Telemedicine generally refers to the practice of using telecommunications technologies (phone, Internet, etc.) to diagnose and treat patients, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s come a long way. Consider this:
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services describes telemedicine as a cost-effective alternative to providing medical care.
- The American Medical Association says telemedicine is a key innovation that can maintain patient safety, improve access to health care and control costs.
- Industry analysts expect significant growth in the telemedicine market over the next few years.
Employers are taking notice of the benefits of telemedicine. According to a recent survey, 22% of large U.S. employers currently offer telemedicine services to employees as a low-cost alternative to doctor office visits for non-serious medical issues; 37% expect to begin doing so in 2015.
A primary benefit of telemedicine is fewer unscheduled absences by employees needing to see or take their child to a doctor for non-serious medical issues. Research shows that a majority of doctor visits are unnecessary. A cough, for example, can often be treated safely and effectively with telemedicine. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most frequent reason for going to the doctor is…a cough.)
Employers offering telemedicine services also benefit from:
- Healthier employees
- Fewer employee sick days
- Increased productivity
- Measureable reduction in health care (insurance) costs
Telemedicine service plans are typically structured as discount card programs. These plans are not insurance and should not be considered a substitute for health insurance. Employers considering a telemedicine program should work with a reputable broker to find the right plan and avoid those trying to take advantage of a rapidly growing market.
At Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, we make it easy to:
- Evaluate options
- Find the best solution
- Obtain competitive pricing
- Implement and integrate a new plan into existing benefit programs
If you would like more information, please contact us.