How Expiring Vision Plan Benefits can Help Create More Sales and Better Patient Relationships

by | Oct 16, 2022

Unless you’re collecting classic comic books, when you buy something you want to be able to use it. Like the managed care your patients pay for—they want to make sure they’re using those benefits. If you can help your patients make sure they are, they’ll appreciate the assistance and remember the quality service you offer. This is especially important as we enter the final months of the year. In other words: benefits season.  

As benefits begin expiring, the end of the year is a crucial time to make sure patients remember to use their vision plans. This way your patients feel the managed care they pay for is worth it and appreciate you even more as an eye care provider. Plus you get to end the year on a high note with additional sales! 

Let’s look at three ways you can help your patients make the most of their managed care during benefits season: 

Start calling patients with unused vision plan benefits 

Often patients don’t know that they have soon-to-expire benefits they can use. We all have our own work, families, and lives to keep up with; how often is the average patient checking their vision plan?  

As their eye-care professional, you can help your patients make sure they’re using their benefits. The first step is to verify which patients have unused benefits. For most vision plans you can use the plan portal. There are additional plan-specific products you can use, as well as software for out-of-network eligibility verification.  

Once you’ve confirmed which patients have unused benefits, you or someone on your team can call each person on the list to set an appointment before the expiration date. Patients will be grateful you’re helping them utilize their vision plans. And for each appointment set, you’ll have a new opportunity to strengthen relationships and sell eyewear.  

Make it easy for patients to make a purchase 

One reason patients don’t remember to use their managed-care benefits is that they don’t think they need new glasses. But an eye exam may tell a different story—one they wouldn’t know unless they come in for an annual appointment. Or maybe they have a child who, after starting a new school year, realizes they need new eyewear for sports or to see better in the classroom. Furthermore, it’s always good for patients to have a backup pair! 

You can make purchasing these additional frames easier by keeping affordable yet durable pieces on hand. If a vision plan’s frame allowance is $150, stay well-stocked with frames below that price point. If you’re concerned about what reimbursement will be on those pieces, find a brand that offers a wholesale price that will keep the cost of goods low and margins high.  

Set pre-appointments for next year 

The pre-appointment is key to helping patients use their vision plan benefits. Setting an appointment now improves the chance your patient will come in next year to use their frame benefit and get their exam and refraction. One way to do this is with the help of good software. Your pre-appointment show rate may not be 100%, but you can use appointment reminders to bridge the gap.  

You should be using pre-appointments with most patients, but it is especially important to try this tactic with the patients who are least likely to use their plan benefits. If you have patients who have left their benefits on the table in the past, make sure you’re prioritizing pre-appointments for them.  

Helping patients get bang for each buck they spend on managed care 

The last few months of the year are a busy time in the industry. This final stretch also provides ample opportunity to strengthen patient relationships and capture more sales in your optical. After what may have been a slow summer, this fall can be a chance to end the year right. Are you ready to help your patients make the most of their vision plans this benefits season?  

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