Vision plan reevaluates Web portal for ordering lenses

A vision plan is rethinking its new online arrangement for ordering contact lenses after hearing concerns about the impact the system would have on optometrists.

“Essentially, this would have removed an OD’s ability to sell any covered lenses to patients utilizing the portal.”

Superior Vision's plans were set to roll out an online portal for ordering elective contact lenses by May 1. Under this system, ODs would no longer be able to fulfill contact lens orders that are covered by the Superior Vision benefit. ODs would receive a fee for fitting lenses, but they would not be able to sell lenses directly to patients, says Stephen Montaquila, O.D., chair of the AOA Third Party Center Executive Committee.

The change prompted a wholesale contact lens distributor to withdraw from its agreement with Superior Vision to fulfill lens orders. ABB Optical Group in statements says it never authorized or agreed to these specific terms.

"From what we saw, Superior was instituting a new policy that would have utilized a web portal to fulfill covered contact lens orders. Essentially, this would have removed an OD's ability to sell any covered lenses to patients utilizing the portal," Dr. Montaquila says.

"ODs voiced significant opposition to this. Concern was expressed about the impact that this policy change would have on their practices," Dr. Montaquila says.

The news has national implications. It's an indicator of how plans are viewing their role and the overall delivery of vision care services.

Superior Vision recently merged with Block Vision. The merged company will cover more than 8.5 million members nationwide with a provider network surpassing 55,000 access points.

March 27, 2014

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