LASIK is a surgery that may help to correct vision issues associated with certain problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. While LASIK can seem expensive, it often eliminates the ongoing cost of prescription contact lenses or glasses.
Check with your health insurance company to see if they offer any coverage for LASIK.
Next, determine if you can use other payment options, such as an HSA or an FSA. You’ll need to follow certain steps in order to use these accounts to pay for LASIK.
What Is an HSA?
An HSA is a health savings account. This is a savings account that is tax exempt when combined with a high-deductible health plan. People can use this account to pay for certain types of medical expenses. When someone withdraws funds for qualified expenses or deposits funds, they are not taxed.
To use this type of account with a health insurance plan, you have to ensure that your health insurance plan is HSA compatible. Just because a plan is a high-deductible plan does not mean that it is automatically qualified to be used with an HSA. Whether a plan qualifies is up to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
It is possible for the IRS to change the requirements over time. Because of this, check once or twice a year to make sure that your high-deductible plan remains qualified for use with an HSA.
What Is an FSA?
An FSA is a flexible savings account. If you have health insurance through your employer, you can use an FSA for deductibles, medications, copayments, and certain other health care costs. This type of account may also help you to reduce your taxes.
When you have an FSA, you put money into it to cover some of your out-of-pocket health care costs. The IRS does not require you to pay taxes on this money.
Some employers may also contribute to their employees’ FSAs, but they are not required to contribute. Your employer’s human resources department will have more information on this for you.
FSAs set forth the guidelines for what people can use the money for. There are also guidelines regarding annual limits. Again, you can learn more about your specific FSA by asking your employer for the details.
Average Cost of LASIK
In the U.S. in 2017, LASIK cost an average of $2,088 per eye. If you are getting LASIK on both eyes, the average cost would be $4,176.
Several factors come into play regarding the cost of LASIK. For example, the technology the surgeon uses and the experience of the surgeon play a role in the total cost.
There are also usually other fees involved in addition to the cost of the surgery. For example, people will need to plan for presurgical testing, the initial consultation, and follow-up visits. If a complication occurs, this too could result in additional costs.
Location also affects the cost of LASIK. It’s just more expensive in certain areas of the country.
Consult with a few LASIK surgeons in your area. Research their experience, the LASIK technology options they offer, and what factors into their total costs. You can then see which surgeon offers what you need, both from a treatment perspective and a financial standpoint.
Does Health Insurance Cover LASIK?
Most vision and health insurance policies do not cover LASIK. This is because it is generally viewed as an elective or cosmetic procedure. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
In some cases, people in the military may get LASIK covered by their insurance if they have the right occupation. For example, if your military occupation is highly reliant on good eyesight without glasses, you may be able to get your insurance to cover it. Other exceptions may include working in sports or entertainment or having a job where poor vision could impact safety, such as law enforcement.
If you meet these exceptions, there are still no guarantees that your insurance will agree to cover the cost of LASIK. You are generally asked to fill out paperwork and wait for a decision from your insurance company. There is also usually a waiting period that is determined by the insurance company.
If LASIK surgery could improve your eye health, you may also be able to get the surgery costs covered by your insurance. For example, if you are intolerant to contact lenses, or have severe allergies or dry eye, this may qualify you to have your LASIK surgery covered by your insurance company.
Using an HSA or FSA to Pay for LASIK
In most cases, if you want to have LASIK surgery, you will need to pay for it without help from your insurance company. If you have an FSA or HSA, you may be able to use these accounts to cover the cost of LASIK. This can reduce how much money you need to spend out of pocket.
Both HSAs and FSAs can be used to cover all or part of your LASIK surgery costs. With an FSA, you may not be able to finance all of your LASIK costs. This is especially true for people who plan to have a LASIK surgery technique that uses the most advanced technologies.
If the company you work for allows you a grace period, you can use your current FSA funds and any FSA funds that were left over from the prior year. The grace period is typically about 2.5 months. Now, whatever costs remain after using these funds become your responsibility. You will have to pay the remainder out of pocket before the procedure or discuss a payment plan with the surgeon or facility.
There is not a time limit for funds in your HSA. You can contribute the maximum to your HSA each year until you have enough money saved to cover all of the costs associated with your LASIK surgery.
If your employer offers an FSA program and you have an HSA, you can use the funds in the two accounts together to fund your LASIK surgery. This may help to further offset the costs more than if you only had one account or the other.
Do Your Research
Before using either of these accounts to cover the costs of LASIK surgery, it is important to understand all of the related limitations and other guidelines. This makes it easier for you to see exactly how much money you have available to pay for your LASIK surgery.
With this information, you can make plans for how to cover any remaining costs. Once this is in order, all you have to do is schedule your appointment.
Health Savings Account (HSA) Information. Medical Mutual.
Using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
LASIK Eye Surgery Cost. All About Vision.
How to Use Your FDA and HSA for LASIK Surgery: 2019 Update. American Refractive Surgery Council.