Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual care was becoming a more viable option in healthcare. Telehealth options are an expected part of healthcare plans these days, and for good reason. Telehealth fills the gap in American medical plans, offering critical care to patients who can't access in-person services.
As an employer, providing virtual care in your insurance plan is essential. This ensures that your employees have access to medical care 24/7. As the pandemic continues and employees are increasingly working from home, this is more important than ever. So what should you know about providing the virtual care that your employees need?
When choosing a healthcare plan for your employees, make sure that it includes telehealth options. If you already have a plan in place, look into your options for adding or expanding telehealth access. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that remote work is likely here to stay. More and more services are becoming remote to reflect this.
Telehealth is not becoming more popular only because of people wanting to stay home. Once seen as a substitute for "real" medical care, it is now showing itself as a valuable and permanent facet of modern healthcare.
Telehealth is an excellent option for those who have limited transportation options, physical disabilities, or other limitations. What is more, it offers round-the-clock access to everyone. This means that all your employees have equal access to medical care at any time.
Some employers wonder if telehealth is worth it, especially if they have a small office or work team. But the truth is that virtual care helps everyone, even employees at small businesses. Here are some of the top benefits that virtual care offers employers and employees alike.
Virtual healthcare has opened up new resources for patients. As we mentioned above, people now have access to healthcare around the clock. More and more frequently, we are realizing that care does not require an in-office visit. Doctors can easily listen to symptoms and prescribe medication remotely.
This is a huge benefit for patients who have difficulty accessing in-person care for any number of reasons. Lack of transportation, limited physical mobility, lack of childcare, and other limitations all keep people from going to the doctor.
More seriously, fewer and fewer millennials have a primary care physician. Increasingly, they seek out alternative options like urgent care facilities. Virtual healthcare helps bridge the gap and make sure everyone has equal access to medical care.
Lastly, it is essential to remember that virtual medical care does not just cover physical health. Patients can also access mental health services remotely, an option that is likely to make more people more likely to seek these services out.
The bottom line: when your employees have more access to medical services, your workforce will be happier and healthier.
If you are skeptical about adding virtual health options to your insurance plan, you shouldn’t be. There are also benefits for employers.
First off, telehealth options save money. They reduce the cost of unnecessary in-person visits. They also cut back on the cost of insurance premiums, which is a boon to employers.
What is more, they also help keep employees healthier, reducing the number of sick days they need. This is because they have constant and immediate access to care when they start to feel sick.
This is not to mention that your workplace will also stay healthier. By reducing the need for employees to come into work while they are sick, telehealth minimizes the risk of illness spreading from person to person and knocking out more of your workforce.
It may seem obvious, but make sure that you educate your employees about their virtual care options. Telehealth is just becoming known as a mainstream form of medical care. Your employees might not know what their insurance plan covers or how it can benefit them.
Employers can let their staff know about their options in several ways. However you decide to do it, make sure the information spells out precisely what services are covered. Your employees might not realize all the ways that they can benefit from having telehealth available to them.
In case your employees need an extra reason to use telehealth services, you may want to consider offering incentives. Many employers have done this and had good results. Some have offered gift cards for merely signing up for telehealth services. This has increased employee usage.
Other incentives might be offering options for group health or fitness sessions. While people work from home, they are looking for ways to socialize and stay in shape. Offering these kinds of incentives could be a way to introduce your employees to the possibilities of virtual care.
With all the options available to businesses, how do you choose the right telehealth coverage for your employees?
When choosing a telehealth plan, make sure to look for one that prioritizes improving technology. Virtual care is a still-developing concept. Providers should always be looking for ways to improve their platform and make care even more accessible.
No two patients are alike. Everyone has different healthcare needs and priorities. Look for a telehealth platform that lets members choose the services they want to use. This may also save you money on insurance premiums.
Some telehealth services are basic, with essentially just urgent care consultation offerings. Look for a program that offers a more varied “menu”, with options for mental healthcare, prescribing medications, and more.
Considering all these options is the best way to make sure you offer your employees a virtual health plan that is genuinely beneficial to them. With better healthcare options, you can ensure that you have a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace.
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