Does Medicare Cover Vision And Eye Care?

Original Medicare And Vision Coverage


Original Medicare Parts A and B do not cover vision care, except in certain circumstances. For example, Part B partially covers eye exams if you’re at higher risk for eye complications such as glaucoma. Medicare also covers some medically necessary eye surgeries, such as cataract removal. But it will not cover routine eye exams, glasses, or contacts.


Fortunately, you have options when it comes to vision insurance. Private insurance companies like Anthem offer eye care coverage, either included with Medicare Advantage plans or as separate packages. You can buy dental and vision packages to complement Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, or Part D (prescription drug) plans.

Vision Costs And Coverage Options


Eye care costs can add up quickly if you’re paying for everything out-of-pocket. Here are some average costs* for routine eye care.

  • Eye exam average cost: $200

  • Glasses average cost: $150 to $400

  • Yearly supply of contacts: $150 to $400

These costs can also vary quite a bit depending on the type of frames or contacts you buy. So, it’s easy to see why vision coverage that helps pay for your exams and eyewear can save you money.


Vision Coverage with Medicare Advantage plans


Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are bundled plans that usually include dental, vision, and hearing coverage, plus some other services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. This can include fitness memberships, prescription drug coverage, and more. 


Medicare Advantage plans that include vision care typically cover a yearly exam and an allowance for eyewear. There are also options to increase vision coverage within those plans.


Vision Coverage with Medicare Supplement plans 


Medicare Supplement plans offer extra coverage for what Original Medicare does not cover, such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. Most Medicare Supplement plans do not include dental and vision care, but you can purchase a plan that offers combined dental and vision coverage. Availability varies depending on where you live.


Anthem Extras is a separate dental and vision package you can add to an Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, or Part D plan. Our Standard package covers eye exams and includes an allowance for eyeglass frames or contact lenses. The packages vary in price depending on whether you pick a Standard, Premium, or Premium Plus option.


Low-cost and free vision coverage


Low-cost and free eye clinics such as EyeCare America offer complimentary or sliding-scale vision services. Vision USA also gives free eye exams to qualifying people.


Colleges and universities often offer free or low-cost services from supervised students.


Eye Care Is Crucial For Older Adults 


Whatever you do, it is important to have regular eye exams that include retinal scans, pupil dilation, and glaucoma screenings. These are painless but important screenings. Eye exams can also reveal early symptoms and warning signs of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The earlier you spot an issue, the easier it is to treat.


Many age-related eyesight issues are easily addressed at the optometrist. For example, reading glasses or blue-blocking glasses can do wonders for decreasing eye strain. 


As we grow older, our ability to distinguish shapes, colors, and contrasts can make driving harder, especially at night. It also becomes more difficult to adjust from low light to bright light and vice versa. Glasses or contacts can compensate for some of these issues, and a healthy diet, exercise, and regular eye exams can help keep your vision sharp for many years to come.


Find vision coverage that fits your needs.

*Source: Blue View Vision. (2021). Average Vision Retail Cost Medicare Book of Business (Jan-Oct 2021) [Claims Data].

Other Articles From "Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans Guide"

Original Medicare: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).


Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a D-SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield depends on contract renewal.


For Medicare Supplement only: Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.