No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. But what if the news isn't really all that bad. In fact, what if it’s pretty great?

It's all about how you sell the news. And if you're dropping one or more vision plans in order to improve quality of care and find practice freedom, then it should be pretty easy to sell!

Dropping one or more vision plans

Dropping vision plans and becoming an out-of-network vision provider isn't always a straightforward decision. In fact, it can be downright intimidating. But ultimately, if it's the right thing for your practice, for your staff and for your patients, then you should do it! 

It’s an opportunity to start fresh and run your practice with freedom and flexibility. When you have a plan in place and are prepared to drop managed care, the next step is deciding whether and how you’ll tell patients. 

You'll find free templates for a letter or email to patients below. But first, is it even necessary to tell your patients?

Is it necessary to tell patients you’re dropping their vision plan?

Some eye care providers drop one or more vision plans without updating all their patients beforehand. Instead, they’ll tell patients as they’re scheduling the next appointment. 

While that’s certainly a route you can take, many providers we’ve spoken with prefer telling patients upfront. Sure, that means a week full of tough conversations for you and your team. You may even lose some patients.

However, it’s like ripping off a bandaid: Don’t drag out the pain. Instead, keep an eye on the prize. You're on your way to more revenue per patient, more practice freedom and more time with patients. Besides, it’s important to keep in mind: This can affect how your practice brand is perceived. Do you want to be an honest, transparent provider? This is a great way to show it. 

What’s the best way to reach out?

There are so many ways to engage with patients these days; which channel is the best for communicating your move out-of-network? 

Like just about everything else, it depends on your patients! You know your patients and how they like to connect best. That being said, there are a number of ways to update them.

Two of the more common methods are by letter or by email. Phone calls, while personal, are too time-intensive for communicating a single message with all of your patients. And text messaging may come off as too informal for something like this. 

Despite the stale reputations of snail mail and email, people still regularly engage with them. You still check your mailbox, don’t you? And email still gets plenty of engagement too. In fact, the average person checks his or her inbox 15 times per day

Email or mail are probably your best bets for letting your patients know you’re dropping managed care. And now it’s time to write your letter or email. 

Dropping vision plans: Email and letter templates

Of course, writing that email or letter from scratch might be one of the most intimidating aspects of this intimidating process. But don’t worry, we have a template you’re welcome to use to update your patients on your switch to out-of-network care:

Template #1: Dropping all vision plans

Dear [Patient Name],

Thank you for being a valued customer at [Practice Name]. We have exciting news to share with you! As of [insert date] we have decided to become an open network practice. This means our practice will able to offer you a new option to utilize your insurance benefits.

As an open-access provider, while we are not in-network, we can still provide you with services/materials and be able to verify your insurance benefits/coverage. If you provide us with a few pieces of information, we are able to pull your insurance eligibility and coverage and let you know how much you will pay for services and how much insurance will reimburse/discount you directly.

Our practice decided to move in this direction to ensure continuity of care and provide you with the best level of service. Here are 3 reasons why this will benefit you!

  1. Concierge Service - Navigating through insurance is hard. Our team has the experience to help you understand your vision insurance coverage and help you use them.
  2. Our Partnerships - Because we are an open network practice, we are able to carefully select the labs we work with to ensure you get a high quality of services/materials each and every time
  3. More Options - Don’t worry about your insurance plan dictating which types of frames you can choose from. Anything you see out on display at our practice, you can still purchase and STILL have your insurance cover some/all of the cost!

Now, with all this exciting news, don’t you want to come in for a visit? Call our practice today (Insert Office Phone Number) and lets our expert team get you the care you need!

Sincerely,

[Company Logo or Dr. Signature]

The team at [Insert Practice Name]

Template #2: Dropping one vision plan

Dear [Patient Name],

Thank you for being a valued customer at [Practice Name]. We have some exciting news for you and all of our patients who have [Vision Plan Provider] as their vision benefits provider.

[Vision Plan Provider] has made it difficult for us to meet our own high standards for quality and customer service. We can’t offer you the quality of care you deserve if we’re spending too much time wrangling with [Vision Plan Provider].

So, after long and careful consideration, we’ve decided to become an open-access provider with [Vision Plan Provider].

While we won’t be in-network, we can still provide you with services/materials and verify your insurance benefits/coverage. We’ll be able to offer more pricing transparency and a higher standard of care. Here are 3 reasons why this will benefit you!

  1. Concierge Service - Navigating through insurance is hard. Our team has the experience to help you understand your vision insurance coverage and help you use them.
  2. Our Partnerships - Because we are an open network practice, we are able to carefully select the labs we work with to ensure you get a high quality of services/materials each and every time
  3. More Options - Don’t worry about your insurance plan dictating which types of frames you can choose from. Anything you see out on display at our practice, you can still purchase and STILL have your insurance cover some/all of the cost.

Now, with all this exciting news, don’t you want to come in for a visit? Call our practice today (Insert Office Phone Number) and lets our expert team get you the care you need!

Sincerely,

 [Company Logo or Dr. Signature] 

The team at [Insert Practice Name]

What happens next…

To be clear: Chances are you’ll lose some patients after sending that letter or email. However, time after time, things play out the same way after some patients leave. 

First, you’ll find most of the patients who do go elsewhere are those that didn’t have close relationships with your practice. They're the patients who might come in for the cheapest frames available when their plan says they’re eligible, then leave until the same quick visit next year.

It’s OK to lose those patients to another provider on local vision panels. After all, out-of-network practices often more than makeup for those losses with increased revenue per patient. Additionally, as an open-access provider you may find new patients you wouldn’t have been able to see before.