A Guide on Telemedicine Benefits for Employers

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine was on the rise in the United States. Offering telemedicine benefits as part of your employee healthcare plan has numerous advantages for all.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a practice that involves visiting and consulting with a healthcare provider remotely, via phone call or HIPAA-compliant video conferencing tool. While not conducive to more serious health concerns, telemedicine is generally used for conditions that don’t require hands-on care, such as the flu, a fever, mental health ailments, and some preventative health services. Patients can discuss symptoms with their provider, who will prescribe medication, recommend treatment, or, in some cases, suggest the patient schedule an in-person visit for further examination. 

With many states recommending people quarantine and stay at home as much as possible, telemedicine is more prevalent than ever. 

Why offer employees telemedicine benefits?

As a business owner and employer, why should you ensure telemedicine is part of your healthcare coverage?

First and foremost, telemedicine can result in a healthier and more productive workforce. Employees don’t have to take time away from work to pay a visit to their doctor, while still getting the care they need. On average, it takes 121 minutes for a person to seek care in a traditional setting, with only 20 of those minutes spent actually being seen by a doctor — the remainder is the remainder is spent on transportation and in the waiting room. Fewer work absences and better access to quality care means higher productivity and growth for your business. 

Telemedicine services also mitigate preventative healthcare costs for you and your workers. Costs for general healthcare are only increasing, causing many people skip out on their regular care appointments in an effort to save money. Without preventative care, employees are more prone to chronic conditions that require more advanced and expensive surgical and/or specialized treatments. Since telemedicine appointments don’t require the equipment and staff of an in-office visit, they typically bill less. As a result, insurance has to pay less. Your group healthcare plan may also offer financial incentives for telemedicine coverage. Employees will also experience savings, paying less out of pocket for their appointments. Plus, utilizing telemedicine saves covered individual employees approximately $300 per year. 

Finally, telemedicine benefits are a selling point for attracting new talent to your business, reducing turnover, and staying competitive in the current job market. As younger generations enter the labor pool, the demand for innovative and convenient job benefits and perks is on the rise. If employees are satisfied with their healthcare benefits, they are more likely to stay in their role, according to a survey from America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP).   

What should you do?

As an employer, you should take the necessary steps to determine whether your current insurance carrier and plan includes telemedicine coverage. If it doesn’t, consider offering additional coverage; it may cost more upfront, but with healthier and more productive employees, it could save you in the long run.

If your plan does in fact already include telemedicine services, be sure to communicate that with your employees. Chances are, if you weren’t aware that you had this coverage, your employees aren’t either. Provide helpful documentation that thoroughly explains the plan and what members of your staff can expect to pay for different types of telemedicine appointments. 

Along with promoting this aspect of your health benefits, don’t forget to always recommend other practices your employees can take to stay as healthy as possible — not just during COVID, but well after it’s over. 

Telemedicine isn’t going away

In a post-COVID world, telemedicine will be here to stay. As the workforce has adjusted to working, socializing, and exercising from home, so too have they gotten used to seeing their healthcare providers remotely. 

Consider adding or expanding your telemedicine coverage for better employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. The employee benefits team at Doeren Mayhew Insurance Group can help you evaluate your current employee healthcare benefits, compare other options, and determine the best plan for your needs. Contact us today to get started.