Blue Cross Blue Shield Vision Coverage

In this article...
  • Some Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans over vision coverage and may offer benefits for things such as eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, LASIK surgery and more. Find out how to compare plan benefits and the steps needed to enroll.

Vision coverage is among the many benefits that may be offered by some Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans.

As one of the largest insurance carriers in the U.S., Blue Cross Blue Shield makes vision coverage available to members of group or individual insurance plans, as well as to Medicare beneficiaries and federal employees.

You can compare Medicare Advantage plans online for free. Comparing plans allows you to search for a plan that offers the vision coverage you’re looking for. You can also call a licensed insurance agent who can help you compare plans and, if you’re eligible, enroll in a plan.

What Kind of Vision Care Is Covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield?

A Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan that includes vision benefits can cover things like annual eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, screenings for various eye conditions, cataract surgery and LASIK eye surgery.

Not every BCBS plan is available in every location, and the benefits offered by plans can vary. Some BCBS plans may not offer vision benefits, so be sure to ask an insurance agent to help you explore all of the plan benefits before you enroll.

It’s typical for Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer a couple different plan options to consumers. One plan option may feature a lower monthly premium but with no allowances available for frames or lenses, while another plan option may come with a higher premium but includes allowances for frames, eyeglass lenses and contact lenses.

How Is Vision Care Covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Depending on the BCBS Medicare Advantage plan you have, your plan may include some of the following types of vision coverage:

  • Routine vision exams are often covered in full, with no copayment required, provided that the exam is performed by an in-network eye doctor.

  • Frames are generally offered at a discounted price. Some plans may provide an allowance toward the cost of frames on top of the discounted price.

  • Eyeglass lenses are typically offered for a copayment or coinsurance.

  • Contact lenses may be offered at a discounted rate with or without an added allowance.

  • Sunglasses and non-prescription glasses might be available at a discounted rate.

  • LASIK surgery is often available at a discounted rate.

  • Retinal imaging may be offered at a discount.

What Types of Blue Cross Blue Shield Vision Plans are Available?

Blue Cross Blue Shield operates under dozens of different names according to the state or region where the company does business. For example, you might find plans available from “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona” in the state of Arizona, but plans might be offered by “Florida Blue” in Florida, “CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield” in Maryland and many other names depending on where you live. You may even see names like “Anthem,” Horizon,” “Empire,” “Highmark” and more attached to the Blue Cross Blue Shield name.

With all that in mind, the exact vision plans that are available from Blue Cross Blue Shield will vary by state. However, they can generally be broken down as follows:

Standalone Vision Insurance Plans

Vision insurance is typically not included as part of a traditional health insurance plan. Instead, it’s most often offered as a separate and optional standalone plan for members of individual health insurance plans or group plans sponsored by an employer.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Routine vision insurance is not included in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B). However, vision benefits may often be included in most Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, is an alternative way to receive Original Medicare coverage while also receiving additional benefits that may include things such as coverage for vision, dental, hearing aids, prescription drugs and more.

Federal Employee Program

Blue Cross Blue Shield vision coverage is also available to federal employees, retirees and their families through the company’s Federal Employee Program.

How Much Does Vision Coverage Cost with Blue Cross Blue Shield?

The cost of vision coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield will vary depending on location and plan selection.

As an example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers two vision plan options. One costs $7.13 per month while the other costs $16.36 per month.1 In California, vision plans are available from Blue California for $6.50 or $12 per month.2

Each of the plan options in North Carolina and California feature their own cost requirements for deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, along with offering varying allowances or discounts for certain products and services.

The cost of a Medicare Advantage plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield will also vary according to location. The table below shows some different plan premiums for Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans with vision coverage in three cities using the Medicare.gov plan finder tool

Medicare Vision Coverage
City Plan Monthly Premium
Tampa, FL

BlueMedicare Value

$0

 

BlueMedicare Choice

$47.90

 

BlueMedicare Select

$146.80

Dallas, TX

Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Choice Plus

$0

 

Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Value

$0

 

Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Choice Premier

$62

Cleveland, OH

Anthem MediBlue Prime Select

$0

 

Anthem MediBlue Preferred

$0

 

Anthem MediBlue Essential

$0

 

Anthem MediBlue Access Core

$0

 

Anthem MediBlue Preferred Plus

$19

 

Anthem MediBlue Extra

$25.30

 

Anthem MediBlue Access

$56

 

Anthem MediBlue Access Basic

$83

 

Anthem MediBlue Access Plus

$89

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Blue Cross Blue Shield Vision Coverage?

To enroll in a vision plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, you must live in the area that is serviced by the plan and meet the eligibility requirements for having health insurance in the U.S., which generally consists of being a U.S. citizen or otherwise lawfully present, residing in the U.S. and not being incarcerated.

In order to be eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the area serviced by the plan.

When Can I Enroll in Vision Coverage Through Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Vision coverage can generally be purchased at any time throughout the year. However, some plans may require you to wait until an open enrollment period if they will be added to an existing health insurance plan.

You may only enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during certain times of the year, most notably during your Initial Enrollment Period (when you first become for Medicare) and the Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year).

How Do I Enroll in Blue Cross Blue Shield Vision Coverage?

Speaking with an insurance agent is a great way to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. A licensed agent can help you review all the plan options available in your area, go over the costs and coverage included with each and answer any questions you may have about the plans. You can also compare plans online for free, with no obligation to enroll.

  1. https://www.bluecrossnc.com/sites/default/files/document/attachment/shopper/public/pdf/U20712_blue_2020_brochure_for_individuals.pdf.

  2. https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/bsc/wcm/connect/sites/sites_content_en/ifp_exploration/specialty-vision.

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