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Is Lasik Surgery Covered By Medicare

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Eye Surgery In The Public And Private Systems

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What does Medicare cover you for? What isn’t covered?
  • Costs of treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
  • Partial costs of being treated as a private patient in a public hospital
  • Essential eye procedures required for the patient to maintain their sight
  • Corrective surgery
  • Unessential elective or optional procedures done for cosmetic purposes
  • Procedures carried out to prevent a patient from needing to wear glasses or contact lenses
Health insurance policy type
  • Treatments undertaken as a private patient in a private hospital.
  • Treatments undertaken at private ophthalmology surgery centres.
  • Costs associated with eye surgery such as anaesthesia and operating theatre fees.
  • Extras Cover
  • Additional treatments such as eye therapy.
  • Subsidies for glasses and contact lenses.

Eye Care Benefits Most Plans Cover

UHC plans often offer comprehensive coverage for traditional vision expenses. For example, UHC employer plans offer covered vision benefits, such as:

  • Eye exams.
  • Scratch-resistant coating on eyeglass lenses.
  • Contact lenses.

With a benefit like this, people could walk into an associated vision provider and go through a comprehensive examination. At the end of this examination, people would understand how well they can see right now and how much lens correction is required in order to deliver crisp vision at all distances.

In Kansas between 2011 and 2012, people with UHC coverage could obtain an exam, a pair of eyeglass lenses, or a set of contact lenses once every 12 months for a $25 copay. This information comes from a benefits summary created by UHC for the Kansas Board of Regents. A table like this is typically provided to people when they enroll in care. It spells out exactly what is covered and what is not.

These benefits typically apply only to work done by providers within the UHC network. According to UHC, that network includes both retail and private practice locations, which seems to give members quite a few treatment options to choose from.

Its important to note, however, that these covered benefits do not seem to apply to LASIK. In available documents online about coverage UHC offers to people who want LASIK, there are no mentions of covered surgery. The company chooses to deal with this issue in a very different way.

Lasik Cost With Insurance

Each vision insurance plan may provide slightly different benefits. Here is an overview of what they offer:


Offers the Laser VisionCare Program, which is included in most VSP plans.

This program provides 15 to 20 percent off standard prices or 5 percent off promotional LASIK pricing. Under this plan, members will not pay more than $1,800 per eye for conventional LASIK or $2,300 per eye for custom LASIK. Enhancements or touch-ups are included at no additional cost.


EyeMed provides 15 percent off standard LASIK pricing or 5 percent off promotional pricing.

They also offer $800 off a custom LASIK treatment, but you cannot combine this with other discounts. You get free lifetime enhancements on most LASIK procedures. EyeMed members can access these LASIK benefits through the U.S. Laser Network, which partners with over 600 LASIK surgeons across the nation.

Davis Vision

Davis Vision partners with QualSight to offer members up to 40 to 50 percent off traditional LASIK procedures, as compared to average national pricing.

They also offer significant discounts on custom or bladeless LASIK procedures. According to Davis Vision, their members pay under $1,000 per eye for traditional LASIK and $1,400 per eye for custom LASIK. QualSight has an extensive network of about 1,000 LASIK surgeons to choose from.


MESVision partners with QualSight to provide LASIK benefits.


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Does Illinois Medicaid Cover Lasik Eye Surgery

Considering federal and Illinois state assistance for surgery begs the next questions: Does Medicaid cover LASIK? Does Medicare cover LASIK surgery? The answer is often no. Neither covers elective eye surgery unless it can be certified as medically necessary. Because surgery is elective, it is difficult to establish necessity. If proven, you will want to find a practice that accepts Medicare and or Medicaid. It would be beneficial to speak with your Medicare and Medicaid provider beforehand to get a better understanding if LASIK surgery would be covered.

Are Retreatments Or Complications From Lasik Covered

LASIK Surgery: Does Medicare Cover It?

Most doctors will provide surgical follow-ups free of charge within the first year of your LASIK operation. But expect to be billed for other complications at your doctors discretion. Its always best to ask about follow-up care and common complications with the surgeon before the procedure. And get the understanding in writing to protect yourself.

Keep in mind that you may need a retreatment in five or ten years thats not at all uncommon.

Once your eyes have recovered from LASIK, the large majority of patients should be able to rest easy and enjoy clearer vision. However, as with any medical procedure, there is the chance of complications. For example, you may experience dry eyes, and that can become chronic.

In addition, , theres a small chance of a traumatic eye injury, including scarring of the cornea. Should this occur, your follow-up care will most likely be covered by vision insurance.

In general, LASIK surgery improves the lives of many patients, though they probably have to pay for the convenience of not having to wear contacts or glasses out of their own pocket. If you are considering the procedure, do your homework, find a reputable doctor and check with your insurance to see if you luckily have some level of coverage.

