As we age, our eyesight seems to get worse and worse.
Whether it’s nearsightedness or farsightedness, sooner or later pretty much all of us need glasses or contact lenses to clearly see the world around us.
Due to their nature, glasses, as well as contact lenses, may seem like they meet Medicare’s criteria for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). And a DME is something that Medicare Part B covers. But is that the case for glasses?
In this article, we take a look at the question, “Does Medicare cover Glasses?” Below we answer this question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of glasses and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Glasses?
The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of glasses. That said, there may be some situations where Medicare will pick up the tab. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get coverage for your glasses.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for glasses. That means you will have to pay 100 percent of the cost for your glasses or contacts. Original Medicare does not cover routine vision care. And this includes purchasing glasses.
Glasses After Cataract Surgery
However, Medicare may provide coverage for the purchase of glasses if you get cataract surgery. Medicare Part B pays for corrective glasses if your cataract surgery includes an intraocular lens implant. Coverage for glasses in this case is provided by Medicare Part B.
For Medicare Part B to provide coverage, the corrective eyeglasses must have a standard frame and they must be purchased from a Medicare-enrolled supplier.
You do have the choice to upgrade your frames. You will have to pay for the additional costs of the upgrade.
If you break or lose your corrective eyeglasses, Medicare Part B will not pay for a replacement. Medicare Part B only covers one pair of corrective eyeglasses per lifetime – per eye that requires cataract surgery.
What this means is you can potentially get Medicare to pay for 2 pairs of glasses over your lifetime. If you get cataract surgery on one of your eyes, Medicare Part B will cover your corrective eyeglasses. Then, if you get cataract surgery on the other eye later on in life, Medicare will pay for another pair of glasses.
Once approved by Medicare Part B, they will pay for 80 percent of the costs of your corrective glasses. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Medicare Advantage Coverage for Glasses
However, some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide coverage for glasses. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers as well as some additional benefits. However, your coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan.
How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost?
According to statistics from VSP (Vision Service Plan) vision care, the average cost of eyeglasses is $351. The frame usually costs $242 and basic single lenses cost $113.
Other Organizations That Can Help In Paying For Your Eyeglasses
Since Original Medicare only covers eyeglasses if you undergo cataract surgery, other organizations can help in paying for your eyeglasses if you ever need help. Some of those organizations are:
- EyeCare America
- Lenscrafters Foundation: OneSight
- New Eyes for the Needy
- Lion’s Club International
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 cancer treatment?