Huge Potential Impact of Health Care Reform on Optometry and YOU!

Big news as we move through the start of 2013!

Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Harkin Amendment and Pediatric Eye Care Essential Benefit that is included, millions of previously uninsured Americans (children and adults) will have coverage for comprehensive eye care!

This could translate to more patients and a busier practice when you graduate! Improved access to the care we will provide is so crucial to our profession and the health of those under our care.

Here’s a quick refresher on why the Harkin Amendment and Pediatric Eye Care Essential Benefit are fantastic for our profession and patients:

  • Harkin Amendment: as long as optometrists are working within the scope of practice allowed in their state, insurance plans can not discriminate in deciding whether or not to provide coverage to patients for their services.
  • Pediatric Eye Care Essential Benefit: comprehensive eye exams and treatment, including medical eye care, will be a distinct, essential health benefit for children.

If you have any questions on these two important pieces to optometry and health care, please message me below, or check out my previous article on the Pediatric Eye Care Essential Benefit.

Additionally, more and more large companies may be opening up their health plan provider panels to optometrists as the ACA moves toward implementation at the beginning of 2014. Another factor in the predicted increase in patient numbers could be a potential expansion in Medicaid eligibility criteria. Optometrists and students are being urged to stay involved as the sweeping national health care changes are implemented on the state level.

How does this impact the way you want to be prepared to practice as an optometrist (for example, the type of practice you want to work in, the technology you use, and type of education/training you want to get th
rough electives/clubs/residencies, etc.)

For more detail on this hot topic, check out this link.

Note: There is A LOT more that goes into a topic such as this, and while some see these changes as positive and good for optometry, others are apprehensive to move closer to this medical model of insurance and farther from standalone plans. If you’re not sure what I mean by this or are unfamiliar with these terms, don’t worry, I’m planning a full article on this hot button issue as well.

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