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Should You Buy Vision Insurance?

How to weigh the cost vs. benefits of an eye-care plan

5.  Vision benefits packages can give you peace of mind in knowing that if the costs of your eye care soar beyond your expectations, you’re still covered. Just remember: You’ll be paying a fixed amount in premiums whether you use the plan’s full value of services or not.

6.  When considering either type of plan, try to calculate what it would cost you to pay the entire bill yourself. Then compare that with the plans’ cost of premiums plus the out-of-pocket costs you’d have to cover.

7.  Other factors to keep in mind for either type of plan is whether it covers services by a favorite optometrist and whether the locations for services in general are convenient. To avoid unpleasant shocks, you should also find out what’s not included in a plan before signing up.

8.  If you don’t have a vision plan, some eye doctors will make financial arrangements if you’re facing financial hardship.

9.  Americans who take part in vision insurance plans are twice as likely to schedule an eye exam as those who don’t, according to the National Association of Vision Care Plans. That can be crucial for your health in general. “A very thorough eye exam will catch eye disease and discover health issues you may not have known you have, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, even brain tumors,” says Burt Dubow, an optometrist at Insight Eye Care in St. Cloud, Minn.

Also of interest: The best foods for eye health. »

Tamara E. Holmes is a Maryland-based journalist who writes about health, wealth and careers.

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