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What is an underutilized benefits plan costing your company?

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Open enrollment is an important time for your organization. It’s an opportunity to take inventory of the benefits offered to employees to ensure plans are being utilized and encourage your team to engage with their insurance options and additional fringe perks.

Of course, some of the most important benefits offered by employees surround health and wellness. Investing in the right health, dental and vision plan can make a major difference for your company, that is, of course, only if it’s properly utilized by employees.

Enrolling employees in an insurance plan and engaging them with said coverage is half the battle for benefits managers, but it’s well worth it considering the overarching benefits of a well-utilized plan.

Here, we will explore what risks an underutilized vision plan poses to your organization to understand the importance of involving employees with their eye health.

Why do employees dislike open enrollment?

As benefit managers organize their materials and create packets to share insurance information with employees, it’s likely that teams are dreading the period to come. MetLife reported that the majority of workers feel overwhelmed by the open enrollment process. As careful as the benefits manager is at crafting materials that explain the organization’s new offerings and plan changes, employees still feel that this is information overload and have difficulty finding the information they need.

These feelings typically result in rushed decision-making, and the same report found that a quarter of employees only spend a few minutes reviewing the information provided by their benefits manager before making their decision. For vision insurance, in particular, it’s also important to clearly articulate the benefits of the plan. Vision Monday reported that 59% of employees who did not enroll in their company’s vision plan said they would have if they knew they could experience better vision, and 53% said they would if they knew how routine vision care would contribute to their overall health.

Open Enrollment Success

This shows us that if organizations don’t present information on benefits in a way that’s digestible and relevant to workers or overlook giving employees enough time to review all the materials, it’s likely their plans will be underutilized.

An underutilized vision plan is never ideal for an organization, here are just a few ways it could be impacting your company:

Increased medical costs

Reducing medical spend is a top priority for many organizations, and benefits managers should not overlook the role visions benefits play in accomplishing this. A routine eye exam can detect more than 25 medical conditions and approximately 20% of diabetics learned of their condition through a visit to an eye care professional.

Gallup reported that diabetes adds an estimated $245.5 billion to health care utilization annually, which is no small number for businesses to handle. On the other hand, Biomedix found that diabetic patients who had early screenings and intervention for their condition received earlier treatment, which led to fewer hospital admissions, clinic visits and ultimately patient savings.

In all, if the vision plan is underperforming, there is a higher risk that the organization will be paying more for medical expenses in the long run. When employees are not partaking in routine eye care, it’s harder to detect other diseases and make early intervention possible.

Reduced productivity

How many hours are employees spending looking at screens? The American Optometric Association found that 58% of adults have experienced digital eye strain. The fact of the matter is that even when employees are taking a break from their work, they are likely checking their email or on their phone still viewing a screen.

Digital eye strain can lead to dry, tired eyes and blurry vision that can make it hard for workers to concentrate and cause them to take more breaks. Furthermore, the Vision Impact Institute found that the lost productivity as a result of a visual impairment costs the global economy approximately $272 billion.

When employees receive routine eye care, they can benefit from the eyewear and preventative care necessary to help maintain their vision and work efficiency.

Increased turnover

In a recent study, Harvard Business Review found that 88% of employees give health, dental and vision insurance some or heavy consideration when choosing a job. Vision benefits are desired by employees, so it’s important to offer a plan that meets their needs as this can help retain and attract top talent. If an employee feels like they don’t understand or utilize their employer-sponsored vision plan, they may seek better benefits from a different job.

It’s vital to ensure that your organization is utilizing their vision plan. By presenting the correct materials and explaining the coverage in a way that employee’s understand, the entire organization can benefit from healthier, happier and more productive employees. When you invest in your employees’ vision health, you’re investing in the longevity of your company. To find out more about how to maximize open enrollment for your organization, contact Versant Health today.

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