How to Choose the Best Vision Insurance for Employee Benefits

Vision care is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. A person only gets 1 pair of eyes, and at least 61% of the US adult population needs some sort of corrective lenses.

Without vision insurance, each routine eye exam can cost around $100. After that, a decent pair of glasses or contacts can cost a person upwards of another $100-$200.

Between the sizes of the provider networks, to monthly premiums, coverage details, and more, vision insurance shopping can be daunting. This is especially the case for professionals who manage employee benefits who are trying to take care of a group of people and their vision needs. For them, applying vision insurance to a health package should be a top priority.

Comprehensive eye health for an employee plays a part in their overall productivity as it helps enable them to do their jobs effectively. Proper eye care reduces the chance of emergencies due to poor vision, like car accidents during an employee’s commute. This would be detrimental to their lives and their ability to do their jobs well, if at all.

Emergencies aside, the world is becoming more technologically advanced, and staring at computers all day can take a toll on the eyes. Just having an extra layer of protection against blue light emitted from screens can reduce the number of headaches, eye strain, and blurred vision.

Plus, 87% of surveyed employees declared that they are more likely to stay with a business if they are offered vision benefits of some sort. That said, employers should be seeking the best strategies for finding high-quality, cost-effective vision care for their employees.

How many employees justify group vision insurance?

From small businesses to enterprises; companies of all sizes can have group insurance. Technically, a company in most states only needs 2 employees to be eligible for group insurance. Businesses with 2-50 employees are considered small businesses and can still qualify for a small group health program.

The Affordable Care Act requires that companies with 50 full-time employees or more report health coverage. This law also includes health insurance companies and self-insuring employers of any size.

While this doesn’t encompass vision coverage, only 35% of employers offer vision insurance. This is a small percentage, considering the massive size and growth of businesses as of late. Companies of all sizes should consider taking on vision care costs to gain a leg up on the competition in a stingy job market.

How much do group vision benefits cost?

Contrary to what many believe, group vision benefits are relatively affordable. Monthly costs per employee can vary from $5 to $15. Businesses that go through the Small Business Health Options Program may be eligible for tax credits that credit 50% of premiums paid.

Bundling vision insurance with other benefit plans can help reduce costs even further.

Bundling vision insurance with other benefit plans can help reduce costs even further. Many group health companies will offer bundled discounts, with more benefits added to a plan.

Coupling life insurance and dental with vision and health insurance could curb some of the costs involved with a comprehensive benefits package and will look extremely appealing to potential talent.

Vision care costs can be paid fully, or partially by the employer unless they’re offered voluntarily to the employee. Voluntary benefits allow employees to have power over their coverage expenses.

This can give them a choice of enrolling and paying for all or part of their vision benefits as they see fit, and effectively minimizes costs for the employer as it reduces it down to a needed basis.

To find the best competitive prices possible, it will help to do some shopping before coming to a final decision. Insurance companies offer varying prices depending on the volume of policyholders and the level of benefits sought.

What do vision insurance plans cover?

Under the Affordable Care Act, all plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace include vision coverage for children ages 19 and younger. People can purchase “standalone” vision insurance for adults separately outside the Marketplace.

When shopping for vision insurance, it’s important to understand that vision insurance and medical insurance plans operate a little differently.

For one, medical insurance plans often offer unlimited benefits after a certain number of deductibles are met. Vision insurance could operate as discounted wellness benefits plans, which only provide coverage for specific features.

Essentially, vision insurance under a health benefit will cover part or all costs incurred from eye exams and glasses. This includes lenses (for glasses and contacts) and frames for glasses. Typically, vision coverage renews each year, allowing enough room for annual exams and a new pair of glasses or contacts each year.

Vision coverage usually doesn’t cover surgeries or procedures, such as Lasik or cataract surgery. Some plans will help with partial payments for these. However, ultimately, surgical procedures will be the responsibility of medical insurance or the patient to cover.

Other eye care costs that aren’t typically covered in full by insurance include bifocals, certain coatings, polarization, and designer frames.

There may be some upgrades to policies that an employee can voluntarily choose. That may make vision insurance more worthwhile. This could include the option to raise a cost allowance per year or an additional cost.

What should employers look for in a vision insurance provider?

There are a variety of vision insurance companies available for employers. Finding the best one that provides cost-effective, high-quality care doesn’t have to be challenging.

There are a few key features to look for in a vision insurance provider that will meet the needs of employers and all of their hardworking staff members.

Network providers

A provider network consists of a list of healthcare providers who provide vision care to members of an insurance provider. For vision, these can look like independent vision practitioners, retail chains such as LensCrafters, and online providers like Glasses.com.

It will help a company to know what these providers look like and if there is availability for them in their area. Some great insurance companies can have thousands of providers that span a variety of areas. Vision insurance purchasers should also see if access to outside-network providers is allowed, and at what cost.

Coverages

Each company will have various coverages that they will offer. For example, some companies don’t cover add-ons for retinal scans, pupil dilation, or Lasik assistance.

A good choice for vision insurance will cover the basic treatment of eye problems and illnesses. It will also include an allowance for corrective eyewear. Allowing full or partial payment for surgeries is a plus.

waiting period

Some vision insurance companies will allow their customers to start using their plans immediately.

However, some require a short waiting period. This may be an inconsequential 30 days for some employers. However, it could matter to some small companies on a budget trying to quickly act health and vision plans for their employees.

Consider offering vision insurance to stay competitive

If an employer doesn’t currently offer vision insurance, there’s no better time to start. The post-pandemic job market is more competitive than ever, and the best talent is only going to look for careers with companies that have their best health interests in mind.

Businesses should begin looking over their budget for the next year concerning healthcare costs. There are ways to successfully apply vision insurance to existing benefits packages and create a happy and healthy work environment.

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