Affordable Care Act

Do you REALLY Need Vision Insurance?


When completing insurance enrollment forms it’s easy to wonder whether you really need some of the benefit choices, such as vision insurance. Can you get by without it?

Many people may consider deferring the purchase of a vision plan for adult family members in order to save money on monthly premium expenses. With the Affordable Care Act’s requirement of pediatric Essential Health Benefits (which includes vision) for all children under age 19, health professionals are concerned parents will purchase vision coverage for their children, but not for themselves. However, by doing so parents may face an increased risk of developing serious health concerns and incurring significant bills for medical services.

Consider the following statistics, which underscore the benefits of vision insurance and the importance of regular eye exams:

  • Early detection of eye diseases – During regular eye exams, eye professionals can detect eye diseases and potential serious health concerns at an early stage, which is important for prevention or successful treatment
    • More than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older are affected by cataracts
    • Glaucoma affects more than 2.7 million Americans age 40 and older
    • More than 2 million people age 50 and older have advanced forms of age-related macular degeneration, which may lead to severe vision impairment if left untreated
    • Diabetic retinopathy affects nearly 7.7 million Americans age 40 and older
  • Clear vision – More than one-third of people age 40 or older struggle to see clearly, even when wearing prescription eyeglasses; 25 percent of employees say they need to take breaks while working due to tired or irritated eyes; vision issues can impact employee productivity
    • At least 182 million Americans use some form of vision correction
    • 49.7 million Americans have more than one pair of prescription eyeglasses
    • 28 million Americans wear over-the-counter reading glasses
  • Vision changes – Nine out of 10 employees recognize that vision benefits will become more important as they age, and they want plans that will provide the latest in vision technology

(Sources: Transitional Optical, Employee Benefit News, Vision Council of America, American Academy of Ophthalmology)

To learn more about vision health, review the information provided by the National Eye Institute. And turn to Ameritas for the latest updates on vision benefits under the ACA.