How employers can help employees take advantage of vision benefits
Open enrollment season can be hectic, and vision benefits may not always be a top priority. But that doesn’t mean the offering isn’t important for employees — or that it shouldn’t be encouraged by employers.
To help educate employees on how to make the most of their vision benefit, here are three helpful tips for plan sponsors.
Tip No. 1: Encourage use of the website for answers to questions. Most vision carriers offer an open enrollment portal on their website to let employees view vision benefit coverage options and what’s available to them. Here are some basics that will help employees take full advantage of their vision benefit coverage:
· What costs am I responsible for?
1. Co-pay, if one applies
2. Anything over the frame allowance. Frame allowance is what the benefit pays toward eyeglass frames.
3. If contact lenses and eyeglasses are not covered during the same plan period, the employee must choose one or the other. Most choose to pay out of pocket for their contact lenses or wait for the next benefit period to purchase them.
· Is my eye doctor in the network? If not, how can I recommend the eye doctor to my vision carrier to include them in the network?
· Are there additional discounts on in-network services?
· Are there special discounts on items including laser eye surgery, contact lenses and eyeglass lenses?
Enrolled employees can find answers to these questions in their benefit brochure or on their vision carrier’s website.
Tip No. 2: Explain how flexible spending account dollars can go hand in hand with vision coverage. No one wants to lose their flexible spending account dollars at the end of the year. Employers should encourage employees to use FSA dollars toward purchases of vision care services or products such as contact lenses, LASIK surgery and eyeglasses.
Tip No. 3: Spread the word about your vision benefit. According to a new survey conducted by Namely, a human resources software company, employees feel rushed during the open enrollment process. Most vision carriers offer communication materials to share at open enrollment. A way to easily address open-enrollment frustration and confusion is to send multiple reminders out at various times through different channels, such as e-mail, the company’s intranet and paycheck inserts.
This strategy can give your employees ample time to digest the data and make an informed decision. If you need more materials, ask your vision carrier to provide you with variations of the message, as well as helpful tips to maximize benefits.