How Much Does Lasik Cost

Traditionally, insurance companies considered LASIK eye surgery an elective surgery. This means it’s not a medical necessity.

How Much Does LASIK Eye Surgery Cost?

money sign on surface of eye

How much does LASIK surgery cost in 2021?

In 2021, the average cost of LASIK eye surgery in the United States is about $2,246 per eye, according to a Market Scope report of last year’s data prepared for All About Vision.

Costs are gathered from ophthalmologists who routinely perform LASIK surgery and other vision correction procedures, such as PRK, SMILE and refractive lens exchange.

The actual price you pay for LASIK will depend on many factors, including the experience and reputation of your surgeon and the type of technology used during your procedure.

LASIK costs can vary based on technology

Most refractive surgeons in the U.S. (more than 71% in 2019) charge one price for all vision correction procedures performed with an excimer laser to reshape the cornea of the eye.

In other words, additional technology — such as the use of a femtosecond laser to create the flap in the cornea for bladeless LASIK — is included in a single fee and not priced separately as an “extra.”

How Much Does Lasik Cost

Other LASIK surgeons, however, base their prices on the specific technology used during the procedure. For example, they may charge more for all-laser LASIK or custom LASIK that employs wavefront technology for a more customized procedure.

A small percentage of surgeons base their laser surgery prices on the strength of your eye prescription. With this kind of pricing, patients with stronger prescriptions will pay more than those with weaker prescriptions.

Are cheap LASIK prices really a good value?

You may have seen advertisements promising LASIK eye surgery for less than $1,000 per eye, which sounds like a great value.

But bargain-basement prices can come with catches:

  • The advertised price is only for the correction of mildnearsightedness. If you have farsightedness, astigmatism or moderate to high amounts of nearsightedness, LASIK costs can end up being much higher than the advertised price.
  • The offer price doesn’t cover all fees. For instance, you may have a limited number of follow-up visits or, if there’s a problem after surgery, additional care could cost extra. Also, the cost of follow-up surgeries probably isn’t included — and you may even be charged extra for your initial consultation.
  • Your procedure may be performed with older technology. Newer technologies can offer a more precise LASIK procedure with less risk of complications. For example, at $499 per eye, you probably won’t receive custom or bladeless (all-laser) LASIK. Instead, the surgeon will likely use a tiny blade to create the flap on your cornea.
  • Your surgeon might have less experience. A surgeon who’s only been performing LASIK surgeries for a couple years will generally charge less than one who’s been doing it for 10 or 20 years.

If you’re considering low-cost LASIK, make sure you get a written quote that itemizes everything in the offer. Read the fine print, and ask to see any and all potential fees upfront, before signing off on the procedure.

LASIK eye surgery: step-by-step

How to reduce LASIK surgery costs

You may be able to make the cost of LASIK more affordable. Some eye care practices offer special pricing and incentives for LASIK and other vision surgeries.

For example, according to a 2019 survey of refractive surgeons in the U.S., about 29% of them offered some form of special pricing. Of these surgeons:

  • 88% offered no-interest financing
  • 65% had limited-time offers
  • 41% offered special group pricing
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There are finance companies that offer fixed rates and long-term payment plans for elective procedures like LASIK. Many LASIK surgery centers and private medical practices offer financing plans through these companies.

Since this kind of laser eye surgery is an elective procedure, most medical and vision insurance plans will not cover LASIK. However, some employers arrange for special discounts for their employees at designated surgery centers.

Some large employers also offer subsidized health plans that partially cover LASIK costs. Ask your employer about possible benefits that might cover these corrective eye surgery procedures.

An FSA or HSA can help you pay for LASIK

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are often used to pay for laser eye surgery.

An FSA allows you to transfer pre-tax income from your paycheck into an account for out-of-pocket health care expenses.

In 2021, the maximum annual employee contribution to an FSA is $2,750. With the average cost of LASIK surgery settling around $2,250 per eye, it’s likely you will need more than your FSA to pay for the procedure.

Another option is to contribute tax-free dollars to a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help pay for LASIK surgery. To be eligible for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) at work.

You can add contributions to your HSA every pay period, up to a 2021 annual limit of $3,600 for individual coverage and $7,200 for family coverage. And, unlike an FSA, any unspent money in your HSA at the end of the year “rolls over” so you can use it the following year or further into the future.

Depending on your budget, you may be able to save enough money to pay for the entire cost of your LASIK surgery by contributing money to your HSA over a period of two or more years.

If you serve in the U.S. military, certain corrective vision surgery options may be available to you free of charge, including LASIK. Your eligibility would depend at least partly on the nature of your duties.

A final note: Try to avoid choosing a surgeon based only on how much they charge. It’s almost always better to choose the best surgeon you can find and, if you need it, sign up for the most affordable financing.

Page published on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Does Insurance Cover LASIK?

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Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

In this article

Traditionally, insurance companies considered LASIK eye surgery an elective surgery. This means it’s not a medical necessity.

