Breaking News
August 15, 2018 - IgG3 antibody stops B cells from fighting pathogens in HIV patients
August 15, 2018 - Scientists discover key vulnerability of mixed lineage leukemia
August 15, 2018 - College students may experience pressures from secondary exposure to opioid abuse
August 15, 2018 - Powerful new microscope reveals inner workings of human cells with unprecedented clarity
August 15, 2018 - Married people who fight nastily more likely to suffer from leaky guts, study suggests
August 15, 2018 - Working Out After Baby – Drugs.com MedNews
August 15, 2018 - Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
August 15, 2018 - ADHD linked to an increased risk of injury in children, study finds
August 15, 2018 - UIC researchers receive NIH funding to develop a better way to regenerate bone or tissues
August 15, 2018 - Study reveals how immune cells in the brain influence sexual behavior
August 15, 2018 - Researchers move closer to finding potential soft spot in drug-resistant tuberculosis
August 15, 2018 - Real-time dynamic monitoring of cell’s nucleus for effective cancer screening
August 15, 2018 - Lower rates of Medicare preventive care visits found in racial, ethnic minority older adults
August 15, 2018 - Scientists identify stress hormone as key factor in failure of immune system to inhibit leukemia
August 15, 2018 - Cytoplan introduces three new nutritional supplements
August 15, 2018 - Effective hemorrhage control critical for survival after motorsport accidents
August 15, 2018 - Sygnature Discovery announces ambitious expansion plan with addition of Alderley Park facility
August 15, 2018 - Dietary carbohydrates could lead to osteoarthritis, new study finds
August 15, 2018 - Male tobacco smokers have decreased number of cannabinoid CB1 receptors, study reveals
August 15, 2018 - Scientists explore ways for drug therapies to reach deadly brain tumors
August 15, 2018 - Rethinking fundamental rule of stroke care: ‘Time is brain!’
August 15, 2018 - Scientists reveal role of ‘junk DNA’ in cancer dissemination
August 15, 2018 - Google’s DeepMind AI could soon be diagnosing eye conditions
August 15, 2018 - Scientists trick the brain to embody the prosthetic limb
August 15, 2018 - Researchers focus on uncoupling obesity from diabetes
August 15, 2018 - Clinical study shows how EarlySense system effectively detects opioid-induced respiratory depression
August 15, 2018 - A class of proteins shown to be effective in reducing drug-seeking behaviors
August 15, 2018 - FundamentalVR launches first-of-its-kind SaaS software platform for surgical simulation
August 15, 2018 - Gemphire Announces Termination of Phase 2a Clinical Trial of Gemcabene in Pediatric NAFLD
August 15, 2018 - Rheumatoid arthritis in pregnancy associated with low birth weight and premature birth
August 15, 2018 - Study may help increase effectiveness of antibiotics against drug-resistant bacteria
August 15, 2018 - Analyzing resident-to-resident incidents in dementia may hold the key to reducing future fatalities
August 15, 2018 - Robotic walking frame aims to help maintain mobility of older adults
August 15, 2018 - Simple intervention during routine care reduces alcohol consumption in men with HIV
August 15, 2018 - Genetics Home Reference: gout
August 15, 2018 - Scientists ID genesis of disease, focus efforts on shape-shifting tau
August 15, 2018 - OncoThira and NDSU enter into license agreement to develop, market cancer compounds
August 15, 2018 - Scientists unravel the mystery behind ovarian cancer with high-grade serous carcinoma
August 15, 2018 - Common signs that indicate vision problems in children
August 15, 2018 - Removing the cancer label – overhaul in cancer classification proposed
August 15, 2018 - Prams may expose babies and toddlers to more air pollution finds study
August 15, 2018 - Duke researchers track missing T-cells in glioblastoma patients
August 15, 2018 - Cardiac Profiles Up With Exercise, Less Sitting in Early Old Age
August 15, 2018 - Precision medicine offers a glimmer of hope for Alzheimer’s disease
August 15, 2018 - Immunovia’s new blood-based testing platform accurately detects non-small cell lung cancer
August 15, 2018 - New method provides a ‘big picture’ of genetic influences on traits and diseases
August 15, 2018 - Early Onset Type 1 Diabetes Linked to Heart Disease, Shorter Life
August 14, 2018 - SMURF1 provides targeted approach to preventing cocaine addiction relapse
August 14, 2018 - Genetic testing pushed for hereditary high cholesterol disease
August 14, 2018 - Researchers discover new genes involved in Alzheimer’s Disease
August 14, 2018 - Medicare to overhaul ACOs but critics fear fewer participants
August 14, 2018 - Adolescent health projects receive meager percentage of global funding, study finds
August 14, 2018 - University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center launches new CAR-T therapy trial
August 14, 2018 - In the addiction battle, is forced rehab the solution?
August 14, 2018 - Busting myths about milk – Scope
August 14, 2018 - Platelet-rich plasma does not enhance cartilage formation capabilities of stem cells
August 14, 2018 - Wearable devices and ‘mhealth’ technology emerge as promising tools for better health
August 14, 2018 - Johns Hopkins expert panel develops first set of operation-specific opioid prescribing guidelines
August 14, 2018 - Clinical study suggests new treatment direction for head and neck cancer in heavy smokers
August 14, 2018 - Phase 2 Clinical Data Published Showing Summit’s Ridinilazole Preserved Gut Microbiome of Patients with CDI
August 14, 2018 - Cardiac progenitor cells undergo a cell fate switch to build coronary arteries
August 14, 2018 - Study identifies potential guidance to treat gastric cancer patients
August 14, 2018 - Revealed: The molecular mechanism underlying hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or “workaholic heart”
August 14, 2018 - Diabetes epidemic in Guatemala driven by aging, not obesity
August 14, 2018 - New technology shows potential to streamline the analysis of proteins
August 14, 2018 - Rethinking the stroke rule ‘time is brain’
August 14, 2018 - Incidence of coronary artery compression in children may be more common than previously thought
August 14, 2018 - Study helps to better understand disease caused by Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
August 14, 2018 - AI platform identifies acute neurological illnesses faster than human diagnosis
August 14, 2018 - American College of Rheumatology receives grants to support development of lupus clinical trials
August 14, 2018 - New study explains why women get more migraines than men
August 14, 2018 - American Heart Association Urges Screen Time Limits for Youth
August 14, 2018 - Brief interventions during routine care reduce alcohol use among men with HIV
August 14, 2018 - New genome analysis could identify people at higher risk of common deadly diseases
August 14, 2018 - NIH grant for Mount Sinai to study use of inhaled corticosteroids for treatment of sickle cell disease
August 14, 2018 - Daicel supplies free nanodiamond samples to international researchers
August 14, 2018 - Switching anti-psychotic drugs in first-episode schizophrenia patients does not improve clinical outcomes
August 14, 2018 - Study to examine whether modulating gut bacteria can improve cardiac function in heart failure patients
August 14, 2018 - AI technology could hold key to improving health services
August 14, 2018 - One out of two children not getting enough nutrients needed for their health
Lack of insurance exposes blind spots in vision care

