December 30, 2020
A new year…and new vision care benefits!
Most coverage plans start fresh in January, so now is the ideal time to put a plan in place to maximize your benefits for the upcoming year. Many enrollees get to the end of the year and realize they have run out of time to use their benefits before December, leaving valuable dollars unspent. With medical costs always rising, you want to make sure you use every option available to get what you need for the least amount of money.
The team at Pro-Optix Eye Care has the roadmap you need – here’s some great tips to make sure you take full advantage of every benefit in your vision plan!
#1 – Familiarize Yourself with Your Plan
It’s really important to know exactly what your plan covers. If you have a solid understanding of what you and your family are entitled to, you can chart out a logical spending pattern for the year. This allows you to schedule services done at specific intervals, such as a vision test. You can set aside HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) dollars to cover copays, deductibles and costs for upgrades if you know exactly what they are. You should know what your frame allowance is – some vision plans won’t cover designer frames. Discover what lens upgrades are covered by your plan and how much you’ll pay for them, so you’ll be ready if you’re looking for particular materials or specialized coatings.
Some plans will not allow patients to use benefits for both contact lenses and glasses in the same calendar year. Most of the time, if the patient chooses contact lenses instead of glasses, there is no benefit available for lenses or frames during the year. This is why most eye doctors suggest you use your vision plan dollars toward glasses instead of contacts. If for some reason you can’t continue wearing contacts during the year, or don’t have a pair of backup glasses for emergencies, your plan may not cover them if you choose to use your benefit on contacts.
#2 – Use an Eye Doctor in Your Plan’s Network
Many vision care plans give you “more bang for your buck” if you stick to doctors in their networks. If you have an eye doctor already, call them to verify they are in network with your plan. If you are looking for a provider, choose one from the list provided by your plan. Another great way to find one is to search the web for key phrases such as “eye doctor near me”, “optometrist near me” or “pediatric eye doctor near me”, then enter a doctor’s name into the plan’s searchable provider list on their website. Before you make a final decision, confirm with the provider that he or she is IN NETWORK. Use this specific phrase. Some offices will say they “accept” your plan, but they only offer a discount or out of network benefits instead of full in network benefits. At Pro-Optix Eye Care, we take care to verify each patient’s coverage to ensure that you’ll never pay more than you need to out of pocket.
#3 Get a Comprehensive Vision Exam
While most people will say their sight is their most important sense when surveyed, only 50% of them have an annual eye exam. A comprehensive vision check is almost always covered under a vision plan, and is the cornerstone of better eye health. Eye exams are crucial for children of any age, adults, and the elderly. Without a true picture of where a patient’s vision stands, your optometrist can’t accurately diagnose problems and correct vision deficiencies.
#4 Choose the Right Frames and Lenses
Get an idea of the price ranges your eye doctor offers in the office. If you want to keep your out-of-pocket expenses in check while maximizing your benefits, ask to be shown only combinations of lenses and frames that will meet your vision correction and budgetary needs. This way you’ll know you won’t fall in love with something you can’t afford. Trust your eye doctor to find your exact match of function and fashion!
#5 Ask About Promotions
Many optometrists plan their specials at least a few months in advance. Ask your provider if any of their upcoming promotions will help you extend your benefits. Some popular promotions that stretch your plan dollars include buy one/get one half off, 50% off lenses with frame purchase, discounts on prescription sunglasses or blue light glasses or even discounts dry eye treatments.
#6 Use Benefit Dollars on Prescriptions
If you need eye drops, topical ointments or oral medications prescribed by your eye doctor, make sure to put your plan dollars to work covering the cost!
#7 Be a Good Sport
If you need eye protection for work or organized athletics, consider using plan dollars if these items are covered under your program guidelines.
#8 Change Up Your Look
If you want a little fun, contact lenses that change your eye color or costume lenses for Halloween can be a special treat. Since contact lenses are considered a medical device by the FDA and should only be worn with a prescription by your eye doctor, you can use your FSA dollars to foot the bill.
#9 Splurge on LASIK
If you’ve always wanted to have LASIK surgery, your brand-new bank of FSA dollars can make it happen! The cost of LASIK has continued to drop, making it more affordable. This may be the perfect year to use your vision plan to decrease your dependence on glasses or contacts.
#10 It’s All in the Details
You can use small amounts of leftover FSA dollars for inexpensive everyday things, including accessories for eye care such as cleaning products, storage fluids, lens sprays, wipes, microfiber cloths and glasses cases.
Ready to make a plan for your 2021 vision benefits? Call 713-360-7095 to schedule your appointment with the premier Houston eye doctors today!
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