Managed Care

How I Maintain Profitability While Remaining Out-of-Network with All Discount Vision Plans

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By Kandi Moller, OD

June 2, 2021

When I opened my practice cold in August 2019, I had a vision in mind. That vision did not include accepting discount insurance plans. When I learned about a technology, Anagram, that could make it easier for all patients, regardless of insurance, to visit our office, I added it to my practice. Here is how both my patients and practice benefit from being freed from dependence on low-reimbursing vision plans.

We Can Sell Our Services & Products, Not Which Vision Plans We Accept
Patients often look first for doctors who accept their insurance plans. That can lead a practice to focus on marketing the plans it accepts, rather than focusing on getting the word out about the high-quality services and products it offers. I knew I wanted to do better. Anagram makes it possible for us to tell patients they can visit our office, and easily get reimbursed—no matter which plan they happen to have.

Simple for Patients, Simple for Us
Anagram is a cloud-based web application that provides a streamlined experience for managing vision insurance benefits for all kinds of eyecare providers, including optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists. It’s as easy for our staff as obtaining the patient’s insurance member information, logging onto Anagram, seeing the patient’s benefits information appear on the screen and creating a claim for the services and product purchases. The process takes no more than around one minute per patient.

Having a technology like Anagram that makes it easy to look up and facilitate reimbursement of vision plans is especially important, as many patients do not know what benefits they have. Anagram offers an effective way to quickly give the patient an answer and set the wheels in motion for them to be reimbursed. Patients appreciate how easy we make it for them to use their vision plan. If we did not have Anagram, the patient would be on their own in applying for reimbursement after they got home.

Create a Competitive Advantage
We educate patients about how their insurance works in our office. This is a competitive advantage for us. Most other offices probably do not help a patient get reimbursed if they come to the office with a vision plan the practice does not accept.

We tell patients: “WE look up your benefit, we DOUBLE your glasses benefit, you pay us, WE bill it, you get your allowed reimbursement in the mail, easy-peasy. Your vision plan restricts your choices to their frames and lenses and lab, we give you full freedom at our office because we are not bound by their rules and poor-quality labs.”

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Not surprisingly, this makes many patients big fans of our practice. Those patients then frequently tell friends and family how easy and pleasant an experience it is to visit our office—that they don’t even have to worry about what insurance plan they come to us with.

Let Patients Know You Care About Them First
Optometry practices have to do a better job letting patients know the value of receiving a high level of care and product purchases that are not dependent on the kind of vision plan the patient has. Anagram enables a practice to show patients what it’s like to be freed from the limitations of a vision plan. That creates a unique patient experience that is focused on patients getting what they want rather than what their vision plan wants for them.

In addition to using Anagram to give patients greater flexibility, we have created a membership program that gives patients 30 percent off frames, among other perks.

The freedom the patient experiences by getting exactly what they want, and by having their reimbursement facilitated through the doctor’s office they visit, is hard to forget—or compete with.

As my practice, like many others, continues to recover financially from the impact of the pandemic, it’s good to know there is a technology helping us better position ourselves in our community. Our patients know our focus is on providing them with the best care and eyewear possible.

Kandi Moller, OD, is the owner of Eye Candy Optical in Gig Harbor, Wash. To contact her: cattykit@outlook.com

 

 

 

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