Making the Case for Adult Vision Care in the Insurance Exchanges

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO December 06, 2013

There is no doubt about it: Patients place a high value on their vision care programs. Cost savings, performance enhancement, and early disease detection have made vision care a very desirable benefit, even when participation is at the patients’ expense.

While pediatric eye care has been deemed to be an “essential benefit” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), adult vision care is not available in any of the newly formed insurance exchanges. Further, the primary delivery vehicle for vision care—stand-alone vision plans—are also excluded from the exchanges. Doesn't it make sense that the 120 million (including adults) who have vision coverage today should be able to continue that coverage going forward?

We are all familiar with the myriad of challenges in implementation of the new insurance exchanges. Not only are there logistical problems, but an even greater challenge looms in getting people, particularly millennials, to participate. It seems clear that participation will be enhanced if exchange offerings include the services that people most desire. Adult vision care should certainly be made available within the exchanges.

It is important to remember that a lot of good things happen when people enroll in vision care programs. Prevention, optimization, and performance certainly come to mind. After all, vision is our most important primary sensory input channel.

We know that patients seek care more regularly when enrolled in a vision care program. The result is improved patient care and a strong doctor/patient relationship that helps facilitate a seamless bridge from vision care to medical care. And let's not forget, pediatric patients will become adults all too soon, and their eye care needs will continue.

As I See It, people place a very high value on their vision care programs. The addition of adult vision care to the offerings found within the insurance exchanges would provide a valuable service which people want to buy and will use.

Learn more about the ACA and the exchanges:

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