January 16, 2020

Is Laser Eye Surgery Covered by Insurance?

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Read the full NZ Herald article here

If you wear glasses or contacts, you’re probably aware of laser eye surgery and the potential difference it could make in your life. Imagine spending less than an hour in the clinic and correcting your vision for life! Of course, most people know the procedure carries a reasonable price tag, with it being a highly specialised technical procedure in high demand. Even though the cost of laser vision correction is less in the long-run than many other treatment options, we understand that the price can be a lot to pay at once.


A lot of people who want to get this procedure done wonder if their medical insurance will cover it, or consider it to be a non-essential service. Read on to find the answer to this questions, and related questions regarding the cost of the procedure, payment plans, and getting it done for cheap overseas.

Will insurance pay for laser eye surgery?

Health insurance pays for a wide range of conditions, and the specifics are different from provider to provider, and policy to policy. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, no health insurance providers in New Zealand covered laser eye surgery in any of their policies. Of course, this may change, or circumstances could change this in your particular case. For the final word, you’ll have to ask your health insurance provider directly. 


The general reason behind this policy decision is that laser eye surgery is considered elective. Many health insurance policies cover eye exams and the cost of glasses or contact lenses to correct poor vision. These are cheaper than laser eye surgery, and insurance providers consider this to be sufficient treatment for conditions like short-sightedness and astigmatism.

How much does the procedure cost?

The average cost for laser eye surgery in New Zealand varies by city, and can also change if you have specific conditions such as astigmatism. Laser eye surgery in Auckland is a little cheaper on average, since there are more clinics that provide the service. The average is about $6100 for both eyes—the same procedure will cost you about $6300 in Wellington and up to $6800 in Christchurch.


You might also have to pay a few hundred dollars for the initial assessment. Fortunately, many clinics offer promotions where they provide the assessment for free. Other promotions, particularly over the summer months, will shave hundreds off the cost of your surgery, so it pays to look around to see if there are any deals available. 

How can I pay for laser vision correction?

If you don’t have the cash to pay for the surgery up-front, many clinics offer gradual payment plans. In a lot of cases, you can even get deferred payment plans or interest-free repayments. For example, at Re:Vision, we offer deferred payment plans between 3 and 12 months, and interest-free payment plans between 12 and 24 months. 


The reason we and other clinics provide these options is to allow more people to share in the benefits of laser eye surgery provided by professionals. These plans often include free post-op care for months after the surgery, as well as a considerable range of benefits before and after the surgery to make the experience safer and more comfortable. When dealing with your eyesight, you need to be sure that you’re taking every precaution.


The cost of laser eye surgery is a one-time investment that provides savings in the long-term. The cumulative costs of eye exams, contacts, and glasses over a lifetime add up to tens of thousands of dollars. 

Can I get the surgery done cheaper overseas?

Certain countries offer the same laser eye surgery for a lower price, sometimes at a fraction of the cost. However, this involves an element of risk and could result in permanent consequences for your sight.


Some—or even most—of the eye surgeons overseas are reputable professionals who you could trust to do a good job. But there’s no way to know for sure and in a lot of other countries, the regulation around surgery providers is insufficient to ensure your safety.


Even if you do find a great surgeon overseas, recovering from the surgery in a hotel room in an unfamiliar city is not a great experience. You also will miss the opportunity to follow up with further appointments months down the track; what happens if something goes wrong once you’re back home? You don’t want to run any risks with your eyes—the safest option is to get it done at home.


Ready to learn more?

Your eyes are precious, and when you get laser eye surgery you should choose the best in the business. That’s us—our team is the finest collection of ophthalmic professionals in Auckland. We try to make our services accessible for as many people as possible by offering a range of payment schemes and promotions, so have a chat with us, and you might just find that you can afford laser after all. If you’re ready to let us give you your sight back, book an appointment today.

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