Industry experts estimate that 80% of employers will offer telemedicine by 2018. So what exactly is this trending health care benefit? Well, 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.
If you ask a Group Benefits Manager at Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk you’ll discover:
- 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.
You’ll also learn that employers are increasingly relying on telemedicine. According to a recent survey, a third of U.S. employers currently offer telemedicine services to employees as a low-cost alternative to doctor office visits for non-serious medical issues. In 2014, only 22% offered telemedicine services.
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, ahem…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 not only find the right plan, but to also avoid those trying to take advantage of a rapidly growing market.
At Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, we can help you:
- 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 a Group Benefits Manager at Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk.
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