If you wear glasses or contacts to see and are reading this blog, it’s safe to assume you’re considering a change.
Maybe you have reached the “end of your rope” with the hassle of contacts or glasses. Or you’ve done the math and the lifetime cost of glasses and contacts outweighs the cost of LASIK.
The up-front cost of LASIK is something to consider regardless of your reasons. This article addresses LASIK’s cost and helps fit the investment into your budget.
Get LASIK This Spring with Your Tax Refund From Uncle Sam
People use their tax refund for many reasons, vacations, big-screen TVs, paying down debt. Paying for LASIK is another very popular use of a person’s tax refund from the government. It’s one of the few purchases that a person can make that they know will be with them for the remainder of their life.
So, from a return on investment (ROI) prospective, it is one of the best ways to spend your tax refund. It is also very realistic to think that having LASIK will save you thousands of dollars over the years on expensive eyeglasses and contact lens costs. Invest in yourself this spring; consider using your tax refund to buy yourself the freedom of eliminating or reducing your dependency on glasses and contact lens in the future.
Can You Use FSA or HSA For LASIK?
LASIK qualifies as an expense you can pay with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). These tax-advantaged insurance programs are an excellent way to save money on LASIK.
In FSA or HSA accounts, an employee deposits a specific amount in their account before deducting taxes.
For example, if your paycheck is taxed at 30 percent, putting $1 in a FSA or HSA is the same as depositing 70 cents in a savings account after taxes.
Both FSAs and HSAs have limits to how much money you can deposit per year. Your employer may offer these kinds of accounts. Discuss your options with them to learn how your plan works and its limitations.
How Much Can I Save On LASIK By Using Pre-Tax FSA or HSA Dollars?
How much any person can save on LASIK using FSA or HSA accounts depends on their particular tax bracket. We provide an example below,
FSA or HSA Savings Example
In the US, regardless of your eyeglass prescription, the average person pays in the range of $3-4,000 for LASIK. Medical services are not taxable events to the patient, so the fees that you pay to your LASIK provider should NOT have sales tax applied.
We will use $3,500 as a typical cost of LASIK. If the patient in this example has an effective federal tax rate of 25 percent and in addition a Colorado state tax of 5 percent, this fictitious patient would save 30 percent on LASIK.
Conversely, without an FSA or HSA account, this patient would need approximately $5,000 of income to pay for $3,500 of LASIK with post-tax dollars. With pre-tax dollars, they only would need to use $3,500 of their FSA or HSA dollars to purchase LASIK. The total savings to this patient has a net effect of $1,500.
Of note, FSA and HSA accounts have rules and limits. For some plans, not all of the monies needed to pay for LASIK can be used from an FSA or HSA account. It’s best to check with the HR representative at your employer for the details.
How FSAs Work
FSA plans have a start and end date. Before the start date, the employee elects the amount of money to contribute to the plan over the Plan Year. The total amount is deducted in equal portions from the employee’s paycheck before taxes.
But FSA plans have a downside. With an FSA plan, you have to “use it or lose it.” You can use the full amount any time during the plan’s year. But you lose any money left in the account after the year’s expiration date.
How HSAs Work
An HSA is like an FSA account. The employee decides how much money to deposit tax-free and can be used for qualified health care expenses.
Unlike an FSA account, money in an HSA accumulates year-over-year. And the employee may only spend (or reimbursed for) expenses at or below the amount of money in the account.
Financing Plans For LASIK
There are several financing options for LASIK patients wanting to spread out the cost of LASIK. Zero-percent interest payment plans are the most popular.
These plans already exist with things like home improvement loans and furniture purchases. They can be very helpful and often financially savvy ways to pay for LASIK too.
Zero-percent payment plans are also called deferred interest with
To avoid interest, the borrower makes on-time payments and pays off the loan within a certain amount of time. When that happens, the bank forgives any accrued interest on the loan. If that doesn’t happen, the bank may make the borrower pay the interest at a high rate.
This is a very helpful tool but should be used prudently to avoid paying any interest. If you use a zero-percent payment plan for LASIK, setting up automatic payments to avoid paying interest.
These plans can be an awesome way to make the budget work out. Many times LASIK can work out to be less than your daily trip to Starbucks.
Vision Insurance for LASIK
Vision insurance can reduce LASIK’s cost by a certain percentage depending on the particular plan.
If your insurance has LASIK coverage, it may say it’s only available to certain providers. But 20/20 Institute is happy to honor ALL vision insurance discount plans. Give us a call for the specifics.
“On Sale” LASIK
Many LASIK providers use pricing strategies to attract patients looking to save money on the procedure. If you search online or pay attention to ads, you’ll see several Denver providers offering discounts for a limited time. Ads like “$1,000 OFF LASIK.”
But most patients don’t notice that “limited time” offers tend to be renewed each month. In many cases, these providers mark up their services just to provide the illusion of a “dollars off” savings. Retailers have been scrutinized for using a similar perpetual sale pricing strategies.
It’s understandable to want a good deal on anything we buy. The reality is that the fee for modern LASIK costs around $1,500-$2,000 per eye after their “discounts.” And LASIK that uses older technology can cost around $1,300 to $1,500 per eye.
Low-Cost LASIK Watch-Outs
When you’re considering LASIK, it’s important to know the facts so you can make the right decision.
“Bait -n-Switch” tactics are advertised frequently in Denver. We all see ads for LASIK “Starting at $250 per eye.” The reality is almost no patients qualify for this low teaser fee.
In most cases, these providers have final fees that fall right in line with the national average of $3,-4,000 per eye once you get into their facilities. It’s a classic bait-n-switch. In our opinion, there is no place for that type of deception in the delivery of medical services.
Very few premium LASIK specialists use those older, low-cost LASIK techniques on their patients. While older LASIK technologies and methods are FDA approved, the LASIK procedure has advanced over the last 20 years. Advanced LASIK procedures are safer, offer a better chance of 20/20 vision, and lower the issues related to night vision after LASIK.
So, patients must understand the risks with older technology before proceeding with discount LASIK. There is no “right or wrong” per se, just what is right for each person. The important thing is that you are able to make an informed decision.
If you want the best for your eyes, find out how many other LASIK providers are using comparable technology. LASIK doctors will typically share why they use a particular technology or technique. It’s a good idea to find out if a doctor or LASIK provider uses technology that isn’t used elsewhere.