Superior Vision to Modify New Contact Lens Program After Sharp Feedback from Independent Optometrists


RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—In response to strong feedback over the past week from independent optometrists about a new contact lens program which Superior Vision originally planned to introduce in May, a spokesperson for the managed vision care company told VMail yesterday that Superior is “taking a step back to evaluate the components” of the program and has developed a new contact lens ordering system for its providers to order elective contact lenses for Superior Vision’s members.

The spokesperson said that this new program would not be introduced on May 1 and was unable to provide more details at press time. She said, “The ordering system is for the covered benefit, and enables real-time interaction with Superior’s claims system for benefit calculations. This program aims to promote competitive pricing and ease-of-use to help providers retain Superior Vision members within their practices. We value our relationship with our providers and the role they play in delivering quality care to our members. Superior Vision is committed to making vision care affordable for our members, as well as enhancing their vision care access. We stand behind that goal.” She added, “The future of the Contact Lens Program will be communicated soon to our provider partners.”

Originally, Superior Vision, in a letter to its providers March 7, informed them about a new mandatory contact lens program and fee schedule that required its independent optometrist providers to order elective contact lenses for all covered members from a new centralized web portal or dedicated phone number.

The letter explained that the proposed Superior contact lens contract would have increased providers’ contact lens fitting reimbursement by $5.00, but it would prevent them from receiving any of the revenue from the sale of contact lenses through the new program. The online computer ordering program was to have been fulfilled by ABB Optical Group. In the days following that Superior communication, after feedback from its customers, ABB has decided not to participate in the program.

Angel Alvarez, CEO of ABB, told VMail, “We never talked about the arrangement, and Superior sent out the letter without our knowing it or approving it.” As a result, in response to complaints from independent optometrists and ABB’s lack of knowledge of Superior’s planned reimbursement to providers, Alvarez said, “We decided ABB Group will not be moving forward with the fulfillment arrangement with Superior Vision.”

Prior to the cancellation of the agreement, both companies stressed that ABB’s involvement would have been strictly one of fulfillment and would not have involved any additional revenue resulting from providers’ online orders of contact lenses. “ABB was selected as the source in which the contact lenses will be fulfilled. ABB has no involvement in the decision of programs and policies of Superior Vision or any other provider,” ABB had stated in its communications to providers prior to cancelling its involvement in the program.

With 8.5 million members, Superior Vision became one of the country’s largest vision benefits providers after its recent merger with Block Vision, as reported by VMail Dec. 4, 2013.