Eye doctors are a critical first line of defense for your employees when it comes to the early detection of chronic conditions. Besides helping with vision concerns, these physicians are often the first health care professionals to detect high blood pressure via a comprehensive eye exam — and can often see indicators of diabetes in patients’ eyes before the disease is formally diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So how can you make sure you’re choosing the right vision plan? Use this simple checklist when purchasing or renewing a plan for your company:
- Coordinated Care
Look for a vision plan that integrates with your existing health plan’s disease and care management program. The ideal plan allows for direct communication between your employees and their doctors. For example, if an eye doctor finds a high-risk condition such as diabetes, she can share that information with your employee’s primary doctor. Thus, your staff can get the care they need while also protecting their vision.
- Pricing Options
The right vision plan will have options like employee-paid (voluntary) funding, defined contribution (private exchange) and a portfolio of plans with different cost shares (copays and allowances) to choose from, to help you and your employees stay on budget.
- Accessible Network
Network access is vital in order for your employees to address their eye care needs. Look for a carrier that offers employees the convenience and savings of a large network with a choice of private practitioners, retail locations like LensCrafters and online retail stores like Glasses.com, ContactsDirect or 1-800 CONTACTS.
- International Travel Assistance
What if an employee is traveling abroad and loses (or breaks) his or her glasses? Some vision plans offer assistance for international travelers. They can ship temporary glasses to employees in many international locations or put them in touch with a local eye doctor in that country. They can even provide translation services.
Look for a plan that offers your employees the convenience of live customer service seven days a week, 24/7 online service and mobile solutions.
A good vision plan should offer network savings and discounts on popular lens options, additional pairs of glasses, contact lenses, Lasik surgery and more.
Whatever plan you’re interested in, make sure to talk with an insurance broker or representative. They’re the employee benefit experts who can guide you toward a plan that fits your business and employee needs.
Jason Kinzy is a marketing manager at Anthem, Inc. and is responsible for the promotion of Anthem’s specialty business (dental, vision, voluntary, life and disability plans) to members, employers and brokers. He has 20 years of health care marketing communications experience.