If you’re one of the lucky ones with 20/20 vision, you may want to consider skipping the vision insurance and saving some cash. Your general practitioner will perform basic eye tests during your annual physical, which will likely catch any problems with your eyes. And if he does catch something, any kind of non-elective eye surgery should be covered by your regular medical insurance.
But if you do wear glasses or contacts, you’ll want to consider a stand-alone vision plan. How come? Your medical insurance won’t cover glasses or contacts. Most eye exams run about $60-$100 per visit, so factor in the costs of an annual exam, plus prescription lenses and compare the total cost to the deductible and premiums on the vision plan to see if it’s worth it.
When it comes to your teeth, dental care is seen as a must, so you’ll probably want to spring for the insurance to cover all preventive care (usually cleanings, x-rays, etc.), as well as fillings and other less-pleasant affairs. Think about it: Do you need another excuse to skip the dentist? Still, the average American spends about $200 every year on dental-related costs, while many premiums and deductibles can run much higher than that (we’re talking $500 and up), so it’s important to pick the right type of coverage and use a dentist within your network.
Look at your dental records to see how much you typically spend on dental expenses in a given year, and compare that number to the potential plan’s maximum annual benefits, which are usually around $1,000 to $1,5000. Believe it or not, that might not be enough to cover all your expenses if you have a few cavities, chip a tooth or need the dreaded root canal. Another thing to consider: Waiting periods. Look into how long you’ll have to wait before your insurance will pay for that root canal—in some cases, it can be months or even a full year.
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