(Photo: Thinkstock)

Here’s a simple, inexpensive way to get employers and employees thinking about vision benefits: add or improve the contact lens benefits.

Here are three ways contact lens coverage can enhance a client’s vision benefits program.

1. Use “and” instead of “In lieu of.”

Offering coverage for contact lenses and eyeglasses during the same plan period will provide a significant enhancement to a client’s vision plan at a minimal cost.

(Related: 3 Peeks Inside the Trump DOL Pick’s Benefit Plans)

Since contact lens users need glasses when their lenses are out, members will see this as a much richer benefit and clients will benefit from happier employees.

2. Contact lens online retailers accept in-network vision benefit plans.

Most contact lens online retailers offer discounts on popular name brand contact lenses. Some partner with vision benefit managers and can apply vision coverage directly to a member’s order so the member doesn’t need to file a separate claim.

Flexible spending account funds are also accepted at some contact lens online retailers. For those who like to order online, it’s a quick and hassle-free way to get contact lenses.

3. Consider adding a fixed-amount, specialty contact lens fitting benefit.

Specialty contacts often require more visits and provider time to appropriately fit.

You can implement this added benefit without impacting rates by adding a copayment.

Although members pay the copay, they won’t have to pay the provider’s usual and customary charges, which vary and are almost always higher.

Due to the advancements in contact lens technology, many people who previously could not wear contacts can now be fit.

Today, about 25% of all new fittings are done at the specialty level.

Specialty contact lenses include toric lenses, which provide correction for astigmatism; multifocal Lenses, which provide correction for distance and reading; and gas permeable lenses, which provide correction for astigmatism and other conditions, where soft contacts are not appropriate.

—Read Public Exchanges Squint at Vision Market on ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on Facebook and Twitter.