Enhancements to Empire's Blue View Vision(SM) Provide Additional Value to Employees and Employers in New York

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Features include UV blocking Transitions® lenses covered at 100 percent for children, an extensive network and increased ROI for employers

 

February 5, 2013 
Media Contacts: 
 
Sally Kweskin,
Empire BlueCross BlueShield
(720) 373-4836
sally.kweskin@empireblue.com
 
@Empirebcbs on Twitter 
 
 
New York, NY – February 5, 2013: Vision coverage is a benefit employees want and need. According to the American Optometric Association, 81 percent of Americans use some type of vision correction. In addition, eight out of 10 employees want vision coverage1, and 63 percent of Americans would sign up for vision coverage, even if it meant they would pay a small amount each month2. When employers offer vision coverage, they are increasing employee satisfaction, while also improving their bottom line. For example, employees who produce substandard work due to their vision problems cause 32 times greater loss in productivity than absenteeism3 Providing the best vision benefits package for employers to offer employees is very important to Empire BlueCross BlueShield in New York; therefore, the company is enhancing the current Blue View Vision benefits to provide even more value to employees and employers. 
“We know and understand how vision benefits can help employers and their employees. In short, if employees can’t see very well, they can’t work very well, which impacts job satisfaction, morale and a company’s bottom-line,” says Brian Griffin, president and general manager of Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “When vision benefits are provided by the Blue View Vision plan, employees receive quality vision care, they have access to a network of providers and provider locations that are convenient, they can have lower out-of-pocket costs, and the employers can feel secure in knowing they are providing benefits that are highly valued by their employees.”  
Some of the enhancements being made to the current Blue View Vision benefits package include: 
UV blocking Transitions® lenses covered at 100 percent (when using an in-network provider) for children under 19 years old
Negotiated discounts on the most popular lenses and lens options, including premium progressive lenses and anti-reflective lens coatings
Scratch coating on all standard lenses at no additional cost
 
“We know how important it is to protect one’s eyes from the sun; therefore, we want to minimize the out-of-pocket costs our members pay for their eye care needs. The Transitions® lens coverage alone is a great benefit for parents to use to protect their child’s eyes from harmful UV rays,” says Jeff Spahr, staff vice president for the Vision business of Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s parent company. “Transitions® lenses are a convenient solution because children don’t have to worry about sunglasses if they have these corrective lenses. These lenses are clear as ordinary glasses when indoors and automatically adapt by darkening when outdoors, plus they block 100 percent of the dangerous UVA and UVB rays.”  
Long term UV exposure has been linked to eye diseases, such as cataract, macular degeneration and other eye diseases later in life. According to the Vision Council, a recent cost analysis shows that eye disease health care expenditures reach $16 billion each year, an amount that exceeds expenditures for breast cancer ($7.2 billion), lung cancer ($5.6 billion) and HIV ($9.4 billion).  
More than half of those who wear eyeglasses (59 percent) own more than one pair of glasses in their current prescription4. And, Blue View Vision’s 40 percent discount on additional pairs of eyeglasses will help employees keep more money in their pocket when they choose their second, third, or fourth pair of glasses.  
In addition to the other enhancements that are being made to Blue View Vision the network still includes access to more than 30,000 doctors at more than 25,000 locations nationwide (and more than 2,000 network providers in more than 1,800 locations in New York). Blue View Vision’s broad national and local network includes retailers like LensCrafters®, Sears® Optical, Target® Optical, JC Penney® Optical, Pearle Vision®, Davis Vision Centers®, and Empire Vision Centers® as well as private practitioners. The Blue View Vision network offers employees the convenience and choice they want. With many provider locations open evenings and weekends, Blue View Vision members have greater flexibility and convenience when scheduling appointments. And, since so many people purchase eyeglasses in the evening or on weekends, Blue View Vision customer service representatives are available seven days a week to answer questions. In addition, members can get their eye exam at one place and buy their eyeglasses at another location for even greater selection. 
As previously mentioned, vision benefits are a very important benefit for employers to offer employees. Employees can gain as much as $7 for every $1 that is spent on vision coverage due to improved productivity and lower overall claims costs.5 And, uncorrected vision can decrease employee performance by as much as 20 percent.6 
With the enhanced Blue View Vision package that is currently available from Empire BlueCross BlueShield, employers can be confident that they are offering a comprehensive and competitive vision benefits package to employees.  
Sources: 
1 - Consumer Perceptions of Managed Vision, Jobson Survey 2008. 
2 - “Americans Place High Value on Eyesight, Yet Many Still Lack Vision Coverage.” The Vision Council of America, 2008. 
3 - “Focusing on the Workplace Benefit,” The Vision Council, 2008. 
4 - KBC Research for Essilor of America survey of 1,000 eyeglass wearers. 
5 - Vision Council of America, Focusing on the Workplace Benefit, Fall 2008. 
6 - Vision Council of America, Vision in Business, 2007.  
 

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