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Chances are, sooner or later, you’re going to need eyeglasses.
The stats say 75% of people need vision correction at some point in their lives. And the older you get, the higher the likelihood you’ll need glasses, at least some of the time.
Eyesight is getting worse too thanks to the amount of time we spend in front of screens. A study a few years ago found that half of the world’s population will need glasses by 2050.
While some people prefer contact lenses, glasses are still very popular. Especially with seniors who may have more trouble working with contacts.
So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover eyeglasses?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of glasses and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Eyeglasses?
The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of eyeglasses. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your eyeglasses.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for eyeglasses. So that means you will have to pay 100 percent for your glasses. Original Medicare does not cover any type of routine vision care, which includes purchasing glasses.
However, in some cases, Medicare may cover your eyeglasses. The main situation in which Medicare will pick up at least some of the cost for glasses is if you have cataract surgery. In that case, Medicare Part B provides coverage for your eyeglasses if the cataract surgery includes an intraocular lens implant.
Medicare Part B only provides coverage for a standard frame with your corrective eyeglasses. If you want more stylish frames, you can get them, but Medicare will not cover that cost.
Also, for Medicare to cover frames, you must buy them from a Medicare-enrolled supplier.
Medicare Part B only covers one pair of corrective eyeglasses per lifetime. However, that applies to each eye you get cataract surgery on. So if you get cataract surgery on one eye, Medicare will cover the costs for glasses afterwards. Then, if at some point in the future, you have cataract surgery on the other eye, Medicare will pay for another pair of glasses.
If Medicare Part B approves coverage for your glasses, they will pay for 80 percent of the costs of your corrective glasses. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Medicare Advantage Plan Coverage for Eyeglasses
However, some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide coverage for eyeglasses. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers as well as offer some additional benefits. This often includes vision plans.
However, coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan.
How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost?
In the US, the average cost of eyeglasses is around $200. But it really depends on the type of glasses you get and where you get them from.
You can find glasses online for under $100. But you have to be wary of the old saying “you get what you pay for.” Higher end glasses and frames can easily cost $500 or more.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover blood tests?