Advances in technology have made many things in life faster, more convenient, and accessible. Health care is no exception.
The practice of telemedicine is a step forward in the health care industry using telecommunications to bridge the gap of time, distance, and affordability to reach patients in need of medical attention.
Telemedicine facilitates real-time interaction between a doctor and patient, wherever the patient or patient’s family is located. Live video, patient data transfer, and audio are a few of the elements used to open this dialogue and determine the appropriate course of action.
The Advantages of Telemedicine
Designed to treat ailments such as cold and flu symptoms, ear infections, and congestion or sinus problems, telemedicine eliminates the need to go to a doctor’s office where you or your children can come in contact with others who are sick. Instead, you consult with a licensed physician in your state 24/7, 365 days a year who can diagnose and prescribe medications through video or over the phone.
The average wait time from the initial phone call to the time you speak with a doctor is 14 minutes; shorter than the wait for most medical offices and emergency rooms.
Both the employer and employee can save money using telemedicine. Employees miss less work, retaining more of their productivity, and save the cost of a co-pay. This allows companies to reduce claims expenditures and drive down the overall cost of medical coverage while saving the employee out-of-pocket costs. In addition, physicians will automatically prescribe a generic drug unless told otherwise.
Incorporating Telemedicine into an Employee Health Plan
With any health care program, the goal is to create a culture that demonstrates you are thinking about employees and trying to reduce costs, both for employees and your business. Telemedicine can be fully or partially implemented to do just that.
When fully implementing the program, employers cover all the costs for employees. The key is to treat the offering as a value-add to bolster your benefits package.
Employers can also offer to pay a portion of the cost or ask employees to pay for the benefit and make it strictly voluntary. Either way, driving utilization of telemedicine offerings will help employers reduce their overall claims experience.
Other than a small fee to provide the service each month, employers’ only cost is the amount of time put into communicating this offering to employees. As with any new offering, success hinges on your commitment to educate and communicate the service and its benefit. Brokers can help with employee communication and engagement.
Partners in Coverage
Consider Taggart Insurance your partner in implementing and promoting telemedicine coverage and driving utilization of the program. Our advisors can help design and roll-out a program to keep your employees and the bottom line healthy. Contact us to get started.