule? How often are employees allowed to receive routine eye exams? What procedures does this include, and what treatments are offered?

Sample Costs of a Vision Insurance Plan

A variety of factors determine the cost of vision insurance, including:

  • The overall design of the program, the features it includes, and the services it provides.
  • Location where the services are needed. If the location is hard to reach the cost of the insurance can be higher.
  • The type of eye care needed; smaller problems, such as refraction errors and spectacles are cheap. However, larger problems, such as cataract surgeries cost much more.
  • The number of employees. It obviously costs more to cover more employees. However, you also receive reduced rates for more employees (the power of buying in bulk).

So, what does a typical insurance package include? A typical vision benefits package may include:

  • An annual membership fee of about $180 for singles.
  • An annual membership of $430 for families (this also includes a one-time enrollment fee of $10).
  • Routine eye examination covered in full after a $20 co-payment.
  • Contact lenses are provided in most vision benefits packages instead of glasses. In this case, a person will be required to pay $130 allowance, which will cover contact lens exam costs, lenses, and fitting. Other costs for purchasing eyeglass lenses and frames can also be included in this package, although their rates vary widely. Some of these services exclude cosmetic glasses.

Now for the cost of the vision insurance package. As mentioned previously, there are a number of factors influencing the ultimate price. However, here are some rough estimates of the cost:

  • A typical vision insurance package costs a small business between $5 and $10 per month, per employee.
  • More comprehensive packages, such as those that cover LASIK procedures, increase your monthly cost to $15 to $20 per month, per employee.

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