Eyesight is one of the most precious things we have.
One we may take for granted in both our personal and our professional lives. Eyes are the window to our health and the key to maintaining that health is routine eye checkups. The problem is that traditional health insurance plans don’t typically cover preventative eye care. This is where vision insurance comes in.
Vision Insurance Benefits
Vision insurance is an often overlooked benefit by employers. The insurance offers discounts and wellness plans to help cover routine eye care. This includes regular eye exams, prescription eyewear (such as glasses and contact lenses), and discounts on elective vision correction surgery such as LASIK. Vision care plans can cover the cost of basic eyewear, or make premium eyewear affordable, such as progressive lenses, anti-reflective coatings, and photochromic lenses.
One key difference between health insurance and vision insurance is that health insurance offers unlimited benefits after meeting specific co-pays and deductibles. In contrast, vision insurance provides benefits and discounts on eye exams and eye products up to a specific amount based on certain frequencies
Generally speaking, there are two types of vision plans:
- Discount vision plans provide eye care services and prescription eyewear at discounted rates.
- Vision Insurance are more comprehensive plans that offer free eye care services and eyewear within fixed dollar amounts in exchange for an annual premium or membership fee. You are also required to pay a small co-pay each time you access a service.
Unlike expensive health insurance plans, vision insurance is more affordable. Additionally, it brings considerable benefits for employees and employers.
Benefits of vision insurance for employees
As mentioned earlier, vision care plans allow you access to affordable and even free eye exams. First and foremost, regularly visiting your optometrist enables the detection of a decline in visual acuity. This includes any sight progression issues and whether they need to be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Keeping your prescription eyewear up to date will help you maintain productivity.
In addition, frequent eye exams allow optometrists to detect any serious eye diseases early that, if left untreated, can lead to irreversible vision loss. These include glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
Another considerable benefit of eye examinations is that they can spot any early signs of chronic and even life-threatening conditions in other areas of the body. Regular eye tests can spot early symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, tumors and cancers, and neurological disorders. These symptoms can manifest themselves through physical changes of the eye, observable in a routine exam. For example, leakage of blood in the back of the eye can be a symptom of diabetes
|Cardiovascular diseases (i.e. coronary heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, etc.)||Appearance of a white ring on the outer surface of the eye or cornea; exploding blood vessels at the back of the eye – all signs of high blood pressure – a precursor of many cardiovascular diseases|
|Diabetes||Leakage of blood at the back of the eye; blood vessels growing abnormally in the retina – can cause retina damage and vision loss|
|Tumors and cancers|
|• Swelling of the optic nerve; optic nerve appearing large and pale; loss of vision; headaches
• Bleeding at the back of the eye
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
|• Eye test to measure eye movement while watching television; sign of a tremor behind the eye
• Eye test to measure eye movement while watching television
• Eye test to measure eye movement while watching television
• Swelling of the optic nerve; optic nerve appearing large and pale
• Abnormal bulging of the cornea
Source: Leightons Opticians, UK; https://www.leightons.co.uk/blog/eye-tests/how-eye-tests-help-detect-other-diseases
Benefits of vision insurance for employers
A significant advantage of vision insurance is the price tag. It’s an affordable benefit. Therefore, offering vision care plans as part of your benefits package represents a very cost-effective way to maintain the health of your workforce and improve productivity.
Reduces healthcare costs
Enabling your employees to access affordable eye care through vision insurance can lead to early detection of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, as well as eye diseases. This allows doctors and specialists to intervene early and better control the disease before it becomes considerably expensive to treat. As a result, you’ll be able to reduce medical costs in the long term. In fact, research by the HCMS Group showed that for every $1 a company invests in vision benefits, it receives $1.45 through lower healthcare costs. The study also revealed that employers who provided vision insurance saved $5.8 billion over four years.
Improves productivity and reduces absenteeism
Many jobs involve employees spending a significant amount of time sitting in front of a computer screen. Unfortunately, this exposes them to a greater risk of developing digital eye strain and vision problems. Both of which can hamper their productivity. For example, a poll by Guardian Life for its 7th Annual Workplace Benefits Study revealed that even minor vision problems could reduce productivity by 20%. Prolonged screen time can also cause headaches, fatigue, and sleep and focus issues, impacting job performance. So, by helping your employees maintain their eye health affordably through vision insurance, you’ll minimize their vision problems and digital eye strain, enabling them to work more efficiently and effectively. In addition, early diagnosis and management of eye-related diseases and other conditions mean fewer doctor’s appointments and reduced absenteeism.
Boosts recruitment and retention
According to a 2019 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 46% of companies offer vision insurance. What’s more, a recent study showed that 87% of employees surveyed said they would stay with a company that provided vision insurance that covers the cost of premium lenses and frames. These statistics highlight a considerable opportunity for employers to stand out among the competition. Providing vision insurance shows that you’re genuinely concerned about their wellbeing and are willing to go that extra mile. Offering vision benefits also increases your chances of retaining your most valuable employees and attracting new talent.