What should you pay attention to, what costs are covered by the health insurance fund?

Berlin.A new pair of glasses can be expensive. But people who wear glasses know that they can’t avoid buying new glasses from time to time. It is rarely associated with a new color of the frame, usually eyesight changes or scratches and damage prompts you to buy a new lens. Over the years, some will face a shift from reading glasses to zoom glasses. Four-digit amounts for new visual aid are not uncommon these days.

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What does health insurance pay?

In adults, in most cases, nothing. It was different before 2003. Currently, statutory health insurance only covers the costs of myopia or farsightedness from 6.25 diopters or astigmatism above four diopters. People with eyesight less than 30 percent may also get reimbursement from health insurance. What’s more: the cash register only feeds a fixed amount and only at the expense of glasses. The frame of the glasses is not covered by health insurance. The expenses for higher-quality glasses – for example zoom glasses that are made of plastic or that are specially scratch-resistant – are usually borne by the insured.

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And what does health insurance pay for children?

Health insurance covers the cost of glasses for minors. Children even receive subsidized sports glasses as long as they are still attending school.

How can I find out what costs will be covered by my health insurance?

Pursuant to the Act on Medicines and Auxiliaries, the optician is required to provide advice. Of course, the registers themselves also provide information. Important: An ophthalmic prescription is required in order for the insurer to share the costs. It is not enough to measure the strength of the diopter at the optician.

What about contact lenses?

Exactly: you usually pay for them yourself; the insurer will only step in when the adhesive covers are absolutely medically necessary. This applies to more than eight diopters, because glasses of such strength would be too heavy. If contact lenses bring at least 20 percent. better effects than glasses in the case of astigmatism, in this case also the insurer will pay.

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What about screen glasses?

They provide as little benefit to statutory health insurance companies as work glasses. These visual aids are part of work safety. However, many employers award a subsidy. Maybe it’s worth asking about it.

Is the practice of subsidizing funds indisputable?

Of course not. Consumer centers criticize the current practice. Visual aids are essential in road traffic and in many professions. However, cases where health insurance companies also pay for medically necessary visual aids are few and far between, and actual monetary benefits are rare. “From the consumer’s point of view, this is not appropriate – and it is not a good development,” write consumer advisory centers. “The social gap with those insured with private health insurance companies who regularly insure the cost of glasses will therefore become even greater.”

Glasses are cheap on the internet, right?

In fact, in many cases, buying glasses online can save you several hundred euros. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are also deals with your local optician. And the price is not everything. Glasses often need to be individually fitted to a given head, and the lenses – especially in the case of varifocal lenses – should be at a certain height in relation to the eye. It is not that easy to do on the Internet. Therefore, some ISPs work with stationary optometrists who then do a good job.

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Is the quality of the internet appropriate?

According to Stiftung Warentest, online opticians generally do no worse than the glasses shop around the corner. But this is also because the bar is not particularly high. Even the specialty stores of large optical networks barely scored more than a “satisfactory” test in the last test, which, however, goes back three years.

But online shopping is always easy, right?

Not necessarily. It’s worth noting that the usual 14-day return policy does not apply to custom-made items – including glasses. While some suppliers advertise that their goods can be inspected for a month and then returned without giving any reason, there is no legal obligation to do so. As customers typically pay upfront, getting your money back can be difficult.

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For whom is it profitable to buy online?

If you don’t need advice and you know exactly which glasses you need, you can use it online. It is worth considering ordering online, especially when purchasing simple reading glasses or replacement glasses. However, Stiftung Warentest advises people with more complex vision problems and inexperienced buyers to seek advice from a specialist shop. This is especially true when purchasing progressive lenses.

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