Why bundling vision benefits may not be the best choice for employers or their employees


The idea of bundling services has been around for a while. 

The concept, popular with Internet, phone, and cable services, creates a perception that customers get a better price and greater administrative efficiencies by combining multiple offerings into one program.

The perceived benefits of bundling make this an attractive option for employers when shopping for healthcare coverage options, but it’s not always the best approach for vision benefits. If employees are asking to bundle their lines of coverage, it’s important to understand how offering unbundled products can offer better value for both employers and their employees. 

More benefits for employers

When bundling benefits, it’s easy for benefit details to be hidden, but it’s often these vital details that have the most impact on price, benefit plan, member satisfaction, and more. So next time you’re considering bundling services, consider the benefits of offering an unbundled vision benefits program: 

Clear cost and coverage transparency. Unbundling benefits invites price competition and encourages carrier transparency. Since employers can clearly see what they are paying for specific services, they can easily compare plans and lines of coverage to make sure they’re getting the best value for their employees’ benefit dollars

More customization. When it comes to vision benefits, one size never fits all. By offering standalone vision benefits, employers can shop for benefit plans that best meet their employees’ needs, offers the best network in their area, and includes the most popular services at the best rates. 

Higher employee satisfaction. Employees need to know what their program covers to get the most out of their benefits. With standalone vision benefits, benefit specifics don’t get buried in other lines of coverage, so employees will be clear on what their plan covers and how to use their benefits. 

Vision-specific expertise. Since standalone vision plan providers are focused solely on vision benefits, they can offer an enhanced level of consultation, education, and analysis on plan recommendations. This is delivered by way of a dedicated Account Management team who can provide customized support through an account manager whose only focus is providing expert level vision consultation. This dedicated focus on vision results in faster turnaround times and a greater range of vision specific materials and tools to support benefit education and overall wellness. 

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More value for employees

Employers aren’t the only ones that see value from unbundled vision benefits; it’s important to make sure employees are aware of the benefits of unbundling, so they can accurately compare their benefit options and make the most informed decision. With standalone options, employees also win. Here’s how: 

The potential for a broader provider network. Standalone vision plans can have broader networks compared to bundled plans, so depending on the carrier, members can have more choices on which providers they see. The eye care provider network plays a huge role in employee satisfaction, as broad networks allow employees to find a provider they want to work with who can see them on their schedule. 

More flexible vision plans. Unbundled plans may also give employees more features. For example, EyeMed members can use both their frame and contact lens allowances in the same benefit year. This can be especially valuable for those members who wear contact lenses and need or want to purchase a pair of glasses. Unbundled benefit programs also guarantee their benefits and rates for several years, compared to shorter guarantees commonly seen with bundled lines. With this extended rate guarantee, employees won’t have to worry about their benefits changing every year. 

No unnecessary restrictions. Standalone vision benefits are all about freedom of choice, one of the most valued attributes of a benefits program. With more freedom, employees are not restricted to certain types, styles, eyewear brands or formularies.

More money in their pocket. Since standalone vision plans can give members greater access to participating providers, they are more likely to stay in-network. They may also enjoy greater discounts and promotions than bundled benefits can’t offer. 

Benefit trends, such as bundling, will come and go, but what will never change is the need to provide employees with flexible, comprehensive, and cost-effective vision benefits they want to use.