Ways to Get Vision Coverage During Retirement

You may or may not already have some form of vision correction, be it glasses or contacts. As one ages, the need for them often increases, sometimes drastically. In fact, over 91% of people age 55 and older needed some form of visual correction. Going without them can make simple tasks—like driving or cooking—dangerous or just frustrating.

Medicare does not typically cover the costs associated with impaired vision. To put this into perspective, the average cost of eyeglasses is $196, with prices sometimes reaching $600 and higher depending on the type of glasses, prescription, and frames.

So, then, what are your options to prevent paying so much out of pocket?

Medicare Advantage

Costs and services vary from plan to plan, but generally, Medicare Advantage plans provide a yearly eye exam, eyeglass frames and lenses or contacts.

If you have an Advantage plan, check your policy to see what your benefits are. If you are covered by a Medicare supplement plan, you can only switch to a Medicare Advantage plan during the annual enrollment period which happens in November.

Vision Insurance

If you can afford it, vision insurance is a great option to help cover optometry needs. A typical co-pay is around $10 – $15 a visit.

One of the most popular is VSP Vision Care that covers glasses, contacts, and Lasiks, depending on the plan. Of course, there are many more vision insurances out there. Contact your Personal Benefits Manager to discuss insurance options and find the right option for you.

Take Advantage of Vision Discounts

EyeCare America

EyeCare America is a fantastic resource for low-income individuals over 65 who meet the eligibility requirements. The program connects individuals over 65 with local volunteer ophthalmologists who provide a yearly eye exam often with no out-of-pocket exam, along with a one-year follow-up for any conditions diagnosed during the initial exam. In addition, the program provides glaucoma eye exams to those who are eligible and uninsured.


AARP has paired with LensCrafters to offer member discounts for more savings than in-store customers. Discounts include: 30% off one complete frame and lenses set; 40% off
transitions lenses and 30% off the frame; 15% off lenses or frame only purchases; and 10% off
conventional, disposable and premium contact lenses.

In addition, AARP members will have a $55 co-pay for an eye exam and a $50 co-pay for AARP United Health Members.

Discount Stores 

Shopping at a discount store for your eyewear needs could potentially save you a lot of money. A few good discount stores are For Eyes Optical, BJ’s Optical, Sam’s Club, and Walmart.

In addition, many retail stores offer discounts to AARP and AAA members, such as Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, JCPenney Optical and thousands of other private optometrist offices. Don’t be afraid to comparison shop in these places.

Shop Online 

It’s no secret that shopping only can give you some seriously good deals. Glasses is no different. You can often get a pair of glasses for as little as $7 plus shipping. To buy glasses online, you, of course, need a prescription from a doctor’s office.

Some good sites to browse include: 39DollarGlasses.com, ZenniOptical.com, Googles4u.com, and EyeBuyDirect.com. For more high-end styles, WarbyParker.com is a good resource, where prices start at just $95.

Your vision has a direct impact on your quality of life. Don’t take it for granted. There are resources to help ensure the health of your eyes. If you have any questions, contact one of our personal benefit consultants for more information.

To your health and wealth,

Wiley P. Long, III
President – MediGap Advisors