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Thread: Employee Discounts + Insurance Benefits???

  1. #1
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    Employee Discounts + Insurance Benefits???

    Hi guys,

    Our practice has a (in my opinion, very generous) Employee Discount package. We give all employees free services, 50% off glasses, 20% off contact lenses. Hourly staff may extend this benefit to a close (i.e. "live in") family member. Managers, Owners and Docs may extend this discount to include friends and "more distant" family members. We have a large practice with 5 docs, a full service lab and a staff of 38.

    If a staff member has insurance then we would like them to utilize EITHER their Medicaid / insurance plan OR their Employee Discount....but not both. I feel like it is just a "cleaner" business when a patient is either "insurance patient" or "Employee Discount" patient. The idea of using their insurance benefits AND Employee Discount in concert or using Employee Discount on services and THEN using Insurance benefits (Medicaid) on their materials is abhorrent to me. And some of our staff members cry "unfair" if they use insurance benefits and their plan stipulates a copay!

    We leave money on the table if they take their Rx from their free exam (Employee Discount) and use their Rx with a competitor to use their insurance plans.

    How do you practice owners out there deal with Employee Benefits when a staff member wants to use insurance benefits?? What is the best way to handle this situation?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Mike

  2. #2
    OptiBoardaholic vcom's Avatar
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    I agree that it should be either the Employee Benefit OR the Insurance benefit. I tell all patients, whether Employees or not, you CANNOT combine any other discounts or promotions when placing an Insurance Claim. It must be filed as a full price/retail transaction, per Insurance Company contract.
    Patient, ".. Doctor says I have a subscription for stigmata.. Can you fill that?"
    Me, "..Um.. "

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply! Our disgruntled employee thought it over and acquiesced and used her Block Vision benefits.

  4. #4
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    We like to sell glasses here. The best testimonials, referrals and free advertising we have is what our doctors and staff wear. We bill employee's health insurance for exam/services, but wave co-pays. On glasses, all employees get them at no cost up to a VERY generous wholesale cost base each year. Pretty cheap per employee way to give a great benefit as an employer and also great advertising to every patient that enters the practice since we all *model* what we sell.

    I also think it's pretty bad that an employee needs to go to a competitor to get a better deal on the products you sell.

  5. #5
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    I agree with 24/7, a free pair/year for an employee in addition to 'cost' for additional pairs is the way to go. I'd be very hesitant to combine discounts with insurances, though. Be sure to know your provider agreements very thoroughly. Some regard discounting off of their dictated benefits as insurance fraud. Others don't. Know which is which before you're tempted to combine them. Don't expose yourself to the risk of losing a carrier if a disgruntled employee has an axe to grind once they leave.

  6. #6
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    We offer a free pair every year after the first year employed plus 4 cost plus 20% pairs to be used for self or family and then a generous supply of 50% off that can be used for family and friends as well. We try to stay away from insurance when it comes to employees and purchases.
    Clinton Tower

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  7. #7
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    50% off glasses doesn't seem very generous to me.

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    Master OptiBoarder NCspecs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happylady View Post
    50% off glasses doesn't seem very generous to me.
    Is that off retail? or cost?

    What kind of place is this where they have 38 employees that are on Medicaid and can't afford to buy glasses from their own optical? What the what?
    "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened beings; only enlightened activity." -Shunryu Suzuki

  9. #9
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    Here we charge cost plus tax for employees and their live in family . Is that to generous ?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    We like to sell glasses here. The best testimonials, referrals and free advertising we have is what our doctors and staff wear. We bill employee's health insurance for exam/services, but wave co-pays. On glasses, all employees get them at no cost up to a VERY generous wholesale cost base each year. Pretty cheap per employee way to give a great benefit as an employer and also great advertising to every patient that enters the practice since we all *model* what we sell.

    I also think it's pretty bad that an employee needs to go to a competitor to get a better deal on the products you sell.
    +1 I completely agree! Pretty pathetic when your own employees go elsewhere to use their insurance.

  11. #11
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    I'm an employee and this is what I would like wherever I work (But don't always get it):

    Cost pricing for whatever I want to buy. How they heck can I display the concept of purchasing multiple pairs if I wear the same pair everyday?

    A generous family discount for my vain husband who will only wear contacts and my growing myopic daughter. They too are walking bill boards for where ever I work. Especially my short one, who is seen wearing her glasses by everyone in her class. "Hey, where does Katie get those cool glasses? Hmmmm, I hear her mom makes them...."

    I've worked for places that have these benefits and those that do not. I find it's more reasonable to be generous with the employees when the practice is smaller. If I owned my own optical, all employees would get everything at cost. I don't need to make money off of them. obviously if there was tax....

  12. #12
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    I own an optical franchise and give my employees one pair per year for FREE. Anything over that is at cost. I don't want any of my employees wearing a frame that we do not sell; that is bad business. The better you take care of your staff; the better the staff takes care of the store. I find making a profit on your employees is a little tacky. How happy are your employees?

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your replies / criticisms guys! My partner and I have been tweaking some policies and we may offer a more generous employee / family discount in the future. Do you guys provide free services for employees and families / spouses? We provide free services for hourly staff and immediate family (spouses / parents / siblings) members. Professional Staff (docs, managers, departments heads) are able to extend free services to more distant family members, like cousins, and friends, acquinatances, etc...

    What are ya'lls thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    Mike

  14. #14
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    I only give free eyewear to my employees and only one pair per year. Direct family members, ie, spouses, parents, siblings, kids get 50% off retail. Everyone else gets the standard FTC customer discount.

  15. #15
    Master OptiBoarder SeaU2020's Avatar
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    Employees here pay cost for glasses and if they have insurance coverage, the insurance payment is deducted from the employee balance. BEST employee benefit we get! (No insurance, no retirement,etc.)
    Last edited by SeaU2020; 09-12-2014 at 11:12 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Where I work full time employees get a set amount of money in their account for glasses every year, it's slightly more if they wear progressives. It's enough for 1 pair of progressives(if you don't go crazy) and several pairs of SV.

    Other glasses are at cost plus 10% and it's unlimited for employees. Contacts are cost plus 10%. Exams are free and discounted for family. If you have vision insurance that pays for the exam they use that. Full time employees get a few pairs of glasses every year for anyone else they want at cost plus 20%.

    I am part time. I get free exams and glasses at cost plus 10%, unlimited. No account with extra money. I also get a few pairs for friends and family at cost plus 20% but fewer than full time people.

    It it seems reasonable and fair.

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