ByMartha R. Camara

Jun 13, 2022

Changing perceptions of vision care and insurance

Of survey respondents who have had an eye exam in the past two years, 70% say the ability to identify eye diseases is a valuable service offered by ophthalmologists, up from 65% last year . To add, 61% say the ability to identify other serious illnesses is a high-value service offered by eye care providers, up slightly from 59% last year. This indicates a gradual increase in the importance consumers place on their eye care visits, which we may continue to see in the years to come as more people consider the care resources that support their health. overall.

Virtual eye care options have a greater influence on how people seek eye care in the future, and how likely they are to do so. In fact, more than a third (37%) of respondents believe that telemedicine is a very important health topic in general. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents say access to virtual visits and telemedicine would make them more likely to make an appointment with an eye doctor, and nearly a third (31%) say access virtual visits and telemedicine would make them more likely to purchase vision insurance, a 10% increase over last year.

“The pandemic has created an increased desire for telemedicine which is here to stay, even in the field of eye health,” says Dr. Marc Ruchman Chief Medical Officer at Versant Health. “The ‘new normal’ for insurers and managed care organizations that engage members and patients in their holistic health includes innovation in how they access and experience technology-enabled vision care services. “

Beyond telemedicine, consumer opinion on eye care and insurance is impacted by virtual access to communication with physicians. Over a third (39%) of respondents who have had an eye exam in the past two years say that communicating virtually/remotely with their eye doctor has a high impact on them seeing them more often, compared to 31% who said the same last year. Additionally, a third (34%) say being able to buy glasses online has a big impact on their ability to see an eye doctor more often, compared to 27% who said the same last year. Among respondents who do not have vision insurance, half (50%) believe that being able to use insurance to buy eyeglasses online would make them more likely to purchase vision insurance, compared to 41% last year. last.

The social determinants of eye health

Costs of care and lack of insurance coverage are often the biggest barriers to vision care for low-income households (i.e., earning less than $35,000 per year). More than a quarter (28%) of low-income households report having no vision insurance that covers their eye care costs, compared to 15% of middle-income households (those earning between $35,000 and $75,000 annually) and 9% of high-income households (those earning more than $75,000 annually) who say the same thing. More than a third (35%) of low-income households say cost and affordability are the reason they don’t see an eye doctor as often as they would like, compared to 23% of middle-income households and 16% of high-income households.

Potentially resulting from concerns about the costs of care, low-income households are expressing interest in cost containment measures they can take at home and affordable access to care. The majority (87%) of low-income households say getting nutrition advice for better eye health would make them more likely to make an appointment with an eye doctor, compared to 66% of high-income households who are OK. To add, 53% of low-income households say their household members would visit an eye doctor more often if virtual communication for advice and information and booking appointments were options, compared to 34% of households in high income.

“Our health outcomes are directly linked to our socioeconomic status,” says Liz Klunk, RNBSN, CCM-R, Head of Medical Management Strategy and Development at Versant Health, Inc. “We believe that health plans and managed vision care partners can play an important role in solving social determinants issues through advanced member outreach program design that improves access to care in the face of societal inequities.The proof is in member outcomes, and we’ve seen it work.

Additional findings from the third annual Vision Wellbeing Study include:

  • Differences in demographic experiences of eye care: Households with children are concerned about the affordability of eye care: 48% of people with children in the household said that a very important health topic is how to create a savings fund for eye care. emergency, compared to only 28% of people without children in the household. housework. Alternatively, working-age adults prioritize the convenience of their working lives, with 33% of respondents under 40 citing their work schedule as a reason for not seeing the eye doctor as often as they would like. Older people are most interested in seeing their eye doctor more than they currently do, 67% of respondents aged 60+ said being able to get routine eye exams covered more frequently was a great value.
  • The need for Medicaid in terms of cost and convenience: Respondents with Medicaid who have had an eye exam in the past two years most often say that the reason members of their household do not get an eye exam as often as they would like is the cost/ lack of transportation at 17%, no telemedicine option at 19%, and lack of clarity about whether they have vision insurance at 13%. To add, 20% of Medicaid respondents said they needed new glasses but delayed for financial reasons, more than the 15% of general population respondents who say the same. Yet 85% of Medicaid respondents say coverage for eye exams would have a high impact on their likelihood of purchasing vision care insurance, compared to 71% of general population respondents, and 75% of respondents from Medicaid say access to virtual visits/telemedicine would make them more likely to make an appointment with an eye doctor, compared to 65% of respondents in the general population.


Versant Health’s third annual vision wellness study, conducted between February 7 and February 18, 2022, included a survey by Market Measurement, a custom market research company. The survey includes 558 responses from consumers aged 18 and over. The survey covered their opinions on routine eye care, access to eye exams, preventative health measures, costs of care and other topics related to managed vision care and insurance. .

About Versant Santé

Versant Health, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., is a leading national managed vision care company serving more than 38 million customer-members nationwide. Through our independent provider networks Davis Vision and Superior Vision, we help members access the wonders of sight through healthy eyes and vision. Administering vision and eye health solutions ranging from access to routine vision benefits to medical management, Versant Health has unique visibility and scale across the entire eye health value chain. As a result, our client members enjoy a seamless experience with access to one of the broadest supplier networks in the industry and an exclusive frame collection. Commercial groups, employer-sponsored plans, and health plans that serve government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid and Medicare are some of our valued customers.

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SOURCE Health Versant