More and more employers are adding Telehealth Services to benefit packages offered to their employees. According to the Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, over 60% of large employers provide medical coverage for telemedicine. Each year, there is an increase in the percentage of companies that recognize the benefits of telemedicine to both the company and the employees.
Cost Benefits to the Employer and the Employee
One of the biggest benefits to telemedicine is reduced costs. Employers have found that telemedicine significantly reduces costs to the company due to a variety of factors. Employees take less sick leave because they not need to take time off from work for medical visits. Employers get the extra benefit of reduced claim costs to the employer's group healthcare plan. Though coverage varies widely, Mercer data shows 75% of employers that offer telemedicine share the cost of the visit with their workers through a co-pay of generally around $25.
Employees are also experiencing savings. An employee will pay a much lower co-pay fee when using telemedicine to consult a medical specialist. Typically, a telemedicine consultation between physician and patient costs around $40 as compared with an in-person office visit that can cost $125. The American Medical Association (AMA) has indicated that 70% of doctor's office visits can most likely be handled over the phone and 50% of ER visits are non-emergencies. On an average, an employee can save approximately $300 per year for a single employee or more than $1,000 per year for a family of four.
Additional Benefits to the Employee
In addition to the cost savings employees experience other benefits from telemedicine, such as:
- Not missing time from work
- No wasted time traveling to doctor’s office
- No transportation costs traveling to doctor’s offices or paying for parking
- No exposure to other patients who may have communicable infections
With so many companies reducing health benefits for employees or shifting their cost is to the employee, offering telehealth benefits for employees can be a win-win for both employers and employees.