Employees expect more from employers to support wellness in post-pandemic era

Nearly 70% say vision, dental, and wellness benefits influence decision to stay with employer

By Kate Renwick-Espinosa

It’s been three years since the pandemic changed our lives forever. As many things are getting back to ‘normal,’ a lot has permanently changed, especially for brokers, benefits managers and HR professionals. Around the world, companies have had to rethink their entire approach to remote workforces, work-life integration, cultivating culture, talent recruitment, and employee health and wellness. 

Maybe for the better, the pandemic expanded the definition of “wellness.” Benefits offerings — which use to cover traditional healthcare insurance plans — now include everything from virtual fitness classes to mental health and family planning benefits. Employees expect more from their employers to support their wellness and whole-body healthcare. Nearly 70% of workers say vision, dental, and wellness benefits influence their decision to stay with their employer — or move to a competitor. And in the ongoing war for talent, companies must continue to meet the moment with their employee-benefits packages.  

Offering traditional healthcare insurance plans alone isn’t enough to treat the whole-body care needs of employees today. Healthcare plans must include robust vision care offerings to help cover the full physical health needs of employees. In fact, an annual eye exam can provide employees with one of the simplest ways to protect their overall health.  


The eyes are more than the windows to the soul. They’re the windows to your health.

In an eye exam, an eye doctor can detect evidence of more than 270 chronic diseases – including some types of cancer, kidney disease, and hypertension — even before physical symptoms emerge. For example, visible signs of retina damage are a useful marker for identifying cardiovascular disease before a heart attack or stroke even occurs.

This means an eye exam is one of the easiest and most cost-effective early detection systems for serious illnesses. And the sooner a patient knows about a potential health issue, the sooner they can work on prevention, treatment, and healthy lifestyle changes.  

Eye health is good for business

Beyond supporting workforce wellness and helping to attract and retain top talent, offering a vision benefit is just good business. The move can help boost your productivity, reduce your employee downtime, and reduce overall health care costs.

In 2020, vision problems cost U.S. employers $575 billion in lost productivity, and vision problems in Americans ages 40 and over have an estimated annual economic impact of more than $145 billion.

So, it’s no surprise that when an organization provides vision care and encourages employees to get their eyes checked once a year, the return on investment can be significant. An eye exam can uncover the first warning signs of other health risks and allow early medical interventions that can lower health care costs for both employers and individuals. Employers who offered stand-alone vision benefits saved $5.8 billion over four years, one recent study showed.

The right provider makes a difference

We know that consumers want more choice and flexibility – while not sacrificing a low price. Nearly half of consumers want insurers to offer more affordable plans, and 44% want better coverage, even from more expensive plans. 

That’s why VSP Vision Care offers VSP EasyOptions where members get to select one covered upgrade from a variety of options during an in-network doctor’s visit.

VSP Vision Care also offers Essential Medical Eye Care as a covered vision benefit available with every full-service VSP plan. It provides added coverage beyond routine care to treat immediate issues from pink eye to sudden changes in vision or monitor ongoing conditions like dry eye, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and more.

VSP Vision Care works with key partners to fully evaluate member health and influence positive outcomes. Our strategic partnerships allow us to help coordinate care, identify eligible members for disease management programs, and send critical eye exam reminders. 

Kate Renwick-Espinosa is president of VSP Vision Care

Learn how VSP Vision Care benefits can help your organization support the health and wellness of your workforce. 



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