As much as we’d like to blame small print and lighting, our eyes don’t work quite as well the older we get. Even if your eyes are fine for most activities, reading can pose a problem for many of us as we age.
This is why many people look to get reading glasses to help bring words into sharper focus. You don’t need a prescription from an optometrist for reading glasses. You can get them at many retail and health stores.
If you need to get a pair, you may wonder, does Medicare cover reading glasses?
In this article, we answer the question in clear, plain English. You will also find reading glasses’ average costs and other helpful information.
Does Medicare Cover Reading Glasses?
The short answer is mostly no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of reading glasses. Although reading glasses do not necessarily treat eye conditions, they provide a quality of life change.
With this in mind, 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 reading glasses.
Original Medicare Coverage of Reading Glasses
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for reading glasses. That means you will have to pay 100 percent for your reading glasses.
This plan does not cover routine vision care, which includes purchasing reading glasses.
Are there any cases where Medicare Covers Glasses?
Yes, Original Medicare may provide coverage for your prescription glasses in some cases. For example, if you undergo cataract surgery, they will likely cover a large portion of the costs of your glasses.
Are Glasses Covered by Part A or Part B of Original Medicare?
Coverage for glasses is provided by Medicare Part B. Part B provides coverage for your glasses if the cataract surgery includes an intraocular lens implant.
Note that you are required to purchase your glasses from a Medicare-enrolled supplier for Medicare Part B to cover your costs.
More on Medicare Part B Coverage of Glasses
This plan only covers one pair of glasses per lifetime for each eye that underwent cataract surgery. So that means if you underwent cataract surgery for one of your eyes, Medicare Part B would cover the costs of your glasses.
If you have undergone cataract surgery for your other eye later in your life, Medicare Part B will also provide coverage for one more pair of glasses.
Once Medicare Part B approves coverage, they will pay for 80 percent of the costs of your glasses. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Medicare Advantage Coverage of Reading Glasses
Some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide coverage for glasses, though we don’t know of any that cover reading glasses.
Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers but offer some additional benefits as well. Your coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the plan you have.
What is the Cost of Reading Glasses?
Reading glasses can range from $10-$1,000. What accounts for this significant range in price? A couple of factors. First, if your lens’ focal power is +1 to +4, you’ll likely be able to find a pair at a drugstore. These are the cheapest option and range from $10-$30.
On the other hand, if you buy designer frames or need prescription lenses, this can put you in the higher pricing range.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage. Always 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 Periodontal Disease?