If there’s one thing benefits leaders have learned over the last six months, it’s that more employees than ever are seeking virtual or telehealth services. SHRM reported that beginning in April, telehealth experienced explosive growth as employees began living under stay-at-home orders.1
According to one survey, 60 percent of respondents who used telemedicine would be more likely to use the option in the future.1 But it’s not all positive; the same study revealed some doubters. Forty-one percent of telemedicine users questioned the quality of care they received, as well as their diagnosis — plus some worried about personal data privacy.1
Telemedicine helps reduce employer benefit costs
Despite these concerns, telemedicine continues to grow in popularity. A 2019 survey by J.D. Power found that 65 percent of users chose telehealth because of a positive recommendation from someone else.1
For most employers looking to reduce benefit costs, telemedicine is promising — especially as the quality gap narrows between clinic and virtual visits. A study by the University of Rochester Medical Center found that telemedicine’s quality of care was as effective as in-person care.2
Over time, telemedicine, like office visits, can build trust between doctor and patient, even if it’s more challenging to form a bond through a computer screen.
Workers, employers can save $500 per visit
To make it simpler for employees to use telemedicine benefits, some employers are eliminating copays for the service. Additionally, employers are beginning to offer on-site, private rooms to employees for telemedicine appointments during the workday.
And telemedicine visits can save employees — and employers — as much as $500 per visit when compared to fees charged by clinics and urgent care services.2
With savings like this, more employers are bound to provide workers with telemedicine benefits. A recent report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) noted telemedicine is the fastest-growing healthcare cost-management technique among employer.3
COVID-19 has certainly spurred the growth of telemedicine. But that trend is likely here to stay — especially as both employers and employees realize its many benefits, including bottom-line savings.
Interested in learning about other benefits-related cost-saving options? Let’s chat. Contact us today — we’re here to support you every step of the way.