We get this question all the time. There's a lot of ways to answer this question, and we'll get into all of them below if you like to geek out on the insurance market like I do, but the short answer is that you'll get 20% off your purchase if you have vision insurance, which is the same deal you'll get anywhere else for premium eyewear. Depending on your vision carrier, we may be able to collect the insurance claim and reduce the charge at the time of purchase. For VSP, use the discount code TOPO_VSP; for Cigna Vision, use the discount code TOPO_CIGNA. For any other carrier, you'll need to pay list price and get reimbursed afterwards, but Topology will manage that process rather than leave you to fend for yourself in filing the claim.
Please note: not every plan is exactly the same, but since only a few carriers cover the vast majority of the market, the generalizations below will be true for most people reading them.
What is vision insurance?
First thing to understand is that vision insurance is not health insurance, and it's not like health insurance. Unless you have a specific medical condition or an injury, health insurance will not cover vision correction. Vision insurance is a separate product that deals with standard eye exams, contact lens fittings, and EITHER glasses OR contacts (but typically not both). If your vision insurance covered your contacts this year, you likely do not have a vision insurance benefit for glasses until next year.
Is Topology "In-Network" for insurance?
The other thing to understand about a difference between health insurance and vision insurance is the difference between your provider being in network and out of network. In health insurance, the financial consequences of going in-network vs. out of network can be really severe. In vision, this is not the case.
Providers who are "in-network" offer discounts on their services (such as the eye exam) in return for getting access to the customers who have that insurance plan. With providers who are out of network, the patient pays up front, and then the insurance provider writes a reimbursement check, with specific reimbursement caps depending on what you paid for (eye exams, reading glasses, bifocals, etc.).
Sounds a lot like healthcare, right? Except that the amount of the subsidy is about the same! The discount you're offered in an in-network dispensary will amount to about a $100-120 discount on your glasses. The reimbursement check you'd get for an out-of-network purchase of eyeglasses is about $100-120.
Because we're a new company, Topology isn't large enough to be "in-network" for any insurance. But the fact of the matter is, when it comes to buying glasses, "in-network" doesn't really make it any cheaper for you--it's just marketing.
Isn't it possible to get glasses inexpensively through your insurance?
This is undoubtedly true. There are glasses on the market for $100 and less, so it stands to reason that, given a $100 discount, you can get "free" glasses with your insurance. However, you won't find glasses of our quality craftsmanship, or premium materials at that price point. They may not be backed up by guarantees like ours are, and they won't feature anti-reflective coatings like our lenses do. They're unlikely to be high-index lenses, which you'll need if you have a strong prescription. And you certainly won't find anything that fits you as perfectly as our custom-fit glasses.
But isn't it just easier if you go in-network?
Even if it's financially the same thing after reimbursements, who wants to go through the headache of filing a claim, or risk forgetting to file a claim, or arguing with the insurance company? Topology does, that's who.
After you purchase your Topology glasses, all you need to do is email us your date of birth and the last 4 digits of your SSN (or call us and provide by phone if it makes you feel more comfortable), and we'll file the claim for you so that your reimbursement check arrives at your home as quickly as your glasses do. We offer this as a courtesy to our customers because we believe everything about your glasses, including the purchasing process, should be exactly what you want.
What's more, for certain insurers, we can actually provide the discount at checkout, just like an in-network provider. This is why we mentioned special discount codes for VSP and Cigna Vision at the top of this article.
What other benefits can I use to lower the cost of Topology?
Prescription glasses are also eligible expenses for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Spending Accounts (HSAs), and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs). It's not worth getting into the distinction here, but these are all
- Pre-funded, tax free accounts that
- Can only be used on healthcare related expenditures, and each year, you
So if you've got some healthcare money to burn through, or if you are about to fund that account, consider buying Topology with your health account dollars. You can either use a debit card associated with this special account or you can pay cash and file for reimbursement after.