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Eyeglasses.com CEO Cautions Consumers about
Vision Coverage; Calls for Lawmakers to Take Action
Public should understand the true costs and cost shifting implications for all
WESTPORT Conn. (Jan. 27, 2016) – Mark Agnew, chief executive officer of Westport, Conn.-based Eyeglasses.com, is cautioning consumers on the implications of adding eyewear benefits to their health care plans.
Sold often as add-ons or options to employer health insurance plans, eyewear benefits are commonly misinterpreted as insurance. However, the terms are tightly limited and do not provide coverage for catastrophes. Premiums are typically quoted at $1 to $4 per week which has entices more than 105 million people to add these programs to their coverage each year. This amounts to an additional $52 to $204 in annual costs, and a large percentage of customers fail to use their benefits during the year, which further increases profits for insurance companies.
“The marketing of this ‘coverage’ has led to a spike in the national price for eyewear,” said Mark Agnew, chief executive officer, Eyeglasses.com. “Insurance companies state that the average retail price for insurance covered eyewear is $414 to $513. To support these high costs, retailers must raise their prices to the detriment of those without insurance.”
“It’s important that public policy is implemented to reign in this practice,” added Agnew. “According to the Vision Council, 185 million people, or 75.5 percent of the adult population in the United States, require vision correction. Eyewear coverage imposes direct, definable price inflation and 48 million people who need glasses do not have them.”
Eye care providers also are affected. The market forces them to increase their prices in order to discount them later, which simultaneously affects those without insurance. These providers are forced to spend less quality time with each patient to increase the quantity of patients to compete with the high insurance costs.
According to Agnew, on average those with vision coverage pay $60 in premiums in addition to $90 in co-pays for a total of $150, and are limited to just one use of the benefits per year. However, he said that a non-insured shopper can find $150 glasses through a quality retailer without wasting money on premiums.
“One way around the inflated costs of eyewear for those who have already opted into vision plans is to make use of the “out of network benefits,” said Agnew. “This option allows consumers to purchase their eyewear anywhere and then submit an invoice to the insurance company for their benefits.”
In lieu of industry regulations, Agnew encourages those in need of vision correction to examine their eyewear benefits carefully in an effort to keep the cost of eyeglasses down while simultaneously maintaining the quality of provider care that consumers have become accustomed to.
Eyeglasses.com is a high-quality, high-service provider of eyewear with online and retail store operations. The company partners with the world's largest and best quality lens laboratory to craft its lenses using the finest materials. Eyeglasses.com service quality has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau, Shopper Approved, and BizRate. Of all the online eyewear companies, Eyeglasses.com has the highest rating from the Better Business Bureau (A+) for the last 14 years.
The company prides itself on educating and empowering consumers to make informed decisions about buying eyewear.