Telehealth – using smartphones, tablets and computers to access health care – attracts millions of online medical visitors every year. As one of the fastest-growing benefit trends among employers, telehealth can help companies offer cost-effective health care benefits without sacrificing quality.
Telehealth has been proven to lower health care costs, reduce time off from work, and keep employees and their families healthy and productive. What’s more, it helps employees in several other ways, from significant out-of-pocket cost-savings compared with in-person visits to faster and more convenient access to care.
A growing number of businesses, no matter the size, recognize the advantages of telehealth and are adding this option to their health plans. Nearly 78 percent of large employers surveyed in the Willis Towers Watson 22nd Annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey recommend that employees use telehealth as a preferred healthcare delivery option to replace expensive office or clinic visits for routine illnesses.
Telehealth visits for dozens of the most common conditions can reduce costs significantly for employers – especially those who are self-insured. In fact, some experts determined these savings to be $472 per episode of care.
Up until recently it had been nearly impossible to offer telehealth as a standalone benefit. But now small employers can also offer telehealth as a voluntary benefit, reward, perk or as part of a wellness program within the company and to all employees, regardless of their employment or insurance status.
Employees can enroll in a telehealth program without an insurance plan or as a complement to one. Industry leaders, like Teladoc have partnered with direct-to-consumer providers allowing anyone direct access to the Teladoc network of more than 3,000 telehealth physicians. Teladoc is the largest provider in the industry with more than 23 million members and 1.5 million virtual visits in 2017, achieving 95 percent customer satisfaction.
The direct-to-consumer provider will often bundle additional health care services, which are included at no extra charge, and they allow any employee to have access to a variety of healthcare tools, 24/7 from any device.
Arif Razvi and Joey Truscelli are co-founders of Hello Alvin.