No. Medicare doesn’t cover eyeglasses, contact lenses or eye exams to determine your prescriptions. However, you’ll find one exception: Medicare provides limited coverage for glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery.
When does Medicare cover glasses and contacts?
Medicare Part B will pay for one set of corrective glasses or contacts if you have cataract surgery that implants an intraocular lens, the clear plastic artificial lens that doctors put in place when removing your cloudy natural lens.
After you’ve met your annual Part B deductible, which is $226 in 2023, you’ll pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for corrective lenses after your cataract surgery. In this case, Medicare will cover only one set of contacts or pair of glasses with standard frames.
Upgraded frames may mean extra costs out of pocket for you. And you must purchase the glasses from an enrolled Medicare supplier.
Does Medicare Advantage cover glasses and contacts?
If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan rather than original Medicare, you’ll discover that most plans offer some vision coverage for eye exams, glasses and contacts. Most forego the copayment for glasses and contacts too.
All vision coverage — including eye exams, glasses and contacts — within Medicare Advantage plans usually has an annual dollar limit, which averaged $160 in 2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. These plans also have limits on how often you can get a new pair of glasses. About half cover one pair a year. Others cover a pair every two years.
To check out plans with vision coverage in your area, go to Medicare’s Plan Finder and type in your zip code. In the Plan Type drop-down menu, click ◯ Medicare Advantage Plan and hit the Apply button to register your choice.
You then may be asked to choose your county if your zip code spans more than one county. When you click Start, you can identify if you receive financial aid and see an option to compare drug costs among plans. This doesn’t include vision costs.