See Your Way Clear to Offering Vision Benefits

Vision insurance may not be considered as essential as other aspects of medical benefits, but it can benefit a company’s reputation and bottom line. Businesses should seriously consider offering it.

What’s usually covered with vision insurance? Typically, routine eye exams and discounts for the purchase of corrective eyewear are covered. Some policies even contribute toward laser corrective surgery, as well as other procedures.

For employees, an employer-funded plan defrays some of the potentially high costs of routine eye care. And for employers, by offering these benefits — especially if employees are at risk of digital eye strain through long hours in front of computer screens — you’re sending a message that you care about your employees’ health and well-being. This extra perk differentiates your organization from run-of-the-mill companies that don’t invest in health. Vision benefits boost staff recruitment and retention too.

A recent study by the HCMS Group, a private, independent health information service, found that employers offering stand-alone vision benefits saved $5.8 billion over four years due to preventive actions: Optometrists identified early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and even high cholesterol, which might have gone unnoticed. For every dollar a company invests in vision benefits, it receives $1.45 in lower health care costs, improved productivity and lower turnover rates, says the study.

Eyes can be the windows to good health. Picking up on the early signs of disease can help detect conditions that may become expensive to control later on. Early detection keeps employees at their desks while keeping health care premiums low.

More and more employees are worried about paying more and getting less bang for their health care buck. The annual Employer Health Benefits survey of the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research Education Trust found that the typical employer contributed $12,591 to a family coverage plan in 2015. That represents a 54 percent increase from 10 years earlier, when the contribution was $8,167 per enrolled family.

Employees haven’t gotten off easier either. The same study reports that the average employee paid $4,955 out of pocket in 2015, up a whopping 83 percent from 2005, when the contribution was about $2,700.

This may go a long way toward explaining why corporate wellness is catching on. Employers want to keep employees healthy so more claims won’t be filed, driving up costs. By using vision benefits, providing access to quality, affordable vision care can keep employees healthier and more productive, which helps control health care costs.


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