About 49 percent of the population in the United States has health insurance through employers, which means as a whole, employers could be deemed as the largest purchasers of healthcare in the country.1 This profound purchasing power means the employers quite literally have the power to set the standard of healthcare services and costs.
When employers work with benefits providers to negotiate costs and establish standards of care for the benefit of their employees, the entire industry can be affected. Yet, many employers struggle to pinpoint what options in care could make the biggest difference for employees and keep the costs of providing health care benefits low. Modern-day telemedicine could be the path to both.
With health insurance provided by employers, employers are responsible for roughly 82 percent of the costs for a single employee's policy and 70 percent for an employee with family coverage.2 In 2019, the employer's cost of covering a single individual was $7,188 annually, and the costs of covering a family were on average $14,561 per year.2 With expectations for these costs to rise, finding ways to curb the expense is an ever-pressing topic of concern for employers.
Companies have used a litany of best practices to keep costs of covering employers low. Some of the strategies used by the largest employers include:
Another thing the best performing companies do to keep costs of maintaining health coverage low? They consistently analyze the data to make sure what they offer is working. For example, 53 percent of best-performing employers actually analyze the benefit outcomes every year.3 They may use claims data and even employee surveys to determine how specific plans are working out.
Some employers focus specifically on combating health care costs by keeping employees as healthy as possible via convenient care access. For example, an employer may utilize case management services or nurse advice lines to make sure every employee gets the care needed and health advice in a timely manner.
Post COVID-19, telemedicine has grown to be a pertinent care model that is more broadly accepted by both care providers and patients. But telemedicine models did not start with COVID-19. According to the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation, 64 percent of employers actually offered some form of telemedicine benefit for their employees in 2018. By 2019, 82 percent of large employers offered coverage plans that included telemedicine.4
As to how society approaches the evolving healthcare industry, thanks to technology, new platforms have emerged that accommodate the modern-day patient to the fullest. For example, some providers offer strictly telemedicine services that build complete care models for every patient. The patient gets the opportunity to adopt a full team of care providers that tend to their everyday needs as a patient, whether that is physically or psychologically. Even better, the patient gains the advantage of access to nearly 24/7 care that they get on their terms or when it is convenient for them.
The telemedicine care model can involve everything from phone conversations with a practicing nurse, to video appointments with a licensed practitioner. The care provided can be just as efficient as an in-person visit, but because the care model is simplified, some care providers offer lower rates for these types of visits.
Telemedicine works for managing costs for employers for a few other reasons:
Telemedicine makes it possible for an employee to grab their phone or sit at home at their computer and get direct advice from a qualified medical professional. The bulk of cost reduction comes from more accessible health monitoring. A patient can talk to a doctor from home about their medical situation instead of heading to the local ER or urgent care center for a diagnosis. This, alone, can mean that costs associated with medical care as a whole are reduced, and employers offering care benefits save money.
With so many modern patients now seeking telemedical care for its convenience, building benefit plans that include this type of care for your employees is ever-important. Virtual care can offer almost immediate fixes for ailments that could be far more costly, make preventative care simplified, and enhance disease management. If you are interested in learning more about telemedicine for your employees, reach out to us at Firefly Health.
Sign up takes 2 minutes · No membership fees · Cancel anytime
· Sign up takes 2 minutes
· No membership fees
· Cancel anytime