Receiving LASIK is an investment in the health of your eyes with long-lasting results, and finances don’t have to be a barrier to the desired treatment. The average price for laser-based vision correction in 2013 was $2,073 per eye. Fortunately, with medical financing and pretax savings plans, there are multiple payment options to ensure that you can afford to move forward with the life-changing procedure.
1. Check your insurance coverage
A majority of vision and health and insurance providers consider LASIK an elective procedure. Therefore, it is not eligible for insurance coverage. However, many health and vision insurance companies contract with premium, respected LASIK providers to offer discounted rates to plan members. If you vision or health insurance plan doesn’t offer a discount with the provider you choose, the practice may offer a similar discount.
Consider also participating in a health savings account (HSA) as a tax-free option to help pay for a LASIK procedure. The tax savings serve as additional savings, because the contributions are not subject to payroll taxes. Also, pretax income is used to help pay for health expenses not covered by a health plan. If you qualify for an HSA and are enrolled in a high deductible health plan, funds from the HSA could be used to pay for qualified medical expenses, such as LASIK, without federal tax liability. Some employers even contribute to the plan, making it an even better option. If you choose a premium LASIK provider and use HSA funds to pay for the procedure, the provider manages the paperwork and other insurance logistics. All you have to do is give the provider your HSA debit card once, and the rest is taken care of. Additionally, HSA funds roll over from year to year — allowing you time to save enough to cover the cost of the entire LASIK procedure.
2. Turn to Uncle Sam.
Depending on your filing status, the cost of a LASIK procedure could be considered a tax-deductible medical expense. The deduction is based on how much you make before taxes and how much you spend on medical costs, including LASIK. Consult with a professional to determine if you qualify. Also consider that if you receive a tax refund, it could fully or partially fund LASIK costs.
3. Finance the procedure.
Options exist to reduce the upfront costs of LASIK by splitting them into affordable monthly payments. Premium LASIK providers will work with a health care financing company to provide financing options for their patients. Select LASIK practices offer “in-house” financing through their practice should a patient not be approved for financing through the traditional health care financing institution. A good LASIK provider will work with you to find the best option.
Companies that provide LASIK financing offer a range of plans often spanning a few months to as long as five years, some without incurring extra costs. Interest rates vary based upon your credit rating and the financing company used, and sometimes a deposit is required. If you think there’s a chance you’ll pay off the loan in advance at some point, ensure there are no prepayment penalties.
By exploring the best way to finance LASIK and factoring in the potential long-term savings on glasses and contacts, you may find it to be a sound investment.