The BlueCross BlueShield federal employee program (FEP) is made for current federal employees, retirees, and retired uniformed service members enrolled in a TRICARE health plan. Dependents of retired uniformed service members are eligible too.

FEP BlueVision is the eye care component of the plan. Costs are reasonable, as even families can get coverage for less than $50 per month. (Learn more)

Sign up for this plan, and you'll have coverage for:

You won't have coverage for LASIK, but there are two ways to sign up for discounts. (Learn more)

To make the most of your benefits, you'll need to work with providers that have agreements with BlueCross BlueShield. Many doctors participate in this program. (Learn more)

Understand the Cost

Health insurance blocks

As a current federal employee, you have a solid paycheck and plenty of health insurance options. But lawmakers wanted to give retirees and some service members the same kind of coverage. The BlueCross BlueShield FEP program was born of that desire, and vision coverage is an option you can select.

When you enroll in the BlueCross BlueShield FEP program, you won't automatically have vision coverage. You'll have to select it by enrolling in the BlueVision program.

BlueCross BlueShield reports that premiums are deducted either biweekly or monthly. There are two versions of coverage, and the one with more expansive benefits also has a higher price tag.

In 2020, costs are as follows:

  • Standard Option, self: $3.50 biweekly or $7.58 monthly
  • Standard Option, self plus one: $6.99 biweekly or $15.15 monthly
  • Standard Option, family: $10.49 biweekly or $22.73 monthly
  • High Option, self: $5.49 biweekly or $11.90 monthly
  • High Option, self plus one: $10.97 biweekly or $23.77 monthly
  • High Option, family: $16.46 biweekly or $35.66 monthly

How Often Can You See a Doctor?

Routine eye exams may help your doctor spot vision problems when they are small and easier to treat. Care like this also helps you build trust with a doctor, and that can be vital if you have an urgent eye care issue.

No matter what BlueVision program you choose, per 2020 benefits, you'll have a covered eye exam every year, and you won't have to make a copayment.

Coverage for Glasses

If you wear glasses, you know that costs can add up. Frames, lenses, and lens treatments can all come with large price tags. BlueVision helps to cover those costs.

Per 2020 benefits, you have coverage for:

  • Lenses. You'll get a new pair every year, with no copayment required.
  • Frames. If you choose the High Option, you'll have a yearly $150 frame allowance and a 20 percent discount on charges more than $150 with select providers. If you choose the standard option, you'll get a $150 frame allowance every two years, with a 20 percent discount on fees more than $130.
  • Lens treatments. Transitions, anti-reflection treatments, and progressives are covered with no or low cost to the consumer.

Coverage for Contact Lenses

contact solution

You'll need to choose between glasses and contacts in a BlueVision plan, as your coverage is available for one item and not the other.

Per 2020 benefits, members that chose the:

  • High Option, spend up to $150 per calendar year on lenses and take 15 percent off charges higher than $150. Your evaluation, fitting, and follow-up visit are included for non-specialty lenses. If you choose specialty lenses, those costs are covered up to $60.
  • Standard Option, spend up to $130 per calendar year toward contact lenses. Evaluation, fitting, and follow-up visit are included, and take a 15 percent discount on charges higher than $130.

LASIK Discounts Available

Many insurance companies consider LASIK a cosmetic procedure rather than a medical necessity. That allows them to exclude this surgery from their benefits packages.

BlueVision is no different. LASIK is not a covered benefit, but the company offers discounts that can make it affordable.

With your BlueVision membership, you can take 50 percent off LASIK fees. You'll need to use the provider specified by BlueCross to take advantage, but do so, and you could save a great deal of money.

BlueCross BlueShield also offers discount programs to people who enroll in their plans. A discount released in 2019 provides $800 or more in savings on the procedure, and the specified clinic isn't the same as the one covered by your BlueVision membership.

If you have a specific provider you'd like to use for LASIK, and it's not the same as the one dictated by BlueVision, watch the Blue 365 deals section of the BlueCross BlueShield website. You just might find the deal you've been hoping for.

How to Use Your Coverage

We've discussed LASIK and discounts. By now, you're aware of how to schedule a surgery and save money. But what should you do when you need routine care?

Enrollment in BlueVision means tapping into a very large network of providers. As of 2020, the company says, more than 91,000 eye health experts are part of the plan.

When you call to make an appointment, tell your provider that you have BlueVision health coverage, and ensure that your doctor is both in the network and willing to accept payments from BlueCross BlueShield. That's all you must do to ensure that you're using your coverage in the right way.

 

References

FEP BlueVision. BlueCross BlueShield.

FEP BlueVision Premiums. BlueCross BlueShield.

2020 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Vision Coverage. BlueCross BlueShield.

Over $800 Off LASIK. BlueCross BlueShield.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP) Expands Benefits and Services in 2020. (October 2019). PR Newswire.