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What You Need to Know About Vision Care Benefits Before Medicare Enrollment

medicare-enrollment-vision-care

Do you wear eyeglasses or contacts and need vision care? You’re in good company—up to 75 percent of American adults do, according to various estimates. Here’s what you need to know about vision coverage before you sit down to complete your Medicare enrollment.

Original Medicare includes very limited vision coverage.

Medicare Parts A and B—the Medicare coverage offered through the federal government—offer limited vision coverage that doesn’t include glasses or annual exams. Medicare Part B does include coverage for some services like cataract surgery, eye prostheses, and annual glaucoma screenings if you have high risk. Medicare Part A may cover vision care if you have a major medical issue that requires hospital treatment, such as a traumatic injury or an emergency.

You can get vision benefits through a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans—Part C—include all the coverage offered by Original Medicare and often additional benefits, including vision care. Specific benefits are unique to each plan, and Medicare Advantage Plans are specific to your geographic area. These plans are more likely to cover services like yearly exams, glasses or contacts, and eye drops or medication (prescription drug coverage is also separate from Original Medicare).

Take advantage of one of these Medicare enrollment periods.

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during three Medicare enrollment periods:

  1. Your Initial Enrollment Period—begins three months before your 65th birthday, ends three months after.
  2. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period—October 15 through December 7.
  3. A Special Enrollment Period—triggered by special circumstances like moving, losing coverage, or being eligible for Medicaid.

If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and wish to change plans, you may also have a chance to do that during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 through March 31 each year.

Get Help with Medicare Enrollment and Vision Coverage

You can get help finding the vision coverage you need! Our Medicare Advocates are available to answer your questions and help you find a Medicare Advantage Plan with vision benefits in your area. Just call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 for assistance. Our hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday.

If you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, check out the Medicare Online Enrollment Portal. This online resource makes it easier to find and compare Medicare Advantage Plans from many carriers and provides a convenient Medicare enrollment form. This website also offers adjustable text size for your ease of use.