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Newly Introduced Federal Legislation Puts Doctors and Patients Back in Control of Important Health Care Decisions

AOA-backed “DOC Access Act” targets health and vision plan abuses; improves quality and access for millions of patients.

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(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON – A bi-partisan bill backed by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to counter abusive practices in the federally regulated vision and dental coverage markets, and ensure patients and doctors – as opposed to insurance and plan executives – are at the center of important health care decision-making.

“The DOC Access Act seeks to completely ban, at the Federal level, anti-doctor and anti-patient policies of vision plans,” said Barbara L. Horn, O.D., AOA president. “The AOA is proud to join with the American Dental Association in supporting this legislation and in thanking Reps. Loebsack, Carter and all of the other original co-sponsors for their decisive leadership.”

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Introduced by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) on July 15th, H.R. 3762, or the Dental and Optometric Care Access (DOC Access) Act, already enjoys support from seven cosponsors, building upon the overwhelming support generated in the 115th Congress with 105 U.S. House Republicans and Democrats. The bill would eliminate plan mandates being forced on patients and their doctors that ultimately result in higher prices and less access to care. In effect, the legislation would complement state-level vision plan laws by disallowing detrimental policies by ERISA and other federally regulated vision and health plans, namely:

  • Limits on a doctor’s choice of lab
  • Mandates on noncovered services and materials

Each year, millions of Americans rely on local doctors of optometry for their comprehensive vision and eye health care needs. While many patients have coverage for medical eye care through a health plan, roughly 200 million Americans have supplemental preventive eye exam and materials (glasses/contact lenses) benefits through a vision plan.

Unfortunately, special legal treatment (vision plans often aren’t regulated like health insurers) and a lack of competition in the market. Currently, a small number of national, vertically—integrated plans monopolize markets in a large majority of communities. In fact, the two most dominant vision plans provide coverage to roughly two-thirds of Americans with this coverage, which means plans can dictate how doctors furnish services thereby limiting patient choice.

A 2016 study by Avalon Health Economics conducted by a group of independent health economists found that this kind of monopsony behavior exhibited by vision plans harms consumers. Avalon concluded that “such mandates have another effect – they lead to higher overall costs for these consumers and, especially, for consumers without vision plans as doctors are forced to compensate for the transfer of operating margins from doctors to the plans.”

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Already, 42 states have enacted legislation addressing these and other plan abuses; however, roughly one-third of plans operating in any given state can sidestep these laws because they are federally regulated. Moreover, some of these states only provide protections from one of dental or vision plans but not both.

AOA’s member doctors of optometry and students are encouraged to urge their U.S. House members to co-sponsor the bill. Visit AOA’s Online Legislative Action Center for more information on supporting optometry’s priority issues.

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Press Releases

Safilo Group and Marc Jacobs Renew Licensing Deal

The new agreement will now run until Dec. 31, 2026.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PADUA/NEW YORK — Safilo and designer Marc Jacobs announced the early renewal of their licensing agreement for Marc Jacobs-branded optical frames and sunglasses collections.

The agreement will now run until Dec. 31, 2026.

The renewal of this partnership, which has reached its 15th year of collaboration, further strengthens Safilo’s portfolio in the contemporary segment.

It also extends the positioning of the brand in the luxury segment with the launch of the Marc Jacob’s Runway eyewear collection, which will hit the market in January 2021.

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Press Releases

Marcolin Group Enters a Partnership with Positive Luxury

This is by sponsoring the inaugural Positive Luxury Awards 2020.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Marcolin Group, a worldwide leading company in the eyewear industry, announces its partnership with Positive Luxury for their first edition of the Positive Luxury Awards. The ceremony is taking place in London on the 25th of February 2020 and the Group will present the Innovation of the Year Award.

Founded in 2011, Positive Luxury is an award-winning sustainability platform that connects luxury brands with people working towards a better future through the unique Butterfly Mark, a symbol of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a key business principle.

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Podcast: Is Eyecare in Canada Really More Like the US Than We Think?

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The Positive Luxury Awards 2020 is a global celebration of sustainability and innovation within the luxury industry, featuring a variety of categories recognizing companies or individuals affecting positive change in businesses and the global community.

Marcolin Group will sponsor the Innovation of the Year Award which identifies true innovators taking an entirely new approach to their service, product, technology or business model, improving their social or environmental performance while also offering large scale improvements internally and externally.

The evening’s winners will be selected by a special jury consisting of 12 global business leaders, including American-British model and activist, Arizona Muse, United Nations officer, Simone Cipriani, author of The New Green Consumer Guide, Julia Hailes, business writer and advisor, John Elkington, author and British Fashion Council’s Advisory Board member, Frances Corner, model, actress and activist, Amber Valletta, Parsons School of Design Dean of Fashion, Burak Cakmak, communications consultant and writer, Emma Young, journalist and author, Isabelle Lefort, Business for Social

Responsibility Managing Director, Elisa Niemtzow, and Imagine Co-founder and International Chamber of Commerce Chair, Paul Polman.

Massimo Renon, Marcolin Group CEO, affirmed: “Marcolin Group is the first international eyewear company collaborating with Positive Luxury. We will demonstrate to our partners and consumers that we are tracing a new path in the sustainability. Our relentless pursuit of innovation and experimentation has led Marcolin Group to become the first sponsor for The Positive Luxury Innovation of the Year Award”.

Diana Verde Nieto, Co-Founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, stated: “Marcolin Group’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality has helped them build an unparalleled reputation in the eyewear industry. We are proud to work with them and have their support for the Positive Luxury Awards 2020, more specifically, the Innovation of the Year Award”.

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Press Releases

Bollé Brands Adds to North American Marketing Team

Chris Abbruzzese has been appointed to the VP trade marketing role.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BOSTON, MA — Chris Abbruzzese has been named vice president of trade marketing for Bollé Brands, North America.

Abbruzzese will be responsible for developing trade marketing strategies that align with Bollé’s global brand strategies. In this new role, Abbruzzese will act as the key bridge between global marketing and product teams and the North American sales team with an emphasis on in-store programs that promote retail success and drive sell-through.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris to the team and excited to have him help us take these great brands to the next level,” said Peter Smith, CEO of Bollé Brands

Abbruzzese brings 15 years of experience with Maui Jim Sunglasses, where he served as VP, Global Marketing. In that role, he developed and executed global marketing initiatives for the high-end sunglass line. As a member of the core team, he was instrumental in the early growth and expansion of the brand internationally.

Abbruzzese has also performed marketing and sales consulting services for clients in the outdoor, home automation, energy, optical, and digital fabrication industries.

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