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Update on Penny’s New Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on July 10, 2009

We’ve had Penny’s glasses for just over 2 weeks now. I don’t know how many times I’ve said “Thank God for titanium frames!” She pulls them down and twists them around, and I think they’d be broken by now if they weren’t titanium. But they’re cute!

I didn’t realize that the last couple weeks we had her old glasses she kept pulling them off because of the prescription change. Once we got the new prescription and were waiting for her new glasses to come in, if I tried to put the old glasses on, she’d immediately pull them off again. I should have clued in that it was the 5 diopter difference in her prescription that was doing that! When I put her new glasses on now, she keeps them on.

I need to tighten one of the screws though. I’m not sure if that’s going to be something common or not. I used to have a pair of glasses that needed constant tightening.

As for Manulife covering her glasses, first we were told by Court’s HR department that they “regret to advise there aren’t any other provisions under our plan with regards to the vision expenses.” When I questioned if there was a way to appeal their decisions, we were told they “The policy specifically limits eyeglass coverage to $300 every two years per person. There is a medical expense tax credit when filing income tax that you may be able to claim these expenses under. There are certain minimum dollar or % criteria based on income etc. It would be best to speak to a tax accountant to explain in more detail.”

So, it sounds like a no-go with Manulife. But I didn’t know we could claim our glasses on the medical expense portion of our taxes! We’ll do that for this year’s taxes and see how well that works.

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5 Responses to “Update on Penny’s New Glasses”

  1. Caroline said

    This is BS, I would definitely appeal it with the insurance company directly. My daughter’s opthamologist told me that the glasses should be covered by insurance. They are a medical device, and not just for her eyes. If she doesn’t have them her brain won’t develop properly (the visual components of it). I called my insurance company and they told me that they didn’t cover vision, but I explained the situation and they said I should send a letter from the doctor to see if it’s covered. Trust me the HR people, and even your first contacts at the insurance company have probably never heard of cataracts in babies. I’ve read a few stories of how you have to initially fight to get them to cover it, and often have to work with someone higher up in the company. Also, contacts are even more expensive, and you’ll definitely have to replace them more frequently than the glasses.

    • Again, thank you! This is what I’ve been looking for. I KNOW their decision to cover can be appealed. The stupid part is that I’m the one who’s going to be arguing for it, but it’s my husband’s benefit provider. I need to get permission to talk to them about it because of privacy laws. But you explained exactly what I need to talk to them about; “If she doesn’t have them her brain won’t develop properly (the visual components of it).” I don’t think they even know that Penny is only 6 months old! I did ask the PO’s office if he would write a letter for Manulife, and they said yes – just talk to him about it at our next appointment. So I’ll start digging into this again this week. Thank you for the push!

      • Caroline said

        You’re welcome. If it helps I’ll let you know how things go with my insurance as well. It is a bit discouraging. My daughter didn’t get the IOLs, maybe by 8 or 10 years if she hasn’t developed glaucoma, so she’ll need contacts and glasses. The less they do to her eyes the better in terms of preventing glaucoma. My doctor is being particularly cautious since my husband developed glaucoma at a very young age – although his doctor did a terrible job with his surgery and followup. Is your doctor keeping track of Penny’s eye pressure?

        By the way, just checked my notes and the insurance company wanted a “predetermination letter” from my daughter’s doctor, and she has a generic letter written for parents in this situation.

      • Our doctor has never checked the pressure for glaucoma. But he’s very aware of it as an issue, and I’m pretty sure if he sees any sign of it he’ll check the pressure. He told me at our very first visit that they don’t do cataract removals at less than 1 month of age because it creates a higher glaucoma risk, and that was the same reason for putting in the IOLs now, instead of down the road. My husband had his cataracts removed at 3 weeks, and IOLs at 14 years, so I guess we have to watch for glaucoma with him.

        Have you been over to littlefoureyes.com? There’s another mom over there whose little girl just turned 1. She had a unilateral cataract, and got into a study where she got an IOL. They’ve been facing the glaucoma issue right from the start.

      • Caroline said

        I’ve heard of Mia, her story was featured in a newsletter from the PGCFA, and coincidentally my daughter’s doctor is an investigator in the IATS study that is trying to figure out the best treatment for unilateral cataracts in infants. It’s a balancing act, the general idea is that the earlier the surgery (both for cataract removal and IOLs) the better the visual outcome, but the higher the risk of glaucoma. The funny thing is that no one has actually conducted a study to determine if this is true. In my daughter’s case, since my husband developed glaucoma early the risk is considered higher for her. Surgery was done at about 5 weeks and 7 weeks, but since she was a month early, her eye development was more in line with a 1 and 3 week old baby. IOLs will be considered around 8 or 10 years, although if the contacts are working well it may not be worthwhile, why mess with a good thing?

        Every doctor is different, but I would definitely encourage yours to check her pressure. It’s an easy test (if he has the equipment), though sometimes hard to interpret. At least you can tell if it’s going up over time. Many of the apparent symptoms of high pressure show that damage is already occurring (cupping of the optic nerve, cloudiness in the cornea). You might be able to head this off before it becomes a problem.

        Sorry to be so technical, I’m a scientist and I’m tend towards this side of things.

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