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. We want to help you understand something else: how you can afford better eye care.
Many Northwest Eye 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 an exam, contacts or glasses. We DO NOT accept Vision Plans. If you schedule a routine annual exam with us and you have a Vision Plan, you will be responsible for paying for the visit out-of-pocket. Since we are a specialty medical practice, many appointments are actually considered medical in nature, so then we’d bill your medical insurance for the visit, not your routine vision plan.
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. Most carriers will reduce your allowable amount, even if you don’t technically have vision as a covered benefit under your insurance plan.
Routine Eye Exams vs. Medical Eye Exams
What is the difference between a routine eye exam and a medical eye exam?
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 and when they started
- 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 Exam 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 observe the retina and optic nerve
- They may test the fluid pressure within your eyes to check for signs of glaucoma
The doctor can determine if the visual problems you currently have are normal age-related changes, or are disease-related changes. He or she may order additional testing, refer you to another doctor or specialist, or recommend a treatment. If the doctor’s diagnosis is medical, such as cataracts or conjunctivitis, it will be billed as a Medical Eye Exam. If the diagnosis is related to normal age-related changes in your vision, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, it will be billed as a Routine Eye Exam.
Questions About my Insurance and Bills
Pay On Line: We make it easy for patients to pay their bills online. We accept Debit, HSA, Visa, American Express, Master Card and Discover.
Insurance: We accept a wide range of health plans. We encourage you to check with your insurance provider to make sure we are in network and that your plan has coverage for the type of services we provide.
Vision Plans: Northwest Eye does not participate with any vision plans. If you have this type of plan, you will be responsible for payment in full for your services.
Prior Authorization: The need for a referral or authorization differs by the insurance plan. Although we do try to assist with prior authorizations, it is ultimately the patient’s responsibility to make sure it is obtained prior to the services being provided.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need to provide my insurance information each time I come to the clinic?
Yes, providing your current insurance card at each visit will assist in your bill being processed timely.
When will I receive my first statement?
Once your insurance company has processed your medical claim, you will be billed for any deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses that your insurance company deems you are responsible for.
When will my payment be due?
Payment is due within 30 days of your first statement date. If this is not possible, please contact our office for assistance.
Please contact our Business office at (763) 383-4130 for any questions regarding your bill(s) or statement(s).
Many elective medical procedures are not covered by insurance. Yet, Be Eye Wise and know that Northwest Eye offers great financing options for elective medical procedures not typically covered by insurance, including:
- Special 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.
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 estimate – 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).
Please contact our Business office at (763) 383-4130 with any questions.