Changes to VSP in 2014
Vision Service Plan (VSP) is one of the largest suppliers of vision insurance in the United States. Almost 55 million individuals have coverage for eye examinations, glasses and contact lenses through them. Beginning in 2014, their participation as a health care insurance provider may change. The Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect in 2014, mandates that each state create an Insurance Exchange where businesses and individuals can obtain coverage for health care. Although VSP can continue to supply insurance packages to businesses, the California Health Benefit Exchange Board has voted to exclude VSP from providing coverage to individuals. The Board felt that the individual plans should be implemented by medical plans with an associated vision portion. Some of the companies who meet this criterion are Kaiser, Davis Vision and Spectra. As a stand-alone insurance provider, VSP has been excluded from the individual market. Of the two categories, the Individual policy group is predicted to be much larger than the Business policy group. It is difficult to predict how this decision will affect patients with VSP coverage. It is possible that patients with coverage through their work will be unaffected but that remains to be seen.
Our practice has a high population of patients with VSP coverage. Their coverage is easy to access and utilization of their services is straightforward. It is uncertain how it will be to work with another company, such as Davis Vision or Spectra. Discussion and negotiation are still planned, so check back for further updates.
Update: The governing body that dictates who will participate in the Insurance Exchange program has reversed its previous decision:
"As expected, the California Health Benefit Exchange voted Tuesday to change policy and allow local eye-care giant VSP Global to compete for individual members in the new insurance marketplace when it launches in 2014."
This change will have no effect on people covered by VSP through work but it will allow individuals to purchase VSP insurance coverage through this Exchange.