LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP), with the support of Transitions Optical, Inc., has released a consensus paper, "Invigorating Interest in the Vision Benefit," and will share paper highlights during a one-hour webinar scheduled for 1 p.m. EST on November 12, 2013. The paper summarizes presentations and discussions from a roundtable of NAVCP member medical directors, which focused on strategies to increase interest in the vision benefit, even within a crowded health care climate.
"The Affordable Care Act and its impact on health benefit strategy is the big topic with most employers these days -- but where does that leave specialty health benefits like vision?" said Julian Roberts, executive director, NAVCP and NASHO. "Employers already struggle to find the time to educate employees on the importance of this powerful wellness tool, yet it is more important than ever to get employees to prioritize vision care."
The paper notes that employees are spending more time at work, and are straining their eyes more through increased use of digital devices inside and outside the office. Growing groups within the workforce, such as the aging population and ethnic minorities, are also at higher risk of eye and overall health disease that can reduce visual and general work performance. Yet, continued economic pressures and competing priorities are threatening to cause even more employees to put off getting the vision care and vision wear they need to see their best and protect their eye health. According to the paper, this is a missed opportunity for employers to see significant savings, including through increased employee productivity -- an angle underutilized to pique employer interest.
The paper also notes several favorable trends creating opportunity for the vision benefit, such as increasing interest in the material side of the benefit (eyeglasses and contacts), driven by technology advancements and consumer advertising.
"Today's employees have the opportunity to see better than ever, with advancements in lens technology -- and employees consistently show interest in the eyewear side of the benefit," said roundtable presenter Smith Wyckoff, key account manager, managed vision care/online retail for Transitions Optical. "In fact, our research shows nine out of 10 employees say it's important that their vision benefits cover the latest lens technologies, yet more than half aren't even aware what lens options are covered by their plans."
Roundtable participants strategized several steps that NAVCP member plans and others within the optical industry can take to increase interest in the vision benefit. They suggest promoting consistent and persuasive messaging to consumers about prioritizing their eyes, and incorporating messages about prevention, productivity and product into their vision benefit communications. They also urge member plans to offer coverage options for higher-performing lenses that enhance and protect vision to maximize the health and productivity of employees, as a way to promote quality in the vision care industry and meet the expectations of today's employees.
Information about the National Association of Vision Care Plans can be found at www.NAVCP.org.
 2012 Employee Perceptions of Managed Vision Care survey
 2011 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey
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