While you likely see many insurance patients, chances are you also see a good number of private pay patients presenting additional revenue opportunities. So how do you market to the private pay niche? The primary difference between insurance and private pay patients is their payment method, so continue focusing marketing efforts based on your consumer demographics. However, promoting alternative payment methods can help you differentiate with this segment. Consider the following:

  • Appreciated extras. Increase visibility for your practice, and enhance the patient experience by offering free fittings and adjustments. Research shows consumers place a high value on this added service. The extra time and care provided will be invaluable to them, which can increase your retention rate. This an effective way to show all your patients you value their business.
  • CareCredit. Offer private pay patients more purchasing power by offering the CareCredit healthcare credit card in your practice. $5311 is the average out-of-pocket sale for a patient opening a CareCredit credit card inside an optical practice – this is after any potential vision plan benefits or discounts have been applied. Promoting CareCredit is made easy with free marketing materials including patient brochures, dispensing mats, lens cloths, and decals. And, you can promote CareCredit online by visiting carecredit.com/adtoolkit and downloading free digital assets.
  • Individual plans. VSP™ Individual Vision Plans are an affordable way to offer the 43 million patients that don’t have vision insurance a way to get coverage. They’ll enjoy the perks that come with VSP membership without being part of a group plan. Research shows that an individual plan patient has an eye exam every 13 months2 versus private pay eye exam every 30 months. Also, 98% of individual plan patients buy materials after their exam.3You can promote via a link on your website (plus, you’ll earn $8 for every patient that clicks to apply) or through in-office collateral and signage. Find out more at earnmorewithvsp.com.
  • Stay engaged! Patients without vision coverage don’t think about getting their exams on a yearly basis so make sure to pre-schedule their next appointment. This is your opportunity to keep them engaged through regular communications about sunglass specials, trunk shows, and of course reminders about their upcoming appointments. Ask patients to follow you on Facebook to ensure they can take advantage of the seasonal offers your office promotes for healthy vision, all year long.

By utilizing the My Marketing Team tips shared here, you can target private pay patients while educating and benefitting your insurance patients at the same time.


1. Average 2015 1st ticket sales in an optometry practice that accepts CareCredit.
2.  focalCenter Research for NAVCP
3. Based on VSP Individual Vision Plans claims data