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Finding A Medicare Advantage Plan With Lasik Coverage

In order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

You then must identify the Medicare Advantage plans that are available where you live, as you may only enroll in a plan that services your area. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by many of the same insurance companies you may already be familiar with, like Humana, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and more.

Finally, you must find a Medicare Advantage plan that includes LASIK coverage, as not every plan will provide this benefit. Even if a plan includes vision coverage, it may not necessarily cover a LASIK surgery.

There are only certain times of the year in which you may enroll in a Medicare plan. If you are a Medicare beneficiary wanting LASIK eye surgery, talk to a licensed insurance agent about your Medicare Advantage plan options and when you can enroll. With the right insurance coverage, you can see a brighter future for your eyes.

Christian Worstell Author Bio

Christian Worstell is a Senior Staff Writer for He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to healthcare and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

Does Medicare Pay For Any Eye Surgeries

Though Medicare doesnt cover LASIK, it does cover some medically necessary eye care, including:

  • Cataract surgery if ordered by a doctor
  • Eyeglasses or contacts if youve had cataract surgery
  • An annual vision exam if you have diabetes
  • A annual vision exam if you are at high risk of glaucoma
  • Certain diagnostic testing and treatment for serious eye conditions

Note: Medicare does not cover routine eye exams, eyeglasses or contact lenses that fall outside of the situations listed above.

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Understanding What Lasik Is

For people with nearsightedness, farsightedness or an astigmatism, LASIK eye surgery can restore 20-20 vision with no glasses or contact lenses necessary.

During a LASIK procedure, the cornea is reshaped with a laser. Farsightedness is corrected by flattening the cornea. Nearsightedness is corrected by steepening the cornea’s curve. And for an astigmatism, the laser is used to smooth any irregularities.

The procedure generally takes 15 minutes to perform. But while it’s a relatively quick operation, LASIK does come with costs that can be significant for many. And without coverage under Medicare, patients may be responsible for paying these costs out of pocket.

What Insurance Covers Lasik

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There are several vision health plans offering insurance coverage for laser vision correction. This is not a comprehensive list as benefits and plans vary from state to state. It is always important to shop around and check with multiple insurance providers before purchasing your vision insurance.

Some participating vision insurance policies include:

  • Vision Service Plan
  • MESVision
  • Spectera

Most of these insurance plans require you to see a surgeon in-network, as they have contracts with specific LASIK clinics. Or, they may offer special offers if you go in-network.

A benefit of choosing a surgeon in-network is that the eye doctor is approved by the insurance to provide LASIK to its members, which may give you some peace of mind.

Questions about LASIK? to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.

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Does Medicare Cover Lasik

Medicare covers the surgery only when a doctor declares it medically necessary. If a person could use corrective glasses or contact lenses instead of having LASIK surgery, it would mean their sight and health do not rely on the LASIK procedure and it would not be deemed medically necessary.

In addition, original Medicare does not cover routine eye care, although coverage may be available for medically necessary eye exams or surgery related to another medical condition. For example, Medicare may cover certain eye care services related to diabetes, glucose, or if a doctor states a person needs cataract surgery.

Does Medicare Cover Laser Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are unfortunately a very common part of getting older. In fact, over half of Americans will develop cataracts, or need cataract surgery by the time theyre 80.

When they first form, you probably wont even notice them. However, over time, they will start to affect your vision. It may get to the point where they affect your daily activities. If you dont treat cataracts, they can lead to vision loss. So its better to do something about them sooner rather than later.

The treatment for getting rid of cataracts is surgery. While sometimes a surgeon will use surgical tools for this surgery, using lasers is another option.

So a common question many people have is, Does Medicare cover Laser Cataract Surgery? In this article, we answer this question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of laser cataract surgery, as well as other helpful info.

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Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes In Your Area

Insurance plans usually don’t cover Lasik or corrective eye surgery because it’s a voluntary procedure. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price.

Your insurance company may offer discounts on Lasik as a policyholder perk. This is more common with vision insurance than with health insurance, but either option can save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you can use a flexible spending account or health savings account account for even more savings on Lasik surgery.

We recommend Cigna health insurance plans for the best benefits for Lasik eye surgery.

The cost of Lasik eye surgery averages $2,250 per eye when paying full price. Costs vary based on where you get the procedure and whether the procedure is traditional or custom.

Questions To Ask Before You Have Laser Eye Surgery

Does Medicare cover cataract surgery?

