More Vision Benefits Choice, While Keeping it Easy for Clients

This is part of a special advertising section featuring case studies offering solutions to benefits challenges.

For this large, national EyeMed Vision Care client, a leading omnichannel retailer serving small businesses, the secret to their success is offering an extensive choice of cost-effective solutions, making it easier for a wide range of customers to conduct everyday business.

When viewing its employee-vision plan, this particular EyeMed client already knew that offering a vision plan was a highly effective, low-cost strategy to increase employee satisfaction and productivity and promote a healthier workforce. It also realized that offering only a one-size-fits-all vision plan was unlikely to satisfy a diverse workforce.

Many of its employees were satisfied with a basic, traditional plan, yet others wanted more from their eyewear plan. Advances in vision-exam technology and lenses, as well as the appeal of fashionable frames, had opened a gap between what employees wanted and what their benefits covered. Employees who wanted more were willing to pay more in pre-tax vision premium up front, in order to spend significantly less at the cash register when purchasing eyewear.

EyeMed's multi-tiered solution was easy for them to appreciate. It infused choice for the company's members without complicating administration for the employer.

A Data-Driven Solution

So, what drove this client to choose EyeMed's multi-tiered solution? It was the extensive pilot data that EyeMed had been gathering and analyzing with employers, validating its multi-tiered plan concept. Compared to typical tiered plans that were offering very low base plans, EyeMed's concept started with the employer's existing traditional base plan and added a platinum-equivalent "buy-up" plan option.

EyeMed's pilot data from employers showed significant increases in employee vision-plan utilization, including an increase in exams, which can help with employer wellness goals. Members also reported greater satisfaction with the plan's overall value, its pre-tax savings and decreased out-of-pocket costs at the cash register. Other supporting EyeMed pilot points of interest include:

* Managed vision-care-plan members with a traditional (base) plan typically pay 30 percent of costs in premiums and 70 percent at the register -- an imbalance causing a less satisfactory experience.

* More than half of employees choose to buy up to the enhanced plan.

* 95 percent of employees stay in the network.

"The data clearly showed that one-size-fits-all plans frequently miss the mark," says Kevin Hilst, EyeMed Vision Care senior vice president. "When our client saw this evidence, it knew it had to take a closer look."

"EyeMed's solution made it really simple to evaluate our needs and create the enhanced plan design we needed for our employees," according to the head of benefits for this EyeMed client company. "More than half of our employees have chosen the enhanced plan. We're seeing increases in exam and eyewear utilization with the plan, and it's been easy to implement. Partnering with EyeMed was a great decision."

More Choice Means Happier Employees, Easy Administration

After confirming the approach through data on actual employer plan use, including this large client's success, EyeMed launched a product in 2013 now called EyePrefer. Since then, more than half of employees who are offered a choice select the enhanced option. EyeMed also proved that offering choice doesn't need to complicate vision benefits for employees or administrators.

EyeMed's exclusive online member tool called EyeNav helps employees decide which option is best for them. They answer questions about their lifestyle and vision needs, and EyeNav recommends the option that is most likely to deliver the best value for their needs.

EyeMed also provides brokers and employers with helpful tools and custom consultation to review the economic benefits of EyePrefer. This determines the right plan-design needs for the clients' employees, including utilization levels and out-of-pocket costs.

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Company: A Fortune 500 company

Headquarters: Northeast United States

Primary Business: An omnichannel retailer that serves small businesses.

Benefits Challenge: A new approach to a multi-tier vision benefit that meets diverse and changing employee needs, increases satisfaction, lowers out-of-pocket costs, and supports employer health-and-wellness goals.

Jun 17, 2014
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