NAVCP User Survey Indicates Consumers with Stand-Alone Vision Plans Get More Eye Exams

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INDIANAPOLIS—Last week, the National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP) released more details about its first benefits-utilization survey, conducted with imput from 10 major managed-vision companies. The survey, previewed at the NAVCP's annual conference in late April, indicates that consumers who belong to stand-alone vision care plans are twice as likely to get an annual comprehensive eye exam as those whose vision coverage is "bundled" with their major medical plan.

That is, 33.3 percent of the consumers surveyed who belong to stand-alone vision plans that offer coverage for both exams and eyeglasses or contact lenses got annual eye exams, vs. 16.3 percent of those enrolled in major medical plans with similar vision coverage. In the case of children, 29 percent of those enrolled in stand-alone vision plans used their benefits, compared to 12.5 percent of those children whose parents have vision benefits bundled into their medical plans.

The survey included data from nine vision-plan providers that are primary NAVCP members, plus VSP Vision Care, which is an allied member through its Eyefinity/OfficeMate division.

The study, conducted by an independent research firm, reviewed eye-exam usage patterns of nearly 85 million Americans enrolled in vision benefits programs during 2008 and 2009. According to the NAVCP, "The results indicate that vision plan membership has been increasing and eye exams have been utilized at a higher growth rate than membership, indicating consumers value the wellness component of their vision benefits that allows for the recognition of symptoms of chronic disease, as well as assessment of the need for vision correction."

The organization added in a statement, "The study further bolsters the NAVCP's position that stand-alone vision plans should be included within the health-care exchanges contemplated by the recently passed health-care reform legislation."

According to NAVCP's president, Richard Sanchez, who is also president and chief executive officer of Advantica, "Stand-alone vision plans offer a vital service and are an integral part of health-care delivery in our country. In order to ensure related improvements in overall health, and medical cost control for Americans, it is essential that stand-alone vision plans are widely available as part of the new health care landscape."