The Vision in Health Plan Wellness
By Peter Freska, MPH, CEBS, Benefits Advisor
The LBL Group
A UBA Partner Firm
As one might think, employee wellness programs are still top of mind for many employers. As companies continue to struggle with the rising costs in today’s health care market, they are constantly looking for that silver bullet to kill trends. The most current 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey shows the national average cost increase at 5.6% (2015 data will soon be released). So what is the answer to these ever-increasing costs? Is there a silver bullet? While there may not be a silver bullet, there may be a silver lining if employers look inside their own benefits offerings.
VSP® Vision Care reports that eight out of 10 adults need some type of vision correction, and that they are more likely to get an annual vision exam than an annual medical physical. With this in mind, why not capture the data collected by the vision exam and correlate this back into the medical data? In making this small connection along with the standard claims review processes, it is shown that predictive claims modeling reliability can be increased significantly. In fact, the addition of vision data to the standard inputs can increase R2 precision by more than 10%. This is easily corroborated as a VSP study of 120,000 of its members found that, over a four-year period, eye doctors were the first to detect signs of diabetes 34% of the time; hypertension was 39%, and for cholesterol it was 62% of the time.
If you have a self-funded medical plan, inclusion of vision data is likely the least expensive wellness program that can be incorporated into the program. If you are utilizing predictive modeling, then the inclusion of vision data can be the silver bullet to creating a paradigm shift that kills the standard medical trend and shifts your organization's health plan spending down.
For more information on employer health care costs by size, region and industry—and trends in wellness programs—download UBA’s Health Plan Survey Executive Summary.
To find out if your vision plan is exempt from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), download UBA’s ACA Advisor: “Excepted Benefits - "Limited Scope" Dental and Vision Plans and EAPs”.