I've been an EyeMed sales rep for four years, with territories all across the country. And no matter where I go, or who I talk to, at some point during my relationship with a client or broker I will utter the words, "The members don't need their ID cards to use their benefits."
Next to “I’m hungry,” there’s no phrase I’ve uttered more.
Why do I have to say it so often? Maybe I repeat these words over and over because EyeMed is one of the few benefits companies that issues ID cards--and allows members to use their benefits without presenting said cards. (We do it that way because our nearly 40 million members have told us they prefer to have both options.) Maybe it’s because the benefits industry has trained people to use ID cards. Maybe it’s because ID cards just make people feel secure.
Just ask my wife.
In 2014 I married an awesome woman with a big heart who’s devoted her life to helping children with behavioral issues. She works for a school that only accepts the kids most schools are happy to transfer. Her goal is to help them with their problems so they can re-enroll in public school. Anyway, when she started her job she was asking me to help her with our benefits. As I was studying her health, dental and vision options I realized she has EyeMed as her vision carrier. (It was a true coincidence; I didn’t sell the EyeMed product to her company.)
So of course I highly recommended she enroll in the vision plan—especially since she was looking to purchase glasses—and told her all about how great the benefit is and how much money she'll save.
Before I knew it, she was ready to go online and set up an appointment. But not before asking one question.
"When am I going to get my ID cards?" she asked.
This was a softball. A lay-up. This was my big moment. I collected myself and readied my ammunition.
"Baby, you don't actually need your ID card to use your benefit,” I explained. “You can just go to an in-network provider and give your name and date of birth."
“But I want my ID card," she said.
Keep in mind, I gave her my best benefits expert explanation.
Still, it was no consolation. She needed the security only a flimsy piece of paper with some words on it can offer. So I did what any self-respecting salesman/husband would do.
I went to eyemed.com, printed out an ID card, "laminated" it with some clear packing tape and muttered something about her permanent card being mailed in a few days.
But the moral of the story isn’t that I’m a really understanding and resourceful husband or a really knowledgeable salesman. (Although, truth be told, guilty on both charges.) The point is this: I spend every day of my life explaining that EyeMed members don't need their ID cards to use their benefits. Brokers and benefit managers understand the concept, but members don't care. And maybe it took this experience for that concept to truly hit home. If I can't convince my wife she doesn't need an ID card, what hope do you have if you choose a vision benefits company that doesn’t provide them?
Doesn't it make more sense to go with the company that gives you both the convenience of not needing an ID card and the comfort of providing one anyway? I haven’t even broached the subject of downloading our member app that lets you pull up your ID card on a smart phone with a few shakes. Imagine what my wife would think of that!