Going the distance on vision care: 4 ways to stretch benefits

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Quick: Name three important facts about your vision benefit. We’ll wait.

The less you know about your vision benefit, the more likely it is you are missing out on unexpected perks. We’re talking beyond annual eye exams and prescription lenses, here. A good vision carrier can offer a mobile app to make appointments and find the nearest doctor, provide educational materials to recognize often-overlooked vision issues and even added savings beyond coverage.

Considering as many as 16 million Americans have undiagnosed or uncorrected vision problems, and vision exams can unearth other health issues including diabetic retinopathy, what you don’t know really could affect you.

Following are 4 fun facts that may help stretch your vision benefit for a better-looking, healthier future.

  1. They’re full of eye candy. Your benefits package is basically a bag of goodies for your eyes, if you understand the terms. For the cost of your premium, vision benefits can help cover services and corrective treatments ranging from annual eye exams to prescription sunglasses by top brands. EyeMed members, on average, save 71% off the retail price of eye exams and glasses at in-network eye doctors.1
  2. It pays to network. Your vision carrier’s website should include a list of “in-network” eye doctors who have agreed to offer their services to members at reduced rates. Out-of-network doctors will likely cost more.2 EyeMed’s list of participating in-network providers range from traditional ophthalmologist or optometrist practices to major retailers, in-store or online.
  3. Save and repeat. When scoping out those eye doctors, check ahead for promotions – either run through the store or through offers available to vision members. It also helps to pay attention to how products are priced in relation to what’s important to you. Providers run the gamut in terms of what they offer, from high-end luxury brands to good quality frames at great everyday prices. For instance, Target Optical® eyewear and lenses are Priced Right Daily®, which means what you see is what you pay. It also means you can count on getting more bang for the buck when your benefits are layered on top.

    The savings often don’t stop there since your vision benefits may extend beyond an annual exam, frames and corrective lenses or contact lenses. Benefits may include discounts on LASIK, eye care products – even hearing exams. EyeMed members, for example, save an additional 20% off the uncovered balances of frames, lenses or lens options from in-network providers. Let’s break it down: If a pair of eyeglass frames is covered up to $120, but costs $1503, EyeMed will apply 20% off the remaining $30.

  4. Flexibility stretches the dollar. As many as 38 million people use employer-offered Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs),4 and each gets a tax break. Here’s how: Benefit members contribute paycheck dollars into the accounts, which are earmarked for out-of-pocket medical expenses, before taxes are deducted. Expenses may include eye exams and corrective prescriptions as well as LASIK surgery. But look sharp: FSAs usually have to be depleted within the tax year, so some companies offer grace periods or let some money roll over.5

It’s pretty clear: Know your facts, and you will see the benefits. The first step is to understand them – see what’s covered, find your ID card and learn the lingo. To use our handy benefits tool, visit us at Understanding Your Benefits.

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  • Based on weighted average of sample transactions; EyeMed Insight network/$10 exam co-pay/ $10 materials co-pay/ $120 frame or contact lens allowance.
  • “Glossary of Vision Insurance Terms,” AllAboutInsurance.com, http://www.allaboutvision.com/vision-insurance/glossary.htm, Accessed April 16, 2019.
  • These discounts are for in-network providers only. Discount excludes exams, contacts, or any other item not specified. Benefits may not be combined with any discount, promotional offering, or other group benefit plans. Standard/Premium Progressive lens not covered-fund as a Bifocal lens. Standard Progressive lens covered-fund Premium Progressive as a Standard. Underwritten by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company of Kansas City, Missouri, except in New York. The Certificate of Insurance is on file with your employer. Benefit allowance provides no remaining balance for future use within the same benefit year. Fees charged for a non-insured benefit must be paid in full to the Provider. Such fees or materials are not covered. All frame brands not available at all locations. Discounts are not insured benefits.
  • “How to maximize the value of flexible spending accounts,” by Sabri Ben-Achour, Dec., 14, 2018, Marketplace, https://www.marketplace.org/2018/12/14/your-money/how-maximize-value-out-fsas; Accessed April 16, 2019
  • Ibid. Accessed April 16, 2019