Around 2 million members of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans will soon be some of the most fashionable seniors around.
UnitedHealthcare announced that some of its Medicare Advantage plans will begin covering the cost of eyeglasses made by designer Warby Parker.
Warby Parker is a New York-based retailer whose high-end frames have adorned the faces of numerous celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Ryan Gosling. Supermodel Karlie Kloss even has her own line of Warby Parker frames.
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Now, thanks to Warby Parker’s partnership with UnitedHealthcare, ordinary Americans can look the part of a fashion-centric celebrity. And best of all, they can do it without having to pay a small fortune.
Under the new coverage terms, a $375 pair of prescription glasses from Warby Parker can cost less than $50 under one of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans.
UnitedHealthcare expects around two million of its beneficiaries will have access to the coverage, and the glasses can be purchased online or at more than 80 store locations nationwide.
Warby Parker products were previously available to some UnitedHealthcare customers through vision plans, but this is the first time Warby Parker will be accepting Medicare insurance as payment.
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are an alternative way to receive Original Medicare benefits (Medicare Part A and Part B), and around one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Many Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits that are not covered Original Medicare, such as vision care and the cost of glasses.
In addition to vision coverage, some of the additional benefits offered by some Medicare Advantage plans include things like prescription drug coverage and coverage for dental and hearing care.
In 2019, the list of additional Medicare benefits that can potentially be offered by a Medicare Advantage plan includes a number of home health services and items such as meal delivery, caregiving, transportation to doctor’s appointments, and things like bathroom grab bars and air conditioners for people with asthma.
Warby Parker has locations in 30 states around the U.S. Some Warby Parker locations offer eye exams.
Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program has outfitted over five million people all over the globe with a pair of glasses when they may otherwise not have been able to afford it.
In 2015, Warby Parker launched the Pupils Project. This program provides free vision screenings, eye exams and eyeglasses to schoolchildren.
Warby Parker also has a Home Try-On program, where customers may select five different frames to keep for five days to test. Simply select five frames, and Warby Parker will ship them to you free of charge.
Spend the next five days trying them out and then send them back when you’re done. Warby Parker will then send you a brand new pair of the frames that you choose.
The information included above is intended for education purposes and is not a recommendation or an endorsement for Warby Parker.
While Original Medicare does not cover most routine vision care, Medicare Part B may help pay for one pair of eyeglasses with standard frames or one set of contact lenses if you’ve had cataract surgery to implant an intraocular lens.
If you qualify for the above coverage, you will typically pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the corrective lenses after you meet your annual Medicare Part B deductible ($185 per year in 2019).
Medicare will only pay for corrective lenses from a supplier who is enrolled in Medicare, and you will be responsible for any additional costs for upgraded frames.
Medicare Part B may also provide coverage for three types of eye exams:
For all three types of tests, the Part B deductible applies and you will typically be responsible for 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for each test.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a Medicare Advantage plan that provides coverage for routine vision care and offers allowances for things like prescription contact lenses and glasses.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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