The Vision Council Releases Vision Coverage Report
Alexandria, VA (October 14, 2008) - While concerns about the economy have taken center stage in the upcoming election, worries about the rising cost of health care still weigh heavily on the minds of most Americans. For the 120 million Americans with vision problems, as well as the many others who place a high value on maintaining healthy vision, the lack of vision coverage is a primary concern.
According to a new report issued by The Vision Council, Vision Care: Focusing on the Workplace Benefit, two-thirds of Americans say they would be more willing to get an eye exam if they had some coverage, yet only 17 percent of employers report offering vision insurance. Vision benefits lag behind health and dental benefits, with as many as 44 percent of employers offering dental coverage.
“We know that in today’s tough economy everyone is taking another look at their finances,” said Ed Greene, chief executive officer for The Vision Council. “As the second most prevalent health condition in the country, vision disorders affect individuals and businesses, making vision coverage an important benefit for both groups.”
Vision health is highly valued by most Americans according to the National Eye Institute. When asked what conditions would most affect their day-to-day living, a majority of Americans rated loss of eyesight as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.
While Americans place a high value on healthy vision, many have real concerns about paying for vision care. Nearly 40 percent fear they cannot afford adequate treatment. Sixty-three percent say they would sign up for vision care coverage if given the opportunity, even if it meant paying a small amount each month.
With 11 million Americans living with an uncorrected vision problem, a number expected to rise as the population ages, the expense to businesses can also be severe. According to the report, the annual financial burden to the U.S. economy of major adult vision disorders exceeds $35 billion, including an estimated $8 billion in lost productivity.
As with many other benefits, employers are increasingly forced to pass along some of the cost of providing health insurance to employees. Offering vision coverage can help employers enhance their benefits package at a relatively low cost. Such coverage typically costs one-tenth that of medical benefits, and is often utilized more by employees than medical plans.
“The good news is that there is greater awareness among employers and employees about the importance of healthy vision,” said Greene. “However we still have a long way to meet the vision health needs that are valued greatly by Americans.”
The Vision Council encourages employers and employees to take steps to ensure healthy vision. For a copy of the full report, please click here.
Dedicated to enhancing life through better vision, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. We provide a forum to advocate for better vision and to promote quality vision care products and services in the global community.