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    Profiting with vision care plans

    Philadelphia—Jay Binkowtiz, CEO of Gateway Professional Network, shared his tips for being profitable in the age of managed vision care plans.

    Says Binkowitz: "It is absurd that practices are still following the outdated three-times mark-up strategy." Instead, practices should be focused on pricing based on fair market value.

    “I really don’t care what some company says I should sell something for,” he says.

    You need to do some research and figure out what is the ideal pricing for your area and your practice, Binkowitz says.

    When explaining a patient’s benefits, Binkowitz says many staffers think they need to explain exactly what the patient is getting and exactly what she’s paying for, which he refers to as “billing language.” But he approaches it in a different way by talking about the total price and explaining the amount she’ll save with her vision coverage.

    “Do you know what consumers do when you subtract and tell them how much money they’ll save? They spend money,” he says.

    For example, Binkowitz has the following conversation with his patients: “The regular cost of these lenses is ­­____. But we have it all packaged for you at ____. That is a savings of ____. We really want to sure you have what you need.”

    When explaining the final savings to a patient, emphasize that she has a great vision care plan, he says.

    Binkowitz also recommends:

    • Eliminate “no,” “can’t,” “won’t,” and “don’t” from your vocabulary.

    • Invest in an edger and use stock lenses. (“If you don’t have an edger, you can’t make money,” he says.)

    • Inform the patient about any warranties right after you introduce yourself. (“You need her to know that when she spends money, it’s going to be protected,” he says.)

    • Look for opportunities to increase the sale as soon as possible. (“LensCrafters is successful at selling second pairs because it sells the second pair first, before even addressing the patient’s initial need,” he says.)

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...

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    • Dr. EMelman
      Jay has a lot of ideas on how to work around a distorted system. But the bottom line is that over the last few years vision plans have changed from courting doctors and having policies that allowed doctors to do what they deemed best for the patients. Now the plans are taking over control of their customers and graciously allowing optometrists to examine the those patients they can't steer to the vision plan outlets. It will soon be recognized that 3x markups are no longer profitable with a 40% discount and pricing will need to be adjusted on every patient depending on their plan which will create arguments and managerial nightmares. Employees need to be trained on a bewildering array of conflicting plan rules creating more confusion. This situation cannot last and there will be changes coming soon. Stay tuned!

    Optometry Times A/V