Playing the Insurance Game

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It’s been a very interesting year for health insurance. On a personal note, I made it my mission to get everything I possibly could out of my health care benefits, including vision, but more on that later.

This year I took advantage of the services of a wellness coach, a benefit offered by my health care provider. We talk every few weeks about nutrition and exercise as well as reminders about checkups, tests and procedures. My “health coach” Andrea keeps me accountable when it comes to tracking my wellness plans, which to my dismay include a fair share of preventive measures.

My vision care benefits are quite basic. So when I decided in the Spring to upgrade my contact lenses, having a flexible spending account was key. Finding an optometrist was a bit serendipitous—we met on the train to Stamford, Conn., following Vision Expo East. When she told me she specialized in fitting contact lens patients I knew I had struck gold. Over the next few weeks, Maria Pribis, OD, of Stamford Ophthalmology, worked with me to find an Rx that would correct my distance vision and allow me to retire my readers. After several weeks testing different combinations, we hit on the right Rx and I now rely on my readers only 10 percent of the time. Since my plan only covers a fraction of my daily disposable CLs, she offered me a manufacturer’s rebate. Her patience, persistence and attention to expense made her a CL rock star in my book.

As the year winds down, I feel as if I took control of my health and vision care, sticking with in plan doctors and services, getting the most bang out of my insurance bucks. It’s a good exercise and one you should pass on to your own patients and customers. The good news for 2014 is we’re keeping our provider but are getting a slight increase in premiums. In the end, it’s a small price to pay for health and vision care. ■

mkane@jobson.com