You’ve experienced it for as long as you’ve had loyal patients, but it’s happening more and more everyday. A patient who you’ve had for years comes in to ask if you accept the new insurance plan that their company just signed up for, and after looking at the numbers you realize it’s actually going to cost you money to provide service. You don’t want to lose the relationship because you know this patient’s eyes and their health and want to continue to care for them, but you just can’t afford a $60(or often less) reimbursement on the vision test when you have to pay staff, rent, and everything else that comes with operating an independent business.
Plus, you know that they aren’t getting any more benefit out of their new vision plan than you are, and that if they use it their overall out of pocket expense is most likely going to be higher than they are planning for. So what do you do? It’s time to educate them. And yes, there will be barriers of perception.
SAVING MONEY SEEMS HARD
It’s truly astonishing but you know it to be true. Many patients never do the research on their vision plan, what it covers and what options they have. They just sign up at work, take their card into wherever the HR office tells them they can go, and do what that doctor tells them to do. The path of least resistance seems to save time and money, but you know from experience that low quality glasses that need repair and remakes, time lost at work dealing with vision issues, and the high time-of-service costs are the inevitable outcomes from these plans, and these things will only cost them in the long run.
Sometimes, just skipping the vision plan and paying cash can actually save them money. Help them look at the numbers by writing out comparisons of monthly payments, exam fees, and what their frames and lenses are going to cost. If cash doesn’t end up saving any money, have them take a look at Vision Care Direct. With VCD, patients pay on average $15 month, a $15 member for the eye exam, and $15 for Complete Eyewear. We designed our plan and reimbursement schedule to pay doctors first, so member fees go to you.
More than just stopping walk outs, VCD can help you retain patients, no matter whats happening with vision plans at work.
PATIENTS NOT LISTENING? TRY ANOTHER APPROACH
So how do you educate your patients? Find a way to reach out, or better yet, several ways. Email, direct mail, text marketing, or taking the time to have a conversation about advantages and disadvantages of vision plans when they come into your office are all proven to be effective ways to help patients make choice that are good for them, and for you. Why? In a world full of noisy sales people and marketers, people want to trust what their doctors have to say, because they trust that you really do have their best interests at heart.
Sending out quarterly emails to your patients with reminders to set annual exams, information about the difference between an eye exam and a vision test, and the different plans you accept can help fill out your schedule and provide the best care for patients.
Sending physical mail comes with a bill, but if it lowers patient attrition and brings patients in on their annual schedule, the return on your investment can be significant. Don’t have time to write the letter? We’ve got you covered. Use these proven sample letters to talk to patients about dropping the plan that hurts you both.
(Right-click to download)
Use texting campaigns to increase the number of patients that book their annual exam annually, rather than every eighteen months or two years. Text reminders for appointments also decreases the number of no-shows, allowing you to stay on schedule and avoid costly dead spots during the day.
VENDOR HIGHLIGHT: SOLUTION REACH
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Matthew Clagg is the Communications & Social Media Director for IECP. He is passionate about health and wellness, and driven to build communities. A gardener, a musician, and the father of Jackson Clagg.