VSP® Vision Care has released the findings of a new study showing $4.5 billion in savings for its clients through the early detection of chronic diseases via eye care and vision exams covered by the firm’s vision insurance.

The study, conducted by Human Capital Management Services Group, found that for every $1 invested in VSP exam services — which include comprehensive, annual eye exams — during an employee’s first year with the benefit, employers can expect an average two-year total return of $1.27 in long-term health care savings. These savings are a result of avoided medical costs and increased employee productivity.

"With health care costs spiraling out of control, these new findings showing $4.5 billion in savings clearly demonstrate the importance of stand alone eye care benefits," says Rob Lynch, chief executive officer of VSP Global. “Preventive eye exams support overall wellness and are much more than a means to receive prescription eyewear.”

The study looked at cost per person associated with medical, lost work time and turnover over a two-year period, and found that individuals incurred lower costs when their chronic conditions were detected through a VSP eye exam, compared with a traditional health care model. For diabetes, the net savings were $2,787 per person (on total costs of $15,280 in the VSP early detection group versus $18,067 in the traditional model). For hypertension the savings per person were $2,997 (on total cost of $13,621 versus $16,618). And for high cholesterol the savings were $1,145 (on total costs of $10,458 versus $11,604).

The HCMS study further revealed that VSP clients experienced 7% less absenteeism, 4% less employee turnover and savings on insurance and workers’ compensation costs. Early detection of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension also increased the likelihood employees would be proactive with their health care and more likely to see a medical doctor to receive follow-up care. 

“Individuals who have a VSP vision plan are three times more likely to get an annual eye exam than a routine preventive physical,” said Susan Egbert, director of eye health management at VSP. “This means VSP providers are more likely to detect the first signs of common chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.”

More information about the study is available here.

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