Has a relationship with a vision plan turned bitter? It may be frightening to cut off a vision plan a large percentage of your patients are paying for and used to using at your practice, but by being pro-active with your patient base about the why and how of your decision to change you can increase your pay-per-patient, and often times you can even save your patients money when they visit.
1. Prepare Yourself
Dropping a vision plan that you’ve been a part of for years is a painful and laborious process. For at least two years you’ll be retraining staff, informing patients, and dealing with some amount of attrition. But by putting in the work you’ll free yourself from a parasite on your profit margins, improve the work life of your staff, and in the end better serve your patients by taking the time you need in exams and providing materials YOU trust, not just whatever single option you’ve been given.
2. Find a way to match the vision plan’s discount
This requires some math, but it’s worth it. You’ll need to run your numbers on these key metrics.
Start with your average profit per patient on the vision plan. You’ll need to pull your gross pay on a number of patients from the vision plan. Use the numbers recorded in your office records. The more patients in your sample size, the more accurate the average will be. We recommend at least 25. Once you have the average gross pay, you’ll need to subtract your lab costs and any other associated expenses.
To calculate the average material cost per patient may be a little tricky if you’ve been sending your jobs into the vision plan’s lab. Find a record of the line by line expenses and get an average. Subtract the expenses from the gross, and you’ll have a round number for how much your practice can expect to profit based on each member of the vision plan you welcome into your office.
Take this time to calculate your patient’s average out of pocket expense. The vision plans that fail to pay you fairly usually don’t treat their members much better. Though they may offer jaw droopingly low monthly payments, the out-of-pocket expense at your office can be a shock. The good news is that by finding your own material options you can often end up saving the patient money while actually making more at the same time.
Find a lens that meets your quality expectations but is profitable at the amount that the patient is paying now. This is easier than it may seem, and we are happy to help.
3. Get the word out.
You’ll need to proactively contact your patient base to answers questions about receiving the discounted services and materials they are used to. Send physical mail, email, and update your social media about your decision, your reasons, and your commitment to honoring the benefit with a discount or other suitable method.
4. Train your staff
If you’ve been a part of a vision plan for years, it’s likely that you have staff that only know how to deal with that plan. You’ll need to train your front desk on discussion cash pay options and vision plan alternatives and your optical staff of pricing, discounts, as well as any changes in your lens option policies.
5. Put an alternative in place
A big perk of a vision plan is the monthly payment, often deducted automatically from work, and some times even paid for by an employer without requiring any out of pocket from your patient. If this is the case, you’ll have a transition period with your patients where they are currently paying for a plan you won’t be honoring. Even beyond then, they’ll need a way of making monthly payments to cover their glasses.
You can use VCD as an in-house option for cash paying patients or patients that want off their value-less vision plan. Our plans allow your patients to make monthly payments so you can get paid today on today’s work while VCD takes on the risk.