Some public health insurance exchange managers are still thinking about adding vision benefits coverage.
Backers of the proposals see adding vision benefits programs as a way to help consumers, generate commission revenue or fee revenue for the exchange programs, and, possibly, expand insurance company support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange system.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires public exchanges to offer major medical coverage and encourages them offer dental insurance. It lets them offer stand-alone vision coverage, and it lets them provide access to landing pages that direct consumers to outside websites that sell other types of products, such as disability insurance or long-term care insurance.
In the District of Columbia, for example, companies that sell dental insurance and vision insurance, but not major medical coverage, have complained about the district taxing them to pay for exchange operations even though the DC Health Link exchange does not let them sell products through the exchange.
The board of Covered California, California’s state-based exchange, talked at a recent meeting about a proposal to offer links to vision plan issuers’ websites as early as the 2016 open enrollment period, which is set to start Nov. 1.