To help ensure you understand a little more about what you can expect from your surgery, both for treatment and costs, its a good idea to ask as many questions as you can. Some of these include:

  • what are the risks involved in the treatment
  • how much will the treatment cost me
  • how long will it take for me to recover
  • will I experience any side effects? If so, what
  • will I need to wear glasses or contacts after my surgery
  • will I need to rely on medication long-term after the surgery
  • can I go about my usual day-to-day activities after surgery
  • what cant I do after the surgery and
  • whats not included in the quote youve provided me?

Do you have an extras policy? Check with your insurer before booking your appointment to see if theyll provide any cover towards laser eye surgery.

If your extras policy doesnt include cover for laser surgery, you might want to find one that does at a price thats kind to your budget. Try comparing extras policies through our free comparison tool where, in minutes, you can compare policy cover and premiums from some of Australias top insurers.

Note: Background information about laser eye surgery is based on information from Queensland Laser Vision, Vision Eye Institute, New Vision Clinics, George St Eye Centre, and Sydney Eye Institute. Information accessed January 2020.

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Does Medicare Advantage Cover Cataract Surgery

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, offers you a way to receive your Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. Because of this, the plans tend to vary a lot throughout the country, both in price and in coverage. However, many Part C plans will cover cataract surgery. As some plans may cover more than Original Medicare, it is worthwhile to research each in detail if you already have a Part C plan.

Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams

If you want to run into your local vision center for a simple exam to get glasses, Medicare wont cover. Youll be 100% responsible for the cost of your prescription eyewear, as well as your routine exam.

If youre in the market for preventive screenings and tests to check for glaucoma or macular degeneration, youre in luck. Medicare will cover preventive screenings to help keep the health of your eyes in check. Not only will Medicare cover the exams for macular degeneration, but theyll include any doctor visits to treat the disease.

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Will Medicare Cover Treatment For Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve, potentially resulting in vision loss. Medicare Part B will cover annual glaucoma screenings for those considered high-risk, including diabetics and older Americans with a family history of the disease. African Americans aged 50 and older, and Hispanic individuals aged 65 and over are also considered high-risk. Youll still be responsible for your Part B deductible and 20 percent of the cost of your exam.

Glaucoma treatment is generally covered under Medicare. Outpatient laser surgery falls under Part B, and eye drops to address the condition fall under Medicare Part D. Your out-of-pocket costs associated with your drops will depend on your Part D plans formulary.

Because Medicare Advantage is required to provide the same level of coverage as original Medicare, it does pay for glaucoma screenings and treatment. Medigap, meanwhile, can cover some or all of the costs associated with your glaucoma screening and treatment under Medicare by picking up the tab for your deductibles and coinsurance.

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How To Get Insurance To Pay For Lasik

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Its not impossible for insurance to pay for LASIK surgery. If the procedure can be proven to be medically necessary rather than elective, your vision insurance provider may help cover the cost.

For this to happen, youll first need to speak with your particular insurance carrier and find out what falls under their criteria for medically necessary. You should then speak with your eye doctor and see if you meet any of the criteria listed by your insurance provider.

Many times, if you visit an eye doctor within your insurance network, theyre already familiar with the requirements. For instance, if you have insurance through EyeMed and visit an EyeMed-approved doctor, the doctor will likely be knowledgeable about what EyeMed will and wont cover. Its also common for insurance carriers to offer discounts for using certain in-network surgeons for the procedure.

Individuals who are unable to claim LASIK as a medically necessary procedure can still utilize their flexible spending account or health savings account to help with some or all expenses. FSAs and HSAs are tax-exempt accounts that allow you to save up and pay for medical needs and procedures.

LASIK qualifies as a covered procedure for FSA and HSA, so if youre looking for a way to cushion the blow of the full cost of surgery, dipping into these accounts can definitely help.

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How Much Is Covered

The amount of surgery covered by your health fund depends on your policy. Only a select few funds cover the full cost, and this is dependent on the charge by the doctor not exceeding the limit.

All policies have a limit of some sort. A few health funds have a lifetime limit, while others have per-person and annual limits.

Chances are, only a portion of your surgery is going to be covered by your health fund.

Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery

  • 80% of the cost of cataract surgery is covered under Part B.
  • Coverage is the same whether or not laser technology is used.
  • Most Medicare Advantage plans will cover cataract surgery.

Simply put, Medicare does cover cataract surgery. However, there are multiple types of cataract surgery, and Medicare only covers one very specific set of procedures.

  • Lens implants
  • One set of eyeglasses or contact lenses

Most cataract surgery isnt any more complex than the items included above, but there are a few special circumstances where your surgery may not be fully covered. We will discuss these special circumstances in more detail later on. Its important to emphasize that Medicare will cover one set of eyeglasses or contact lenses after your surgery, even though Medicare does not usually offer this coverage.

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