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Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?
For Patients

Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?

Coverage for LASIK eye surgery varies depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy. While some insurance plans may offer partial or full coverage for LASIK, many consider it an elective procedure and do not cover the cost. Some vision insurance plans, however, may offer discounts or special pricing arrangements for LASIK. 

Read on for more information about when LASIK may be covered by insurance, and why it might not. Keep in mind that this is only a general guide. It is essential to review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider directly to determine the extent of coverage for LASIK, including any restrictions, requirements, or out-of-pocket expenses that may apply.

When is LASIK covered by insurance?

LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) eye surgery is typically not covered by most health insurance plans because it is considered an elective or cosmetic procedure. However, there are certain situations where LASIK may be covered by insurance. The criteria for coverage can vary depending on the insurance provider, policy, and individual circumstances.

  1. Medical Necessity: Insurance companies may cover LASIK if it is deemed medically necessary to correct significant vision problems that impact daily functioning. This includes severe nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism that cannot be adequately corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Documentation from an ophthalmologist or optometrist stating the medical necessity may be required.
  2. Functional Impairment: Insurance coverage may be considered if the visual impairment affects a person's ability to perform essential activities of daily living, such as reading, driving, or working. Extensive documentation and evidence of functional impairment may be required to demonstrate the necessity of LASIK.
  3. Eye Conditions or Injuries: Certain eye conditions or injuries may qualify LASIK for insurance coverage. For example, if a person has corneal abnormalities, irregularities, or scarring that cannot be adequately treated with other methods, LASIK may be deemed medically necessary. Eye trauma or injuries that result in vision impairment may also make LASIK eligible for coverage.
  4. Pre-authorization and Documentation: Insurance companies often require pre-authorization for LASIK procedures. This involves submitting detailed information about the patient's eye health, visual impairment, and medical history. Documentation from the ophthalmologist or optometrist justifying the medical necessity is crucial for approval.

It is important to note that even if LASIK is covered by insurance, there may still be out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles or copays. There may also be certain limitations on the type of procedure or provider allowed. Some insurance plans offer vision benefits or discounts for LASIK through separate vision insurance policies, so it is recommended to review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider directly to understand the coverage, requirements, and potential costs associated with LASIK.

For more about the options available for out-of-network coverage, as well as definitions of the terms involved, check out our Complete Guide to Out-of-Network Reimbursement. 

If you decide to see an out-of-network LASIK surgeon, SuperBill for insurance may be able to help! We file out-of-network claims on your behalf, and we follow up with your insurer to make sure you get the best reimbursement possible.

Do LASIK surgeons take insurance even when they are not part of any network?

Yes, LASIK surgeons may accept insurance even if they are not part of any specific insurance network. When it comes to LASIK, insurance coverage is typically independent of the provider network. This means that even if a LASIK surgeon is not part of a specific network, they may still accept insurance payments as an out-of-network provider.

If you are considering LASIK and have insurance coverage, it is important to understand your insurance policy's out-of-network benefits. Some insurance plans have provisions for out-of-network coverage, which means they will reimburse a certain percentage of the procedure's cost or provide a fixed amount toward the surgery. Before proceeding with LASIK, it is recommended to contact both your insurance provider and the LASIK surgeon's office to confirm their insurance acceptance policies. This will help you understand the coverage, any out-of-pocket expenses, and whether the surgeon's fees align with your insurance benefits.

It is important to note that insurance coverage for LASIK is not common, and most procedures are typically considered elective and not medically necessary. Therefore, even if your insurance covers LASIK, there may be certain criteria or restrictions to meet for approval. Working closely with your insurance provider and the LASIK surgeon's office will provide clarity on the insurance coverage and payment options available to you.

How to find out if LASIK is covered by your insurance

To determine if LASIK is covered by insurance, you can follow these steps:

Review your insurance policy: Carefully read through your health insurance policy or vision insurance policy, if applicable, to understand the coverage details. Look for any information regarding coverage for refractive eye surgery, including LASIK. Pay attention to terms like "vision correction," "refractive surgery," or specific mentions of LASIK.