Health insurance companies typically don’t cover most elective procedures. However, these policies are starting to change, and some vision insurances now offer discounts on LASIK.

Thinking about LASIK? Start a conversation with an experienced Patient Counselor to find out if laser eye surgery is right for you. Learn More

Does Insurance Cover LASIK?

Some larger vision insurance companies offer laser vision correction benefits. These benefits include:

  • Discounts on laser vision correction procedures with specific providers
  • Frame benefits for non-prescription sunglasses after vision correction surgery

UnitedHealthcare vision insurance offers its members 35% off LASIK at over 900 locations.

LASIK Cost Without Insurance

LASIK cost can vary depending on several factors. This includes the surgeon’s experience level and facility fees, to name a few.

The average LASIK cost in the U.S. is around $4,500 for both eyes.

While your health insurance likely won’t pay for the procedure, they may cover certain prescription medications, such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Steroid eye drops
  • Prescriptions needed before or after the procedure

LASIK Surgeon Using Laser

Questions about LASIK? Call NVISION to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.

Is LASIK Ever Considered Medically Necessary?

There are some special circumstances when LASIK surgery can be qualified as medically necessary. Special cases in which health insurance may cover the cost of surgery include:

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Traumatic Eye Injuries

Some traumatic injuries require surgery to save an eye’s vision. If this occurs, and LASIK is the only option, a doctor can certify it as medically necessary.

Vision Problems Caused by LASIK

Another example is if an initial LASIK surgery for cosmetic reasons created a vision problem. If a physician confirms that LASIK surgery is the only remedy, it will be deemed medically necessary and covered by insurance.

What Insurance Covers LASIK?

There are several vision health plans offering insurance coverage for laser vision correction. This is not a comprehensive list as benefits and plans vary from state to state.

It’s important to compare multiple insurance providers before purchasing a vision plan.

Participating vision insurance policies include:

  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
  • EyeMed
  • Davis Vision
  • MESVision
  • Spectera

Most of these insurance plans require seeing an in-network surgeon. This is because they have contracts with specific LASIK clinics. Or, they may offer special offers if you stay in-network.

NVISION Eye Centers offer custom LASIK, affordable pricing plans, and a lifetime guarantee. Learn More

LASIK Cost With Insurance

Each vision insurance plan may provide slightly different benefits. Remember that your primary health insurance may contract with some of these vision plans to offer coverage.

If you already have health insurance, you can contact the company to see if they provide vision coverage.

Here is an overview of what different insurance plans offer:

VSP

VSP Vision Care provides 15 to 20 percent off standard prices or 5 percent off promotional LASIK pricing.

Under this plan, members will not pay more than $1,800 per eye for conventional LASIK or $2,300 per eye for custom LASIK. Enhancements or touch-ups are included at no additional cost.

EyeMed

EyeMed provides 15 percent off standard LASIK pricing or 5 percent off promotional pricing.

They also offer $800 off a custom LASIK treatment, but you cannot combine this with other discounts. You get free lifetime enhancements on most LASIK procedures.

EyeMed members can access these LASIK benefits through the U.S. Laser Network, which partners with over 600 LASIK surgeons nationwide.

Davis Vision

Davis Vision partners with QualSight to offer members up to 40 to 50 percent off traditional LASIK procedures compared to national pricing.

They also offer significant discounts on custom or bladeless LASIK procedures.

According to Davis Vision, their members pay less than $1,000 per eye for traditional LASIK. They pay about $1,400 per eye for custom LASIK. QualSight has an extensive network of about 1,000 LASIK surgeons to choose from.

MESVision

MESVision partners with QualSight to provide LASIK benefits.

The discounts are similar to Davis Vision’s offerings. MESVision also works with LASIKPlus, which is another LASIK provider network. LASIKPlus offers $800 off or up to 20 percent off certain LASIK procedures.

Spectera

Spectera vision insurance is offered through United Health Care. They also partner with QualSight to provide their LASIK discounts. You may receive 40 to 50 percent off traditional LASIK surgery.

Can I Use My FSA or HSA for LASIK?

A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) can help cover elective procedures like LASIK.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

An FSA allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. You can open an FSA through your employer if they offer that option. You can use your FSA to pay for vision correction surgery, though it might not cover the full procedure.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA)

If you are self-employed, you cannot set up an FSA. However, you can set up an HSA, pre-tax savings accounts for medical expenses. You can use your HSA to pay for LASIK, eye exams, and other eye care procedures.

Summary

  • Health insurance companies typically don’t cover LASIK because they consider it an elective procedure
  • LASIK may be medically necessary if it treats a medical condition, such as an injury
  • Several vision insurance plans offer coverage for laser vision correction (the specific requirements and details vary based on the insurance provider)
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) can help cover the out-of-pocket costs of LASIK

In this article

Surgeon performing LASIK Procedure

Still not sure about LASIK? Talk with an experienced Patient Counselor at NVISION to find out if it’s right for you.

Updated on February 3, 2023

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