Eye Care Benefits Toolkit

Building the Business Case: Background

Employers provide health care benefits as part of an employee recruitment and retention strategy and as an investment in a productive workforce. Traditionally, vision benefits have been offered as voluntary or elective, where the employee pays the full premium. Coverage is focused on vision tests and reimbursement and/or discounts for corrective eyewear.

This focus on vision correction has created inadequate eye health coverage for employees and covered dependents who need comprehensive eye exams with no vision correction or those unable to afford additional vision benefit plan premiums. Eye and other general health problems may go unrecognized and untreated when employees think vision impairment is addressed only with corrective lenses. Delayed medical treatment for eye and other health problems covered under the health plan may be too late, and much more expensive for employers and employees in the long run.

Another challenge related to eye health is digital technology, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s workforce. Considering the impact of digital screens and devices on eye health, it’s even more important for employers to pay attention to eye health and the vision benefits offered to employees and covered dependents.

Learn more about Computer Vision Syndrome from the American Optometric Association.

Project Overview

Since 2016, MBGH has collaborated with the American Optometric Association (AOA) to better understand how employers think about, design and implement eye health and vision benefits. This collaboration is led by an advisory board of health benefits professionals from mid-to-large self-insured companies alongside members of the AOA. The advisory board’s research has focused on the use and value of existing eye health programs and vision benefits, and how improved plan designs could provide better overall health improvements and lower cost. This toolkit is designed to provide employers with information and recommendations for how to evaluate and potentially enhance their existing eye health and vision care benefits.

Purpose of Toolkit

  • To help employers recognize how primary and preventive eye care can be integrated into an overall medical benefit design leading to lower costs and better employee health
  • To support employers in creating strategies to positively impact employee use of eye health benefits
  • To appreciate the value of doctors of optometry as the primary care providers for employee eye health
  • To create a deeper understanding of the benefits of annual comprehensive eye exams to improve employee health, job satisfaction, quality of life and productivity