Warby Parker and United Healthcare to Expand Vision Benefits to a Few Markets This Year, Nationally in 2018


MINNETONKA, Minn.—United Healthcare Vision’s new partnership with Warby Parker to enable the online/brick and mortar retailer to accept vision insurance nationally in 2018 began as a pilot in Charlotte, N.C., where some employees at eight companies can take advantage of that option as of today.

That pilot will expand in the next few months to other markets and by 2018, the full national network of United Healthcare Vision's 20 million members will be able to use their benefits in-store or online via Warby Parker, executives told VMail.

As VMail reported yesterday morning, the new program marks the first time Warby Parker will be accepting vision insurance.

United Healthcare Vision’s Lori Archer, senior vice president at UnitedHealthcare Vision, told VMail, “The collaboration with Warby Parker reflects our focus on developing new and innovative collaborations that improve access to eyecare and affordably priced eyewear for all Americans.”

She said the collaboration began with a pilot to serve employees at eight companies in Charlotte, N.C., as Warby Parker has a store in Charlotte (at Atherton Mill) which it opened in March. “We will expand to other markets over the new months – we are still defining these -- and will be national with the program for all United Healthcare Vision members in 2018.”

Archer said that currently about 20 percent to 25 percent of Warby Parker’s brick and mortar locations offer exams or doctor services. So those doctors will be credentialed to the United Healthcare vision network. She emphasized, “United Healthcare Vision recommends that all members see an eye doctor for their regular comprehensive vision exams. We do not provide coverage as a network benefit for online refractions.”

Archer declined to spell out other details of the agreement with Warby Parker. “As is true with any of our provider contracts, the terms of those agreements are proprietary.”

Tom Wiffler, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits, stated on Tuesday, “We are grateful Warby Parker selected UnitedHealthcare to be its first in-network vision plan.”

Currently Warby Parker operates more than 50 stores. Earlier in the year, the company confirmed it was on track to have 70 locations by the end of the year.