In December of 2016, MBGH began a collaboration with the American Optometric Association (AOA) to more thoroughly understand how employers think about, design and implement eye health and vision benefits. This collaboration has been led by an advisory board of health benefits professionals from mid-to-large self-insured companies alongside members of the AOA board and policy leaders. Our research 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 enhance their existing eye health and vision care benefits.
Purpose of Toolkit
- To help employers understand 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 understand the value of doctors of optometry as the primary 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
Employers provide health care benefits as part of their employee recruitment and retention strategy investment in a productive workforce. Traditionally, vision benefits have been offered as a voluntary/elective benefit where the employee pays the full premium, with coverage focused on vision refraction tests and reimbursement and/or discounts for corrective eyewear. This focus on vision correction has created gaps in comprehensive eye health coverage for employees and family members who need comprehensive eye exams with no vision correction, as well as those unable to afford additional vision plan premiums. Eye and health problems may go unrecognized and untreated when vision impairment is treated only with corrective lenses. Many more eye health problems may be occurring besides refractive error.
With digital technology becoming increasingly important in today’s workforce, it’s even more important for employers to pay attention to eye health and offer comprehensive vision benefits.