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Do UnitedHealthcare Medicare Plans Cover Routine Vision Services?

Victoria Burke by Victoria Burke | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 11/07/2016

Whether you’re enrolled in Medicare, or about to be eligible, you may have questions about Medicare vision coverage. UnitedHealthcare (UHC) is one of the private insurance companies contracted with Medicare to provide benefits under the Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) program. UHC may have plan options available in your area that include benefits for routine vision care. Here’s what you need to know about UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans.

What Medicare vision coverage is available under Original Medicare?

The Medicare Advantage program was created by Congress in 2003 to offer beneficiaries an alternative way to get their Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits, according to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. When you enroll in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan, you get not only your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits (except for hospice care, which is still covered under Part A) – but many UHC plans carry additional benefits, such as routine vision care, prescription drug coverage, and more, depending on the plan you select.

Under Original Medicare, Medicare vision coverage is limited to medically necessary expenses involved in the treatment of injuries and diseases of the eyes. For example, Medicare Part B may cover eye exams to screen for glaucoma if you’re at high risk for the disease, or diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes. Part B may also cover artificial eyes when medically necessary and obtained from a Medicare-approved supplier.

Medicare generally covers medically necessary cataract surgery, as well as one pair of corrective lenses (contact lenses or eyeglasses) after the surgery.

In most cases, however, Original Medicare doesn’t cover routine vision care services such as:

  • Annual eye examinations and screening tests for glaucoma (if you’re not considered at high risk)
  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription eyewear

What Medicare vision coverage is available under UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans?

If you enroll in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to get Medicare coverage for routine vision care in one of two ways:

  1. Some UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for routine vision care as part of their overall plan benefits.
  2. You may be able to add an optional supplemental rider to your UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan to cover routine vision care; an extra monthly premium may be required.

It’s important to remember that no matter which plan you choose for your Medicare vision coverage, you must continue to pay your Part B premium each month. In addition, some plans may require an additional monthly premium to UnitedHealthcare, as well. Plan coverage details, availability, and premiums may vary depending on the plan you choose and where you live. Find out more about Medicare Advantage plans and when you can enroll.

Is routine vision coverage included in all UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans?

Not all UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans may be available in all locations, and plan benefits, including routine vision care, may vary among plans. If coverage for routine vision care is important to you, be sure to check plan benefits carefully as you compare plans available in your area.

Some UHC Medicare Advantage plans may require you to see certain health-care providers in order to use your benefits, or may offer you lower out-of-pocket costs if you choose network providers.

You may also have copayments, coinsurance amounts, and deductibles with your plan, and there may be an annual limit on vision care benefits each plan year.

Remember, you can compare plans local to your area anytime – just enter your zip code and click Find Plans on this page. You’re also welcome to call us and speak with a licensed insurance agent contracted to represent UnitedHealthcare. Just call 1-844-847-2659, TTY users 711; Monday through Friday, 8AM to 8PM ET. Find out more about UnitedHealthcare.

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Victoria Burke |
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Licensed Insurance Agent since 2011
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