I’m responsible for the development of EyeMed’s commercial, municipalities and counties, and specialty markets.
Serve up premium vision benefits with an abundance of choice
Go ahead, pile some mashed potatoes on that turkey. Stuff some more stuffing next to the yams. Pecan or pumpkin pie? Why not both? It’s Thanksgiving after all, and an abundance of choice is what Thanksgiving is all about. This is not a season of limits.
In the spirit of the season, I’ve been thinking about the importance of choice in vision benefits. Choice in vision means things like substantial savings for the member (like 71% savings for EyeMed compared to retail) while also ensuring the eye doctor can select the best lens for the patients’ needs, and access to the latest eye care technologies.
I’m thankful that my company, EyeMed, gives members more choices while still controlling costs. We let members and eye doctors decide what’s best for them, and they tend to agree. (I mean, self-determination is what the Pilgrims were all about, right?) I don’t believe you can ever go wrong by helping employees get what they want.
Here’s where to look to ensure vision benefit choice is bountiful:
Members want a buffet of providers where in-network benefits can be used, at hours that meet their different schedules. That’s why we offer a mix of independent and retail, large and small, local and national—even online, with 80% independent providers and 20% retail providers. It’s choice that works for members and we know it works because our members stay in-network 98% of the time. Plus, members like the freedom to mix it up if they want. We see them regularly choose a combination of providers for their eye care and eyewear --68% see a private practice doctor for the eye exam, while more than half get their eyewear from a retail provider. Further proof that our approach works.
Vision care is different than health care because eyewear is a fashion accessory too. Members expect a shopping experience with options. A vision benefit that offers true choice lets members choose any brand, any style, any designer, and still make it affordable. And for the value shopper, that should mean every network location has at least 100 frames in the store priced under $130 (we offer plenty of options within $130). On the other side, many members are willing to spend a bit more to purchase frames above their allowance. Choice in eyewear is about options for all tastes and budgets.
Lens formularies with contacts are another common choice restrictor. I know of 1 popular vision company with a formulary of only 10 contact lenses. Eye care providers should have the freedom of choice to recommend the best option for their patients’ particular needs, and when the provider has that freedom, they recommend those formulary contact lenses only 18% of the time. Under this formulary scenario, 4 out of 5 members would go home without their first choice. And with 31% of members buying contact lenses, it’s important to have a large menu available.
While 62% of EyeMed members use their benefits for single vision lenses, 31% use them for progressive lenses, so it’s important that the benefit covers the a wide variety of lens options patients need, and what doctors want to prescribe for patients’ vision and lifestyle needs. With progressive lens options, doctors will frequently ask a number of questions about a patient's projected use and lifestyle. Limiting the number of lens options restricts the eye doctor's ability to match the member's needs with the best option, and often the latest technology that would best meet their specific eye condition and lifestyle.
As it turns out, it’s easy to give employees choices they’ll be thankful for and look forward to almost as much as the turkey and pie. So, enjoy the bounty of Thanksgiving and celebrate our grand traditions of freedom and choice. I’m confident your clients or employees will be giving thanks if their vision benefits do the same.
If you're in charge of benefits for your company and would like to see more information, or want to have an EyeMed Vision Care representative to contact you, check out this site and fill out your contact information. We'll be in touch soon!
1 EyeMed internal book of business claims analysis, 2016.
2 Based on EyeMed book of business data, 2015
CATEGORY: HR Benefits
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