Contact your insurance provider: Reach out to your insurance company directly to inquire about LASIK coverage. Call the customer service number on your insurance card or visit their website to find the appropriate contact information. Ask specific questions about the coverage criteria, any required documentation, pre-authorization process, and whether there are any limitations or restrictions for LASIK.

Ask for a list of in-network providers: If your insurance plan has a network of providers, ask for a list of in-network ophthalmologists or LASIK surgeons who accept your insurance. While LASIK is typically independent of provider networks, having a list of in-network surgeons can help guide your decision and potentially reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Consult with ophthalmologists or LASIK surgeons: Schedule consultations with ophthalmologists or LASIK surgeons who offer LASIK services. During the consultation, inquire about their experience with insurance coverage, whether they accept your insurance, and if they can assist with verifying coverage and submitting claims.

Obtain pre-authorization: If LASIK is potentially covered by your insurance, work with your surgeon's office to obtain pre-authorization. This involves submitting the necessary documentation, such as medical records, vision tests, and letters of medical necessity, as required by your insurance provider.

Clarify out-of-pocket costs: Even if LASIK is covered by insurance, there may still be out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-pays, or fees for upgraded procedures or technology. Ask your insurance provider and the surgeon's office to provide a breakdown of the expected costs, including any potential payment plans or financing options available.

Remember that insurance coverage for LASIK can vary greatly, so it's crucial to be diligent in researching and communicating with both your insurance provider and the LASIK surgeon's office to obtain accurate and up-to-date information specific to your policy.

What to do if you can’t afford LASIK surgery

If you can't afford LASIK surgery, there are several alternatives and options you can consider:

  1. Research financing options: Many LASIK providers offer financing plans or payment options that allow you to pay for the procedure over time. These plans often come with flexible payment schedules and may have low or no interest rates. Inquire with LASIK clinics about their financing options and determine if they are feasible for your budget.
  2. Look for discounts or promotions: Keep an eye out for special discounts or promotions offered by LASIK providers. Some clinics may run limited-time offers or provide discounts for specific groups, such as military personnel or first responders. Research local LASIK providers and check their websites or contact them directly to inquire about any available discounts.
  3. Consider vision insurance: If you have vision insurance, review your policy to determine if it offers any coverage or discounts for LASIK. While coverage for LASIK is typically limited, some vision insurance plans may provide partial reimbursement or discounted rates for affiliated LASIK providers.
  4. Explore other vision correction options: LASIK is just one type of vision correction surgery. There are alternative procedures such as PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and implantable contact lenses (ICL) that may be more affordable or have different financing options. Consult with an ophthalmologist to discuss which procedure is suitable for your specific vision needs and financial situation.
  5. Save and budget: If LASIK surgery is a priority for you, consider creating a savings plan specifically for the procedure. Allocate a portion of your income towards saving for LASIK over time. Additionally, explore ways to cut expenses in other areas of your life to accelerate your savings.
  6. Seek charitable organizations: Some charitable organizations offer assistance or grants for individuals who require vision correction procedures but cannot afford them. Research organizations in your area or nationally that may provide financial aid for LASIK or other eye surgeries.

Remember that while LASIK can provide long-term vision correction benefits, it is essential to carefully weigh the financial considerations and explore all available options before committing to the procedure. Consulting with ophthalmologists, researching financing options, and considering alternative procedures can help you find a solution that aligns with your budget and vision needs.

Where does SuperDial come in?

If your practice is spending hours on the phone with insurers, navigating tedious questions like these, you're wasting your time! SuperDial's state-of-the-art tech automates phone calls to insurers, freeing your staff up to do what they do best: provide quality care.

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About the Author

Harrison Caruthers

Harrison is a software developer in the Bay Area. Before SuperBill, he worked as an engineer for Amazon in Madrid. While in Spain, Harrison developed an appreciation for both Mediterranean cooking and simplified healthcare systems. He returned to the Bay to co-found SuperBill with fellow Stanford grad Sam Schwager after mounting frustrations with US insurance networks.