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Does Medicare cover glasses and contact lenses?

No. Medicare doesn’t cover eyeglasses, contact lenses or eye exams to determine your prescriptions with 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 $240 in 2024, 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 out-of-pocket costs for you. And you must purchase the glasses from an enrolled Medicare supplier.

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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. In fact, in 2024, 99 percent of Medicare Advantage plans include some coverage for eye exams and glasses, according to KFF.

All vision coverage — including eye exams, glasses and contacts — within Medicare Advantage plans usually has an annual dollar limit. In a 2021 study, the most recent available, KFF notes the annual limit averaged $160. 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.

Use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool to check out Medicare Advantage plans with vision coverage in your area. Key in your ZIP code, select Medicare Advantage and answer a few questions. You’ll see a list of all Medicare Advantage plans in your area, with a green check mark noting ✓ Vision in the Plan Benefits list. You can narrow the list by clicking on Filter by: Plan Benefits, checking the box beside ☐ Vision coverage and clicking Apply.

For more information about each plan’s vision coverage, click Plan Details and either scroll down to Extra Benefits or click on the tab with that name. Under Vision, you’ll see whether the plan has a copay for routine eye exams, glasses, contacts and other covered services and what limits might apply.

Go to a plan’s website or contact the plan directly for more information. Some plans require using an in-network provider and getting prior authorization for some vision services.

Can I get other coverage for glasses and contacts?

Yes, you have other options that can help with vision costs.

If you’re eligible for Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides health insurance for people with low incomes, you may have some coverage for glasses. The rules vary by state. Some states and territories cover one pair of glasses every two years, some every five years, and others pay for glasses only if you have cataract surgery. A few Medicaid programs won’t cover glasses for adults. Contact your state Medicaid program to learn more.

Some retiree health plans have coverage for glasses and contacts. Check your plan’s website or call your benefits administrator for details. If you’re still working, your employer may offer vision insurance too.


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Veterans benefits. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will cover the cost of glasses if you have a service-connected disability and are receiving VA disability payments or if you were awarded a Purple Heart or meet other service-related criteria.

If you’re receiving VA care for an illness or injury that is causing vision problems, such as cataract surgery, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke or traumatic brain injury, you may be able to get coverage for glasses. To find out more, contact a VA health facility near you. The VA is a separate health care system from Medicare. See AARP’s Veterans Health Benefits Navigator for more information about veterans benefits.

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Vision insurance or discount programs. With a private vision insurance policy, expect to pay annual premiums, have a copayment for eye exams, glasses or contacts, and an annual vision coverage maximum. With a discount program, you pay a monthly fee for discounted eye exams, glasses and contacts within a network of doctors and vision centers.

AARP members have access to vision insurance from VSP and discounts at national optical chains through EyeMed.

A few Medigap companies let you add an optional package of extra benefits that cover some in-network vision, dental and hearing exams and one pair of glasses or contacts each year, up to an annual limit.

Keep in mind

Money from a health savings account (HSA) that you contributed to before you enrolled in Medicare can be used tax-free for glasses and contact lenses.

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