I read a report of a recent meeting between representatives of a group of Texas providers and EyeMed. The following is in regards to the recent bill passed by the Texas legislature that prohibits vision plans from enforcing discounts on non-covered services (Texas SB 632).
“EyeMed’s new contract will honor the option of doctors to not participate in the non-funded discount benefits” the report stated.”
So far, so good…EyeMed is doing right by its providers…or are they?
The report went on to say; “EyeMed’s website will list specifically which providers offer discounting and which ones do not. EyeMed members looking for an eye provider will see two columns of providers. One list will indicate providers that offer discounts on non-covered services or materials and another list of providers that do not offer discounts. Patients will know prior to scheduling an appointment which providers offer EyeMed members discounts on non-covered services or materials. “
I cry “Foul.”
How sad. EyeMed has an opportunity to do right by its providers. Instead, EyeMed uses their power to attempt to control all provider offerings. Along with EyeMed’s move to force providers to use Essilor as opposed to freedom of choice, this action is a brand destroyer.
Why would any provider put up with this?
EyeMed’s move simply exacerbates a fundamental problem of our industry…that consumers believe that eyecare and eyewear are commodities. They believe that the only thing that matters is price. This is Top of Mind for an industry that provides literally thousands of amazing products and services to assist with our most important sense…the loss of which is the third largest fear only behind cancer and heart attacks. How sad that our only marketing message is a discount! Cannot we better promote our industry’s brand?
While SB 632 is a significant win for Texas optometrists (congratulations!), EyeMed’s action to publish whether or not a provider discounts is but one more reason why all quality oriented providers should be focused on exiting vision plans.
In the absence of anything else, price prevails.
How sad for EyeMed’s providers and how sad for our industry’s brand.