Streamline your vision insurance patient intake with Universal Search by Anagram
Vision insurance related questions are among the most frequent categories posed to eyecare practices and their reception teams. Sometimes the question is simply “I have XYZ vision plan, do you accept it?” Which on the surface is fairly easy to answer, the staff at your front desk will be aware of the plans with which your practice is credentialed.
Sometimes, however, a patient will say something like, “I have a vision plan through my employer but I don't know what it is. Can you find it for me?” When presented with this problem, a practice has two primary options to come to a solution.
Option one is to tell the patient you can find it for them, and then a staff member proceeds to search every vision plan portal in the hopes that they’ll be able to find that patient and identify their benefits. We'll call this practice search.
Option two is to tell the patient to call their insurance company, find out the name of their vision benefits, and then call the practice back.
Neither of the above options is ideal. Either way you attempt to solve this problem, the practice and patient have to end their ongoing phone call, someone has to do some legwork, and then call back in the hopes of connecting again. Each of these hurdles increases the likelihood of a lost patient and lost revenue. We'll call this patient search.
Option three is Universal Search by Anagram. Find patient benefits in seconds in a single simple search.
With option one, a staff member has to dedicate as much as 35 minutes searching portals to hopefully identify the patient's benefits. The amount of time a staff member has to spend digging through portals depends on if a patient's benefits are found early in the search process and how many portals a practice has to search through to exhaust their options.
Consider however much time the practice has to spend finding those benefits as a direct cost to serve that patient. If it takes your team 30 minutes to find their benefits, it has cost you at least $10 in wages, not to mention the opportunity cost of things your staff could (and perhaps should) have been doing instead.
Vision insurance exam revenue can be as low as $40, that is a 25% loss in potential revenue before the patient has even scheduled their appointment. It’s also worth considering the possibility that the patient has a vision plan with which your practice is not credentialed. If that’s the case you won’t be able to identify their benefits through any portal accessible to your practice.
With option two, the patient has to go searching for the name of their vision plan through their major medical insurance portal or phone tree. Many patients only access those portals when absolutely necessary, so they’ll likely have to go through a password reset, two factor authentication, and/or waste time waiting on hold for an agent due to higher than average call volume.
Side note: how can call volume always be higher than average?
If the patient does finally identify their vision plan, they might call your practice back and schedule an appointment. What’s more likely, however, is that they’ll look through their vision plan portal and select a competing practice that way. In many vision insurance portals, practices owned by or heavily affiliated with vision plan parent companies (EssilorLuxottica, VSP Vision, etc.) are going to be shown most prominently, while your practice may be on page two!
The Patient’s perspective on vision insurance
Questions like the one posed in the introduction happen frequently in practices in part because vision insurance benefits are provided by employers as an optional tertiary benefit to their overall health plan.
Usually, the employer only provides one plan to “choose” from at some nominal per-paycheck fee, that the employee only glances at upon being hired and possibly during open enrollment periods.
Further, the vision benefits themselves are poorly explained to the employee. Your patient doesn’t know much about their vision benefits when they sign up, just what will come out of their paycheck and that they’ll receive “covered services”.
An average patient is kept in the dark about the fact that the vision plan they’re signing up for has a whole other name, that it’s administered by a third party organization, and that their benefits are extremely limited.
As you might imagine, this is tremendously frustrating for the patient and their dependents. It’s worth noting that this opacity is a feature, not a bug. Vision insurance plans have every incentive to sell their benefits to employers and limit their costs when it comes to actually making good on their promises. Making their benefits difficult to access and impossible to parse is part of their strategy.
Enter Anagram. For nearly a decade, we’ve been creating technologies to help practices and patients have more visibility into their vision benefits. We’re proud to serve our thousands of customers and make their work lives easier as they work to serve their patients.
Anagram customers, our Anafam, have been using our all-in-one platform to identify out-of-network vision insurance benefits, patient eligibility, and claim filing for years. At the start of 2023, we launched Entry Access, which for the first time allowed our practices to search for patient eligibility for in-network vision insurance benefits.
Now, we’re thrilled to introduce our newest technology solution: Universal Search. This addition to our vision insurance toolkit allows your practice to find patient benefits by searching every vision plan, whether in network or out, all at once.
The next time a patient calls and says, “I have a vision plan through my employer but I don't know what it is. Can you find it for me?” Your practice can answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and search for their benefits across all major vision insurances in seconds, without even having to put your patient on hold, forget having to call them back 40 minutes later.