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VSP's Individual Plan Thrives in a Starving Economy
Date:6/9/2009

Less Than One in Five Employers Offer Stand Alone Vision Coverage*

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- VSP(R) Vision Care launched the industry's first fully-insured individual vision plan two years ago and has seen it grow to more than 25,000 members nationwide. In a recent study conducted to analyze the impact of the current economy on health and vision care priorities and costs, VSP polled individual plan members and discovered that more than 16 percent of respondents recently invested in individual vision care benefits due to unemployment or forced reduced hours, and lost access to vision care. And, of the employed audience, more than 50 percent do not have vision coverage available at work.

VSP's survey respondents also acknowledged the importance of vision care in their overall health care routine. While eighty-five percent of respondents agree that a vision exam can help identify serious health conditions such as diabetes; 89 percent completely agree that a vision exam is part of their overall healthcare routine. And, only 44 percent of respondents rated managing their eye health as most important reason for visiting an eye doctor this year.

"A comprehensive eye exam is much more that just a vision assessment. An annual eye exam can reveal serious conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease," said Gary Brooks, VSP Vision Care President. "VSP's individual plan has seen a large uptick in 2009, which we attribute to the plan's personalized service, affordability and the rising market demand as employers look to cut costs in this difficult financial climate."

MetLife also conducted a recent survey and, in parallel with VSP's recent findings, revealed that while 40 percent of employees were highly interested in a wider array of voluntary benefits, only 17 percent of employers have included expansion of voluntary benefits among their top strategies for 2009. As employers continue to evaluate the benefits of cost-sharing with employees, individual plan options will play a larger role to provide consumers access to benefits not available through an employer.

"I was a VSP member through my previous employer and I was happy that I could enroll as an individual when I started my own business," said Eric Murray, a REALTOR(R) from Roseville, Calif. "The best aspect of the plan was the overall savings I gained from the plan and the ability to continue seeing my VSP doctor."

With a newly re-designed Web site available in both English and Spanish, signing up for the plan is easy and automated. Members receive affordable vision benefits with family savings of up to $400, a WellVision Exam(R) focused on their health, annual coverage of glasses or contacts, and additional savings through association memberships, including an optional discount dental plan.

The individual plan is not yet available in the state of Florida. For more information, please visit www.vsp.com.

About the VSP Family of Companies

VSP(R)'s family of companies includes the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 55 million members; Marchon(R) Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity(R)/Officemate(R) which offer innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; VSP Labs, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.

Since 1997, VSP has provided more than 519,000 low-income, uninsured children with free eyecare. Through relationships including those with the American Diabetes Association and Prevent Blindness America, VSP promotes the importance of annual eye exams for maintaining eye health and overall wellness.

About the Study

The Individual Plan research study was conducted by VSP Market Insights and consisted of an online quantitative survey sent via email to current VSP Individual Plan members. The survey was fielded from April 28, 2009 to May 05, 2009 resulting in 500 completes.

Full Details of 2008 MetLife Study of Employee Benefit Trends is available on their Web site at www.whymetlife.com

*Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 2008

    Contact: Pat McNeil
    Phone: (916) 851-4287
    patrmc@vsp.com


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SOURCE VSP(R) Vision Care
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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