Castro passes bill to create transparency in vision care plansState Senator Cristina Castro is spearheading a measure that would cut down on referrals to out-of-network providers and give vision care patients more freedom and flexibility to choose where to receive vision care services.

“I have heard time and again the hoops people have to jump through to get affordable vision care and eyeglasses,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “Removing barriers and increasing transparency for vision care patients will help make sure that they can access in-network providers without being charged extraneous fees set by their vision plan.”

Senate Bill 764 would prohibit vision care plans from requiring a vision care provider to, as a condition of their participation, provide services at a fee set by the vision care plan, unless the services are in-network and covered under the plan. The bill also requires vision care providers to disclose any business interests they have with an out-of-network source or supplier they recommended to a patient. Upon the patient’s request, vision care providers would be required to offer in-network sources instead.

A 2017 study published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that vision impairments, loss or blindness can cost a person an average of $16,838 annually. That total does not include routine vision and eye care exams or care for a condition that is not associated with vision loss.

Senate Bill 764 passed the Senate Thursday.