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Pacific Life Underwriting Services -- PLUS -- Expands Its Vision Insurance Product Line; Wide Range of Vision Plans Designed to Fit Needs and Budgets of Most Employers and Employees.

Business Editors/Health & Medical Writers

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 21, 2000

To meet the changing benefit needs of business owners and their employees, Pacific Life Underwriting Services (PLUS), a unit of Pacific Life & Annuity Co., has expanded its line of group Vision Plans.

In addition to its existing Traditional Plans and Discount Card Program, PLUS now offers two types of network-based plans that pay higher benefits when services are obtained from a nationwide provider network. PLUS Vision Plans are available to groups with as few as 10 enrollees on a voluntary (payroll deduction) or employer-paid basis.

"Vision coverage is a highly desirable employee benefit," said Stacey Rollings, assistant vice president, Pacific Life & Annuity. "In 1998, 158.5 million Americans used some type of eyewear(a), spending nearly $16 billion(b). We expanded our product line to help a wide range of employers and their employees find cost-effective ways to meet this need."

There are several reasons why vision coverage is important for workers and their families:

-- Large numbers of baby boomers entering their 50s will require

vision care because there is a direct correlation between age

and the need for vision correction.

-- As more workers spend many hours doing close-up work on

computers, eye strain and fatigue are becoming more common.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

suggests that since some people may need corrective lenses to

avoid those problems, vision examinations should be conducted

to ensure early detection and correction of poor vision

("Working Safely With Video Display Terminals," OSHA

publication No. 3092, 1997).

-- Because vision problems in children may lead to learning and

behavioral difficulties at school, the American Optometric

Association advises parents to have their children's vision

checked by an optometrist at least every two years, or more

frequently, if specific problems or risk factors exist

("Children's Vision: Your School-age Child's Eyes,"

www.aoanet.org, 1997).

-- Regular eye examinations are important for all age groups for

early detection of diseases such as diabetes, high blood

pressure and glaucoma.

The new network-based Plans are called "The PPO Plans" and "The Tower Plans." Both feature incentives to use ophthalmologists, optometrists and other eye care providers who participate in the networks of Davis Vision, a nationwide managed vision and eye care provider organization.

Both include options not always covered by other insurance plans, such as benefits for polycarbonate lenses, scratch protective coatings and progressive addition and blended lenses.

The difference between the PPO and Tower Plans lies in the level of benefits paid and the network used. The PPO Plans pay enhanced benefits when services are obtained from any of Davis Vision's 10,000-plus PPO providers.

The Tower Plans pay more generous benefits, when services are obtained from any of Davis Vision's 6,000-plus Tower providers. Also, Tower providers can offer their patients the "Tower Collection," a group of more than 300 highly popular, fashionable frames at deeply discounted prices.

The PPO and Tower Plans are available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina and Tennessee. Introductions are planned in additional states. Interested parties should contact the PLUS Producer Support Center at 800/900-9777 for the most current state listing.

PLUS' Traditional Vision Plans allow the use of any vision care provider and reimburse 100 percent of charges for eye examinations, frames and lenses, up to a scheduled amount.

The Discount Card program is available to enrollees in PLUS Dental Plans at no extra cost. When the card is presented to a Davis Vision provider, the bearer is entitled to significant discounts on eyeglasses (25 percent), regular contact lenses (20 percent) and disposable contact lenses (10 percent).

PLUS Vision and other insurance Plans are distributed through a select network of independent employee benefits professionals. A PLUS Vision Plan can be sold as a stand-alone product; when purchased together with another PLUS product such as dental coverage, lower costs and more liberal eligibility provisions apply.

Pacific Life & Annuity's Group Insurance Division offers a wide range of group benefit plans to small- and mid-sized employers, labor-management plans and union trusts throughout the country, including medical and stop loss coverage and employer-paid and voluntary dental, vision, disability, critical illness and life insurance.

Group Insurance Division products are not offered in New York. Additional information about the company can be obtained at its Web site, www.PacificLifeandAnnuity.com.

Pacific Life & Annuity is rated A++ (superior) by A.M. Best, AA+ (very strong) by Standard & Poor's, AA+ (very strong) by Fitch and Aa3 (excellent) by Moody's for financial strength. (Ratings do not apply to Pacific Life & Annuity's separate accounts.)

Davis Vision Inc. is a nationwide managed vision and eye care provider. The company administers the provision of vision services and products nationally through its network of more than 10,000 participating providers. Davis Vision services municipalities, union trust funds, insurance companies, corporations and managed health care organizations.

Sixteen million people in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam and Sai Pan are eligible to receive services. Davis Vision embraces the principles of Total Quality Management.

(a) Vision Council of America estimate

(b) Jobson Optical Group Data Base
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 21, 2000
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