Still considering adding vision benefits for next year, but not sure what questions to ask? We've got you covered.
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Still considering adding vision benefits for next year, but not sure what questions to ask? We've got you covered.
Work team making a plan on a glass board.
Chad Prittie
Regional Vice President
I lead sales and account management teams to effectively represent constituent needs.

If you’re still thinking about adding vision benefits for next year, you’re taking a step in the right direction, because vision benefits can have a positive effect on overall employee health and wellness, job satisfaction and productivity. A survey by found 71% of employees are interested in vision care and suggests that vision is the most popular voluntary benefit behind medical. Plus it found the businesses can see an average ROI of $7 for every $1 invested in vision. [1]



But for small and medium-sized businesses, which likely have less time and fewer resources to evaluate vision benefits, it can be especially challenging. That’s why we’ve put together a quick overview of key things to compare and questions you could ask to make a well-informed decision.



Know that vision is different



Vision is different from medical and dental with its consumer preference and choice components that members expect when seeking eye care and purchasing eyewear. So, the questions need to be different. Plus, many vision benefit programs can look pretty similar at first glance, and asking questions that go beyond a typical spreadsheet of premiums and sheer network size numbers can help differentiate what’s best for employees so they’ll use the benefit.



You’ll want to pay special attention to a few key areas—things that significantly impact vision benefit usage, member satisfaction and overall value for the cost, including:



Network size and diversity. To give members the most flexibility, a vision network should include a strong mix of independent and retail providers that are in-network, including in-network online options for eyeglasses and contacts.



Some questions to ask:


• What % of members use in-network benefits?


• What % of locations are independent providers and what % is retail?


• What are your top in-network retail locations?


• Are benefits applied consistently across all provider types?


• Do members have the ability to purchase glasses and contacts online, using in-network benefits?



Cost control. Some vision benefit companies keep their rates low by limiting the choice of frames and contact lenses, or limiting the eye care providers to a small number of lab options, which could limit the provider’s range of what they think is best for the patient.



Some questions to ask:


• How does the vision benefit company generate overall member savings? Do members have freedom of choice of frames and contact lenses, or do they use formularies that potentially limit members from getting what they prefer?


• If so, what % of locations offer the limited selections and what % of total membership purchases from the limited selection at all locations (not just when it's available)?


• Do providers have a choice of more than 100 labs when processing eyewear orders?



Additional member discounts. Every vision benefits company helps members save through additional discounts, but some offer members more than others.



Some questions to ask:


• What % discount do your members get on additional complete pairs and are there restrictions on when and where they can be used?


• What is your member discount for a remaining frame balance or non-covered items?


• What discounts do you offer members for items like LASIK or hearing exams and hearing aids?



Member support and self-service tools. An easy member experience is key to satisfaction with the vision benefit. The interactive tools and technology offered will vary in quality and helpfulness, such as web portals or mobile apps. Make sure members can access benefit information in a variety of ways to meet their needs, and call center support is substantial.



Some questions to ask:


• How is the vision benefit company making it easier to access benefits to meet changing network demographics?


• Do you have a mobile app and online benefits site with easy access to the provider locator, member benefits details and member ID card? What about features like appointment-making and appointment reminders?


• When members need to call, what are your average hours available each week? What’s your first-call resolution time and your claims processing speed and accuracy?



Vision wellness programs, tools and information. Wellness programs are in high demand, and help control medical costs especially for at-risk members, but not every vision benefits company offers them.



Some questions to ask:


• Do you have the ability to collect ICD-10 codes for early detection and integration with our wellness or healthcare vendor?


• Do you offer eye exam reminders for high-risk members?


• Are you able to integrate into our existing wellness program?



These are just a few key questions that can help businesses make the most informed decision on vision benefits. Now that you know some of the basics to look for, you may also want to download our free white paper called Vision from a Better Angle.  



And congratulations on looking into vision--you’ve taken the first step to healthier, happier employees who will appreciate the benefits your company provides!



If you’d like to have an EyeMed rep contact you, visit and fill out your contact information so we can reach you.





1, “Special Report: Vision and Dental Benefits Survey, December 2016 (study included only those whose employer offered vision benefits).



CATEGORY: Expert Advice
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Still considering adding vision benefits for next year, but not sure what questions to ask? We've got you covered.
Still considering adding vision benefits for next year, but not sure what questions to ask? We've got you covered.