Take action against vision benefit attacks

Posted Sep. 12, 2017 by

The state legislature is back in session, and GOP leaders in the General Assembly are back at it attempting to dismantle your hard-earned vision benefits. Ohio House Bill 156, introduced earlier this year by Republican Rep. Kirk Schuring (D-48), would increase the cost of non-covered vision services for OCSEA members.

OCSEA continues to speak out against this legislative control, saying that the bill would prevent vision benefit administrators, like VSP for example, from offering savings to enrollees on non-covered services.

This includes OCSEA members who get their vision benefits through the Union Benefits Trust. By law, health care providers currently have the right to negotiate lower prices on non-covered services. This includes costly non-covered services like anti-reflective coating, ultraviolet protection and oversized lenses, just to name a few. If this bill passes, it would be doctors who would be calling the shots by charging unlimited fees for non-covered services whenever they felt like it.

As the new session ramps up, so do hearings on the dangerous bill. The bill's second hearing was held on Sept. 13 with proponent testimony only. Opponent testimony will follow. In the meanwhile, impacted Ohioans, including OCSEA members, are urged to contact state representatives at 800-282-0253 as well as members of the House Insurance Committee, who are currently handling this bill.

This is not the attempt over the past few years by GOP legislators to introduce bills that attack the benefits of OCSEA members and public employees. A similar bill, Senate Bill 87, would increase the cost of non-covered dental services. And House Bill 169 would require a premium payment for dental, vision and life insurance for exempt state employees AND force the state to negotiate the same increase for those that fall under state collective bargaining agreements, including OCSEA members.