Vision Insurance Trends to Incorporate in Your Benefit Plans

Employees increasingly rank vision insurance as one of the most important benefits. Here’s how to get the right plan for your employees.

Vision insurance has quickly become a coveted employer-sponsored benefit. More than half of the employees surveyed in MetLife’s 2017 Employee Benefit Trends Study ranked vision coverage as an essential benefit. Most consider vision even more important than short- and long-term disability insurance, critical illness insurance or accident insurance. Transitions Optical, Inc., found even more positive results in its annual Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefit survey. Eight in 10 employees who were offered a vision plan through their employer chose to enroll.

Millennials, those born beginning in 2000, are the employees most likely to use vision benefits. According to Transitions Optical, 30 percent of employees aged 18 to 34 used vision benefits more than once in the past year, compared to 18 percent of Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) and 17 percent of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

Why They Like Vision Care

One reason for increased demand in vision benefits is that more people are experiencing eye strain. The development of new technology — both in the workforce and for recreation — is harder on eyes. Pew Research Center reports that almost nine-in-ten Americans are online, up from about half in the early 2000s. The technology includes smart phones, tablets, laptop computers, desktop computers, television and video games.

Thorough vision exams can also detect other health issues. HCMS Group reports that eye exams play an important role in preventive  healthcare. People who get annual comprehensive eye exams are more likely to get treatment for serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Simply offering vision coverage isn’t enough, though. It needs to be the right coverage. Here are some of the most popular features of vision plans today.

Vision Care Trends

Trendy eyeglasses and Lasik surgeries still are popular, but technology that helps people see better is important, too. Employees want access to premium lens brands that feature:

  • Lens color and tint – Block blue light and enhance contrast and depth perception making glasses helpful for overcast, hazy and foggy conditions
  • Impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses – Polycarbonate lenses are as much as 10 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass lenses and provide 100 percent protection from the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays
  • Photochromic options – Lenses that darken when activated by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation
  • Anti-reflective coatings – Coatings applied to the surfaces of lenses and other optical elements to reduce reflection.
  • Thinner lenses that feature light protection – Reduce eyestrain and fatigue.

Since employees are now paying for more of their own health expenses, they are turning to other benefits, such as vision and dental, to reduce total health costs. For example, they also want coverage for procedures such as dental implants, which traditionally aren’t covered, and white dental fillings instead of silver.

Employees also want to choose optometrists and ophthalmologists who have good reputations and convenient locations and hours. To meet that demand, you should look for a large network. EyeMed Vision Care reports that 95 percent of employees will use an in-network provider when it’s a provider with a lot of options.

Wellness plans should include education about eye care. The more your employees know about taking care of their eyesight, the lower their eye care costs could be.

For more information about vision insurance, please contact USI Northeast.

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