According to a new study released yesterday from VSP, vision benefits help save employers -- ka-ching! -- nearly $3 billion in health care costs each year, associated with the treatment of chronic diseases detectable via an eye examination.

Analyzing costs at five major corporations with a total 90,000 employees, VSP finds that early detection of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol yielded such savings in the first year alone, directly related to health plan, disability and employee termination costs.

Specifically, companies save nearly $2,900 annually on disease management costs for each employee with diabetes, when the disease is detected early.

When the findings are applied to the past three years for each of the five VSP clients in the study, the results show that nearly 2,000 members received early treatment for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension as a result of their annual eye exams. During that time, each of the five companies realized cost savings of at least $204,000 and as much as $968,000.

When the findings are applied to VSP´s entire membership of 55 million over one year, the results show that:
* Of the nearly 1.5 million people with diabetes, 20% received early treatment as a result of their eye exam.
* Of the close to 2.2 million people with hypertension, 30% received early treatment as a result of their eye exam.

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