Lack of insurance exposes blind spots in vision care

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Every day, a school bus drops off as many as 45 children at a community eye clinic on Chicago’s South Side. Many of them are referred to the clinic after failing vision screenings at their public schools.

Clinicians and students from the Illinois College of Optometry give the children comprehensive eye exams, which feature refraction tests to determine a correct prescription for eyeglasses and dilation of their pupils to examine their eyes, including the optic nerve and retina.

No family pays out-of-pocket for the exam. The program bills insurance if the children have coverage, but about a third are uninsured. Operated in partnership with Chicago public schools, the program annually serves up to 7,000 children from birth through high school.

“Many of the kids we’re serving fall through the cracks,” said Dr. Sandra Block, a professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry and medical director of the school-based vision clinics program. Many are low-income Hispanic and African-American children whose parents may not speak English or are immigrants who are not in the country legally.

Falling through the cracks is not an uncommon problem when it comes to vision care. According to a 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as many as 16 million people in the United States have undiagnosed or uncorrected “refractive” errors that could be fixed with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. And while insurance coverage for eye exams and corrective lenses clearly has improved, significant gaps remain.

The national academies’ report noted that impaired vision affects how people experience their world, including normal communication and social activities, independence and mobility. Not seeing clearly can hamper children’s academic achievement, social development and long-term health.

But when people must choose, vision care may lose out to more pressing medical concerns, said Block, who was on the committee that developed the report.

“Vision issues are not life-threatening,” she said. “People get through their day knowing they can’t see as well as they’d like.”

Insurance can make regular eye exams, glasses and treatment for medical problems such as cataracts more accessible and affordable. But comprehensive vision coverage is often achieved only through a patchwork of plans.

The Medicare program that provides coverage for millions of Americans age 65 and older doesn’t include routine eye exams, refraction testing or eyeglasses. Some tests are covered if you’re at high risk for a condition such as glaucoma, for example. And if you develop a vision-related medical condition such as cataracts, the program will cover your medical care.

But if you’re just a normal 70-year-old and you want to get your eyes examined, the program won’t cover it, said Dr. David Glasser, an ophthalmologist in Columbia, Md., who is a clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you make an appointment because you’re experiencing troubling symptoms and get measured for eyeglasses while there, you’ll likely be charged anywhere from about $30 to $75, Glasser said.

There are a few exceptions. Medicare will pay for one pair of glasses or contact lenses following cataract surgery, for example. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer vision care.

Many commercial health insurance plans also exclude routine vision care from their coverage. Employers may offer workers a separate vision plan to fill in the gaps.

VSP Vision Care provides vision care plans to 60,000 employers and other clients, said Kate Renwick-Espinosa, the organization’s president. A typical plan provides coverage for a comprehensive eye exam once a year and an allowance toward standard eyeglasses or contact lenses, sometimes with a copayment. Also, individuals seeking plans make up a growing part of their business, she said.

Vision coverage for kids improved under the Affordable Care Act. The law requires most plans sold on the individual and small-group market to offer vision benefits for children younger than 19. That generally means that those plans cover a comprehensive eye exam, including refraction, every year, as well as a pair of glasses or contact lenses.

But since pediatric eye exams aren’t considered preventive care that must be covered without charging people anything out-of-pocket under the ACA, they’re subject to copays and the deductible.

Medicaid programs for low-income people also typically cover vision benefits for children and sometimes for adults as well, said Dr. Christopher Quinn, president of the American Optometric Association, a professional group.

But coverage alone isn’t enough. To bring down the number of people with undiagnosed or uncorrected vision, education is key to helping people understand the importance of eye health in maintaining good vision. Just as important, it can also reduce the impact of chronic conditions such as diabetes, the national academies’ report found.

“All health care providers need to at least ask vision questions when providing primary care,” said Block.

KHN’s coverage of children’s health care issues is supported in part by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles