For many employers, telemedicine is seen as a valuable resource not only to increase the accessibility of care for their employees but also as an opportunity to reduce healthcare costs. As employees continue to recognize the value of leveraging telemedicine for their healthcare needs, employers are realizing the financial benefit to their bottom line. According to a report from Healthiest Employers, 93% of employer respondents offered telemedicine as a benefit in 2022. Telemedicine is here to stay, as it has expanded its reach from simple telehealth visits into the spaces of mental and behavioral health and digital coaching.
The recent adoption and continued innovation of telemedicine has provided more avenues for employees to gain access to the care they need. For employees who were previously unable to gain access to care due to geographic or financial blockers, telemedicine has provided them the opportunity to take control of their healthcare when and where they need it. According to a recent report from Business Group on Health, 54% of employer respondents implemented more virtual health opportunities, with 47% indicating they had expanded access to mental health services.
Increased telemedicine utilization can provide some financial relief to employers, as incorporating tele-mental health and other behavioral health services can alleviate the costs traditionally associated with in-patient care in an office or hospital setting, as it is now a top-five driver of plan-paid costs annually, according to a recent Springbuk survey. Employers can also realize cost savings associated with a reduction in urgent care and emergency room visits when employees opt to leverage virtual care options. A reduction in absenteeism due to illness can also be seen when new conditions are treated early via virtual care visits, which also can also include reduced time away from work attending appointments. These visits can often diagnose simple and common conditions early, leading to improved recovery times and less disruption to employee's productivity at work. The nature of telemedicine itself also reduces the risk of spreading communicable illness throughout the workplace.
Your organization can support the adoption of telemedicine programs by providing regular employee communications and resources on the benefits of virtual care to help them get started. By promoting virtual care as a healthcare avenue designed with the employee experience in mind, your organization can reduce the stress and anxiety associated with scheduling and attending appointments. It is important to address potential concerns your employees may have including the privacy of their personal information, the quality of care they are going to receive, and whether or not they have the technology at home to access virtual care.
Remember, the promotion of virtual care is an ongoing process that requires consistent communication to drive the adoption and utilization rates your organization is looking for. To get the conversation started on how your organization can leverage telemedicine to elevate your benefits program, reach out to your local AssuredPartners Account Team.
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