How to save on prescription eyeglasses

Published 12:29pm Friday, September 28, 2012

Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips or resources can you recommend to help seniors with the high cost of prescription eyeglasses? I used to have vision insurance through my work, but lost it when I retired.
~ Need New Specs
Dear Specs,
There’s no doubt that new eyeglasses can be expensive. You can easily spend $200 for a basic pair, and if you spring for add-ons like anti-glare lenses or designer frames the price can double. If you’re like most retirees, and are paying full out-of-pocket prices every time you get a new pair of glasses, here are a few strategies that can help you save.
Consider insurance
Depending on the amount of vision care you use in a year, one way to cut your overall costs could be to buy a standalone vision insurance policy, or a discount plan which could save you 20 to 60 percent at participating retailers. Most insurance policies run around $120 to $190 a year for individuals, while discount plans cost between $95 and $155 per year and usually provide discounts on both vision and dental, and sometimes prescription drugs. You can find both plan types at
Or, if you’re a current or soon-to-be Medicare beneficiary, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. These are government approved, private health plans (usually HMOs and PPOs) sold by insurance companies that you can choose in place of original Medicare – which does not cover eyeglasses (unless you’ve just had cataract surgery) or routine eye exams. Many Advantage plans offer vision care, in addition to their health care coverage. See to research this option.  

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