LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses. It’s a fancy name for laser refractive surgery, a procedure used to improve eyesight and replace the need for wearing corrective lenses.
A special laser changes the shape of the eye’s cornea to improve vision during the LASIK surgical procedure. Eyes that have normal vision have corneas that refract light properly to the back of the eye. People who are nearsighted, farsighted, or who have astigmatism have corneas that bend light incorrectly, making vision blurry.
For those with these vision abnormalities, wearing corrective lenses corrects the problem, but a LASIK procedure reshapes the cornea which corrects the vision permanently.
If you’ve been wearing corrective lenses for a long time and wonder whether LASIK surgery is an option for you, your eye doctor can give you the details and help you decide. But do you have coverage for this procedure with Medicare insurance?
Does Original Medicare cover LASIK surgery?
Original Medicare Parts A and B only cover medically necessary procedures. Because LASIK surgery is an elective procedure, it’s typically not included in Original Medicare coverage.
In general, Original Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover routine vision care such as:
- Refraction or vision exams
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Surgical procedures to correct eyesight
On the other hand, for those who are eligible, Original Medicare does cover medically necessary vision care services and treatment for eye disease such as:
- Cataract surgery plus eyeglasses or contact lenses necessary after this type of procedure.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
Do Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans cover LASIK surgery?
Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance providers that are approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While MA plans are required to cover all the benefits provided by Original Medicare Parts A and B, they have the option to also include extra benefits.
Today, many Medicare Part C plans include additional benefits for routine hearing, dental, and vision care. Although LASIK surgery might not be considered routine vision care, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover a portion or all of the costs of this procedure.
Because these benefits are optional, each Medicare Advantage plan varies in its coverage. If you are considering LASIK surgery, you should ensure that your plan offers coverage before you make any appointments.
You should also ask your Part C provider if you are required to use health care providers, eye doctors, and medical facilities that are within the plan’s network. Depending on your plan, you may not have coverage if you use providers outside the network.
How much does LASIK surgery cost without insurance coverage?
If you don’t have insurance coverage for LASIK surgery and you would like to go ahead anyway, you should ask your eye doctor about the cost. How much you pay per eye depends on different factors such as:
- Your location
- The eye doctor who does the procedure
- The type of technology used
- What additional services or procedures you need
Today in the United States, the national average cost of LASIK surgery is approximately $4,200.00 for both eyes.