Selling Benefits? Dont Forget The Eyes

When youre selling employee benefits, remember the eyes.

Offering clients a voluntary or group vision care discount program is a way to increase your own sales while improving your clients benefits package for a very modest cost.

U.S. residents spent more than $16.2 billion on eyeglasses, contact lenses and other optical products in 2002, and 73% of all U.S. residents wore some kind of vision correction eyewear that year, according to the 2003 U.S. Optical Industry Handbook.

Meanwhile, doctors have performed a total of 4 million laser vision correction procedures.

U.S. residents are paying for most of their eyewear and most of the surgical procedures with cash from their own pockets, without the benefit of a formal provider network that might verify the providers credentials or negotiate discounted rates.

Worse, some workers go for many years without any kind of vision care, doing without exams that might detect conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or the early stages of glaucoma.

The solution: Offer a vision care discount plan as either an employer-paid or an employee-paid benefit. The typical cost of a program that includes coverage for regular eye exams is less than $12 per member per month, which is less than many employees spend on gum.

That small expenditure can improve employees general health, increase their productivity and show the employees that the employer is looking out for them.

The vision care discount programs give program members access to nationwide and regional independent optometrists who provide a substantial savings on eye exams, frames and lensesincluding contact lenses.

The discount card approach is convenient for the benefits advisor because it involves no insurance or risk transfer. Theres no underwriting, and, once the sale is made and recorded, theres no more paperwork.

Paul J. Disser is chairman of Spectrum Vision Systems Inc., Overland Park, Kan., a managed care vision care organization and preferred provider organization. He can be reached at pjdisser@preferredvisioncare.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, August 5, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.