Vision Insurance or Managed Care?

According to the Vision Council VisionWatch, Consumer Study in the 1 st quarter of 2020,50.3% of U.S. adults have some form of vision insurance or managed vision care (MVC)benefits. Yet most private eyecare practices have 80% to 90% of patients with MVC. We believe two factors are driving this phenomenon. First, if a patient has an MVC plan, they are more likely to visit their eye care provider regularly, so the plan is doing its job of getting the patients through the door.

Second, patients that don’t have MVC are more likely to go to other providers, including chains, big boxes, on-line sources, and discounters due to two things: these providers are marketing to them, and the perceived lower cost. Most private practices spend little to nothing on marketing, believing that the MVC panels to which they belong will bring the patients in. While that is true, they are bringing in the lower-reimbursing MVC patients rather than the usual and customary cash-paying patients.

If you want to bring more cash business into your practice, you need to market to these patients. Your website can do most of the work, but you should also budget a percentage of revenue to fund a reasonable marketing plan. The classic number is 3% of revenue, so if your practice generates $800,000 per year, you would budget $24,000 to marketing. Finally, have in-office programs that cater to the cash-paying patient, including discounts for full payment on the day of service, “sale” products, etc. A good place for the frames that you might normally return to vendors may be the “sale” frame board in the practice, where these products are listed for 50% off with the purchase of lenses.

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