As you sort through various vendors in of search of employee benefits, it's important to be aware of their sales pitch. For you, asking detailed questions, double-checking on references, and evaluating the numbers should all be a part of the process. Since many vendors offer similar benefits to one another, their biggest competition factor relies on the price. So, how can you tell if that one company offering a surprisingly low price is really too good to be true?
This is exactly what telemedicine companies offering low PEPMs do. You're enticed by the seemingly great deal, yet they never reveal the real value of the product they're selling you on. While you research your options, here are some key things to keep in mind that telemedicine companies probably just aren't telling you.
THE HIDDEN FEES
We all wish those prices that seem to good to be true were genuine, but, truthfully, telemedicine companies love to stick on those fees for on-boarding and engagement programs under the guise that these programs are what will begin driving your savings.
After they sneak you with some implementation fees, a lot of telemedicine companies will then charge a $40 co-pay for each time an employee calls a healthcare provider. That's not even a significant enough of a difference from a typical primary care physician to sway them from breaking their preexisting medical care routine. Basically, you may pay a lower PEPM as an employer if you use this option, but you’re just shifting the cost to your staff in the form of a standard co-pay.
EMPLOYEES OFTEN DON'T USE THEM
Unsurprisingly, piling on a bunch of fees leads to low utilization rates. That's just common sense. A big fault of telemedicine companies is that they are not transparent enough in their approach about their rates for you to know what level of usage to expect. Make sure they have these statistics to provide for you in order to see that employees in fact do use their services.
PEOPLE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT
If your employees have been receiving medical attention the same way for years, what's going to make them stop and change that now? Telemedicine companies tend to not be transparent about how hard it can be to get your employees to shift to a new system, and you can't blame them. If they don't know what to expect from the service, why would they risk it?
YOU DON'T SAVE ANY MONEY
Only a small percentage of employees actually act upon their telemedicine, 7% to be exact. That's definitely not an effective enough usage to drive any savings for your company. When screening providers, look for ones that boast a high utilization rate to know that they are good on their word.
Make sure to keep each of these points in mind as you sort through all of your telemedicine provider options and employee benefits alike. You deserve a return on your investment as much as your employees deserve quality healthcare without hidden costs in order to drive the savings you intended by going with whatever provider you choose.