As I write this article, we are approaching the end of the calendar year. Holiday decor, cold weather and basketball season are all in full gear. So what does the end of the year mean for an optometry practice? In many cases, this is a practice’s busiest time with patients trying to get in last minute. And why?
Two reasons: a need to use insurance before year end and a FSA account that’s burning a hole in a pocket or purse.
While insurance is not something we can influence in our practice, FSA (flex spending account) money is something that is a substantial revenue generator and surprisingly, it can often go untapped!
The first step in capturing FSA dollars is to make sure the patient is aware that they have them and can use them in your practice. Build awareness both visually and audibly. Then train your staff to raise awareness with the patient.
Build visual awareness. Some patients are visual learners and respond better to reading or seeing that they have FSA benefits. In my office, we have small curated signs in our optical and front desk area reminding patients to use their FSA dollars. Other practices have brochures on FSA dollars, while others include it as a note on recall postcards or marketing mailings.
- Build audible awareness. As the doctor, when cost comes up, FSA can be brought up as an option. Often patients think of paying with credit card or cash and don’t even think of using their FSA dollars.
- Have Staff Raise Awareness. Train your staff to remind patients about FSA dollar utilization. Front desk personnel and techs can do this before or after exams. Opticians can do this during frame selects. Have your staff remind patients that their FSA dollars can go a long way for many types of eyewear or contact lenses!
Present Materials and Services
Often the patient wonders what they can actually use their FSA dollars on. This is where both provider and staff education comes into play. Remind patients that FSA money can be used on nearly all materials including:
Contact Lens Solution and Devices
FSA spending does not necessarily stop at materials. Certain procedures including screenings like Optomap or Optovue OCT Wellness tests can be covered with FSA money.
I have found it useful for opticians to bring up FSA, especially if a patient is struggling with completing the transaction due to price. Although FSA money comes directly from an individual’s pay, the psychological component behind it often makes an individual believe it is “gift money that must be used.”
This in turn, will make the individual more likely to use the FSA money to lighten the load of their total bill.