Telemedicine and the Fight Against Rising Healthcare Costs
Rising healthcare costs leave many employers and employees struggling to find quality healthcare for an affordable price. As the open enrollment period heats up, healthcare costs are front and center in the minds of employers and employees alike. Premiums, co-pays, and deductibles are all increasing for many.
The problem: Rising healthcare costs
Rising healthcare costs are a top concern for employers and employees. Everyone is struggling to find affordable quality healthcare in today’s market. Premiums have risen at a faster rate than wages in recent years. Per a report from Freedom Partners, between 2009 to 2014 health insurance premiums rose an average of 28 percent, while wages only increased approximately 7.8 percent.
According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, health insurance deductibles have increased over 250% over the last ten years. Eight out of ten employees with individual coverage will end up having to pay out more than $1,300.00 before their insurance will begin to cover their medical expenses. That number is even higher for family coverage. In many, cases plans that have lower premiums for employers are leaving employees shouldering a larger portion of the financial burden for healthcare coverage.
Employers do not take this impact to this workforce lightly when making decisions on healthcare benefit offerings. They are constantly searching for creative ways to offset the additional financial burden to their employees. Telemedicine is the perfect solution to fighting rising healthcare costs.
The Solution: Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a benefit that is becoming more popular with employers and employees. In the current healthcare environment, and through advances in technology, the role of telemedicine is expanding. With the use of smartphones, tablets, and computers, healthcare professionals have the capability to treat anyone, anywhere at any time. These advances have not only expanded healthcare access, but also helped to reduce rising healthcare costs.
Over 36 million Americans have used telemedicine in some way. As many as 70% of doctor visits can be via phone or video conference. Telemedicine is becoming a more trusted delivery method for healthcare. A survey conducted by the National Business Group on health, found that seventy-four percent of those employers that responded expect to offer telemedicine by the end of 2016. With the advances in technology, telemedicine has the potential to save the healthcare system significant amounts of time and money. An analysis by Towers Watson reported that, if utilized by all employees and their dependents, telemedicine could potentially deliver over $6 Billion in healthcare savings each year to U.S. companies.
AllyHealth telemedicine provides convenient (24/7/365) access to quality healthcare via phone, video conference, or smartphone app. There are no claims associated, and no co-pays or fees per consult, with most AllyHealth plans. Employers and employees save time and money!
3 Ways Telemedicine Fights Rising Healthcare Costs
There are 3 key ways that AllyHealth telemedicine works to lower healthcare costs.
1.) Telemedicine reduces claims for employers by diverting non-emergency medical issues away from the ER and urgent care.
When an employee goes to an ER or urgent care it results in a claim for the employer, and an out-of-pocket cost for the employee. By diverting non-emergency medical issues to telemedicine, and away from the ER and urgent care, the claim is eliminated. Weather self-funded or fully-funded, lower claims leads to lower healthcare costs. Self-funded employers are paying the claims themselves and lower claims means less money paid out in claims. Fully-funded employers see a direct link to rising premiums and high claims experience. Reducing the number of claims will reduce the total claims experience which will lead to lower premiums over time for employers.
2.) $0 cost per consult means less out-of-pocket costs for employees.
Employers that provide AllyHealth telemedicine, are providing their employees a way to offset the increase in out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Because most AllyHealth plans offer a $0 cost per consult service, employees save on those out-of- pocket costs that would otherwise be associated with co-pays and deductibles.
3.) Access to quality healthcare 24/7/365 increases productivity.
When employees are out sick there is a direct impact to the bottom line. Typically, an employee’s hourly rate would have to be multiplied times 2 to 3 to get the true hourly productivity value to the company. If an employee is making $20.00 per hour, they would have to produce $40.00 to $60.00 per hour for their company. By this math, approximately one third is their hourly rate of pay, one third will cover company overhead and one third pays for company growth and profit. This means that if an employee paid $20.00 per hour misses 4 hours of work it will cost the company $240.00. Many employers have begun shifting toward offering health benefits that are aimed at improving the health and wellness of employee and their families, as well as providing better access to quality health care. Healthier employees mean lower employee absence. Lower employee absence means increased productivity. Employees also get to save the time-off they have earned for fun and relaxation, instead of sitting in a germ filled waiting room to see the doctor and incur an out-of-pocket co-pay expense.
The AllyHealth Difference
AllyHealth offers an industry leading telemedicine service that is focused on driving adoption. Telemedicine is a valuable benefit that can save employers and employees significantly, if it is utilized. Driving telemedicine utilization is something that most companies don’t invest enough into from the initial benefit launch. Ongoing education about the telemedicine benefit is key. What does it treat? How can it be accessed? These are simple questions to answer and yet in most cases there is not much effort put towards providing this information. Most telemedicine companies have educational and marketing pieces already developed, and can make them available to the employer at little or no cost. Something as simple as a monthly email to employees would dramatically increase utilization of the telemedicine benefit.
AllyHealth offers account management support to clients to drive adoption and utilization rates which lead to increased ROI. A comprehensive communication campaign plan toolkit is available to all AllyHealth clients. Educational and promotional materials are available to help make sure employees know about their telemedicine benefit and how it works. Quarterly reports are available for clients to measure performance. All of these things make AllyHealth a partner in fighting rising healthcare costs and improving wellness.
Everyone is faced with rising healthcare costs. Telemedicine has the potential to help employers and employees offset some of those costs. Access to quality medical treatment 24/7/365. Anytime. Anywhere. Everyone saves money and time with AllyHealth telemedicine. Call us today or visit www.AllyHealth.net for more information.