Northwest Eye is here to help you understand eye health, including how to care, prolong and treat your eyes to maintain the best vision possible. But we want you to help you understand something else: how you can afford better eye care.
Many Northwest Eye Clinic patients are fortunate enough to have all or a portion of the costs involved with their care covered by a medical insurance plan. To be sure, Be Eye Wise and double check with your insurance provider by calling the number on the back of your insurance card or by visiting your insurance provider’s website.
When double checking your insurance please understand there is a difference between medical insurance plans and routine vision plans. Some individual routine vision plans cover some of the cost of the exam, contacts or glasses and we can not accept these plans. This is the case ONLY for routine Eye Care. As we are a medical practice that specializes in eyes, many appointments are actually considered medical in nature and we can accept as they would bill you medical insurance anyway.
Be Eye Wise and know that even if you have invested in a vision plan, we will still run any associated charges with your care through your insurance company, as most insurance companies will reduce your allowable amount, even if you don’t technically have vision as a covered benefit under your insurance plan.
Special Message About Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance for Pediatric Patients
You may be aware of the publicized disagreement between Children’s Hospital and Clinics and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and the possible end of their contract on July 5th, 2017.
We wanted to comfort you in knowing that their disagreement and negotiation will not affect Northwest Eye’s care and coverage of our patients. Although we have a strong affiliation with Children’s; we have our own contract with BCBS, and will not be impacted by the possibility of Children’s Hospital terminating its contract with BCBS.
If your child happens to be in need of surgery, we will work with you on an individual basis to plan for the best option for your child, and when and where that procedure should occur.
We greatly value your faith in entrusting your child’s eye care to us and wanted to reassure you that their care will continue.
Richard Freeman, MD
Mrunalini Parvataneni, MD
Keith Engel, MD
Routine Eye Exams vs Medical Eye Exams
We have recently had many questions from patients regarding what the difference is between a routine eye examination and a medical eye examination.
Follow the Links below or continue reading to better understand the difference between Routine and Medical eye care.
A comprehensive eye exam can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over 60 minutes, and can be performed by either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. It may include an ophthalmic assistant or ophthalmic technician completing the following portions of the exam:
- A health and medication history
- Your own health as well as your immediate family
- Your current medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
- Reviewing major systems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and allergies
- A vision history
- How well you see at present and any changes in your vision
- Eye diseases that you or your family might have
- Eye treatments, surgeries, or injuries
- Any current problems, when they started and how severe
- A Refraction or Visual Acuity Test
- A refraction helps in determining the clarity or sharpness of both your near and distance vision
- Visual Acuity testing helps determine how much peripheral vision you have
- An Eye Examination completed by the ophthalmologist or an optometrist includes
- Examination of the external parts of your eyes, including the whites of your eyes, the iris, pupil, eyelids and eyelashes
- A dilated internal eye exam allows the doctor to observes the retina and optic nerve
- They may test the fluid pressure within your eyes to check for possible glaucoma
The doctor will then be able to determine if the visual problems you currently have are normal age-related changes, or are disease-related changes. They may order additional testing, refer you to another doctor or specialist, or advise other treatments as needed. If the doctor diagnosis a medical reason such as cataract or conjunctivitis, it will be billed as a medical eye examination. If the doctor diagnosis is related to normal age-related changes in your vision such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, it will be billed as a routine eye examination.
Elective Medical Procedure Financing:
Many elective medical procedures are not covered by insurance. Yet, Be Eye Wise and know that Northwest Eye For offers great financing options for elective medical procedures not typically covered by insurance, including:
- 0% interest financing options for up to 24 months through CareCredit®
- Low-interest financing options for up to 60 months
- Payments as low as $100 per month
To find out if you qualify for financing assistance, submit a credit request with CareCredit® now – without affecting your credit!
Ultimately, the cost of your treatment depends on the type of procedure you have done. You will be made completely aware of all costs associated with your procedure and current financing rates during your consultation. No surprises!
You will also learn exactly what is included in the price of your procedure, such as pre-operative exams, post-operative care and consultations.
Flexible Spending Account or Cafeteria Plan:
You can save money on elective medical procedures such as LASIK and BOTOX by taking advantage of Flexible Spending Accounts or Cafeteria Plans. These plans allow you to allocate some of your earnings into a tax-free account to use for non-reimbursable medical expenses. These plans have strict rules for how and when you can use these funds, so research the details of your plan before you enroll.
Flex Plan Tips
- Arrange a consultation with one of our doctors to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure you desire.
- Research your company’s deadline for Flex Plan open enrollment and make sure you know all the details of the plan.
- Find out how much your specific procedure will cost. Don’t guesstimate – get the real facts from the doctor who will be performing your procedure. Then you will know how much money to allocate into your account.
- Use the money in your account before the time limit runs out. (Or you will lose it!).