Transparent vision benefits have advantages that are clear to see — from better member understanding, which reduces the risk of surprise costs, to enhanced engagement. When they have tools that make it easy to find what they need, members can make the most of their benefits and enjoy life with clear, healthy vision.
Do employees understand what an allowance is in a vision plan?
Your company may invest in a great vision benefit, but is it transparent? The fact is, only 50% of employees understand their benefit, or comprehend the meaning of common terms many brokers and employers may take for granted, such as “allowance,” “copay” or “deductible.” 
The lesson here: don’t assume employees know these common benefit terms, or much less, the out-of-pocket expenses they might need to know about for the prescription lenses that can improve their productivity.
Perhaps the most useful feature a vision benefit can offer is clarity. This is why EyeMed recently looked at the effects of benefit confusion (and the advantages of transparency) for members.
We’ve detailed our learnings for benefit brokers and employers in our free eBook, “Are your benefits feeling invisible?” It reveals that better understanding of their benefits encourages members to maximize them and take control of their health. With vision benefits, this use can really add up for a cost-effective preventive healthcare option.
People are asking—“how do you use vision benefits”?
Research shows employees want vision insurance — 45% say the option contributes to feelings of financial security, which provides job satisfaction.  Yet this research also shows that many workers, more than 25%, don’t enroll to take advantage of their vision benefit.
Consider the related vision and health costs this lack of benefit engagement could mean: Uncorrected vision disorders can cost companies about $7,800 a year in lost productivity per employee.  Add in medical and related expenses, and visual issues totaled $139 billion in 2013, the most recent year for data from the NIH’s National Academy of Sciences. 
Understanding your benefits is one key to improving participation — and therefore helping reduce health-related expenses. So it’s not surprising a top Google query about vision benefits is simply “how do you use vision benefits?”
We’re happy to share some of our tools that can make it easier for busy employees to understand and take advantage of their vision benefits (and as a result, may reduce the odds that employers and brokers don’t hear negative noise from employees about their vision benefits).
3 easy tools for vision benefit transparency:
- EyeMed’s Know Before You Go online cost estimator. This interactive tool is like a shopping companion. Before members visit their eye care provider, members can use it to anticipate their out-of-pocket expenses (if any) on vision care products and services.
- Our Understanding your benefits online interactive tool. From a benefits breakdown to a glossary of common (and not-so-common) vision benefits lingo, members can get consistent answers to common questions about using their benefits.
- Easy-to-read advice, such as this story on our Eye Site On Wellness website that helps members understand terms like “copay,” “allowance” and “network”; and this go-to guide on lens technologies that can clear up confusion about a patient’s choices.
A vision benefit shouldn’t cause member problems. It should be a simple, even enjoyable experience for employees. These tools can be part of an important advantage for HR benefits teams and brokers by eliminating confusion for employees who don’t understand and/or are struggling to get the most of their benefits.
Benefit transparency is good for business, good for health
Members won’t appreciate what they don’t understand; but they will better appreciate an employer that helps them to do so. Make the features of your vision benefit focus on transparency.
Do you want to see our new online cost estimator, Know Before You Go.? Contact us to ask your EyeMed representative for a demo. You also can download EyeMed’s free eBook to learn more about how transparency in vision benefits can meet the needs of busy employees, including:
- The cost of disengagement.
- Strategies for creating more transparent benefits.
- Communication plans for pre-enrollment and member onboarding.
- How to educate and engage with online tools … and much more.
If you notice increased employee enrollment and in-network benefit use, then congratulations. You’re benefiting from benefit transparency.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy reading:
- What benefit members need to understand to get the most from their benefits
- How to easily take the mystery out of eyewear lens selection
1: “Half of employees don’t understand their health benefits, poll says,” (Sept. 19, 2016); BenefitsPro; https://www.benefitspro.com/2016/09/19/half-of-employees-dont-understand-their-health-ben/?slreturn=20190928104443; Accessed Oct. 28, 2019
“4 basic health insurance terms 96% of Americans don’t understand”; (January 2018); Policygenius. https://www.policygenius.com/health-insurance/health-insurance-literacy-survey/; Accessed Oct. 28, 2019
2: “The State of Employee Benefits: Findings From the 2018 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey.”; (Jan. 10, 2019); Employee Benefit Research Institute; Pages 9 and 6;
https://www.ebri.org/docs/default-source/ebri-issue-brief/ebri_ib_470_wbs2-10jan19.pdf?sfvrsn=c5db3e2f_10; Accessed Oct. 28,2019
3: “Invigorating Interest in the Vision Benefit,” (2013); NAVCP Medical Advisor Roundtable; page 18; http://www.healthysightworkingforyou.org/resources/NAVCP-Whitepaper-FINAL-Smaller.pdf; Accessed Oct. 28, 2019
4: “Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow, 3: Impact of Vision Loss”; (2016); National Academy of Sciences; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK402367/; Accessed Oct. 28, 2019