As we age, certain aspects of our health require more attention, and changes in vision are often among the first physical changes that we notice. For many elderly individuals, access to healthcare means taking advantage of Medicare, but figuring out whether Medicare covers vision care can be quite confusing for many newly eligible Medicare recipients.
The short answer is Medicare doesn’t take the traditional approach to vision care that many health insurance plans take — but don’t be discouraged. It takes some effort to understand the differences, but you can still access vision care through the Medicare program if you are armed with the right information.
Medicare Part A and Vision Coverage
Medicare Part A provides critical hospital coverage for seniors. Inpatient care in a hospital makes up the core of this coverage, but it also includes hospice care, home health care related to therapies and services (not custodial care), and skilled nursing care facilities and nursing homes for medically necessary reasons (also not custodial care). As a type of coverage that is primarily focused on hospital care and related types of services, Medicare Part A doesn’t include coverage for the routine types of care you often expect to find with other insurance programs.
That means Medicare Part A won’t provide coverage for routine vision care and maintenance. It only covers vision-related issues if the problem stems from a medical emergency or a traumatic injury that requires hospital care. If you were in a car accident, for example, that resulted in head trauma and lasting damage to your eyes, Medicare Part A would likely cover ongoing vision procedures and care throughout your recovery. However, it would never cover eye care for routine vision issues that occur due to aging.