US congressional panel probes FTC regulation of vision care insurance

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing on "The Consequences of School Closures", in Washington

Rep. James Comer (R-KY) attends a hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic about the effect of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on students and schools, in Washington, U.S. April 26, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee said on Tuesday it has opened a probe into the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulation of vision care over concerns about concentration in the insurance market.

“The vision insurance market is structured to place only a handful of companies in charge of the vast majority of vision insurance plans for Americans, raising concerns about effects on consumers, including potentially higher costs,” Republican U.S. Representative James Comer, who chairs the panel, said in a statement.

Comer also wrote a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan requesting a staff-level briefing to understand “the extent to which the FTC has worked to ensure that the vision care market serves the best interests of American consumers.”

Comer requested the meeting by Aug. 15.

Vision insurance is offered by specialty insurance companies in the United States and the largest company, VSP Vision Care, (VSP) covers over two-thirds of U.S. enrollees who have vision-only insurance plans, Comer wrote.

“One company, VSP Vision Care (VSP), provides vision insurance for 82 million Americans nationwide,” Comer said in the letter.

The FTC and VSP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Jamie Freed

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.

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