Regarding Telemedicine and its benefits, phrases like “it’s included”, “no additional cost” or “free” may seem harmless, but should actually be major warning signs when coming from insurance carriers. These “free” benefits can end up costing your clients and their employees far more in the grand scheme of things - roughly $500,000 yearly for a 2,000-employee company. Let’s look at what your clients are getting from “free” benefits and the four reasons to avoid Telemedicine included in major medical policies.
ABOVE ALL, INSURANCE PLANS ARE FOCUSED ON PROFIT
Insurance companies have no interest in teaching or changing risky behaviors to help patients, or your clients, money or to improve the health of your clients’ employees or even to make accessing healthcare easier. They base their profits on calculating risk from its patients and charge accordingly.
Therefore, when employees try to act upon their “free” Telemedicine benefits and encounter many road blocks. If a patient finds their Telemedicine provider’s phone number or website, often they will be subject to long wait times, lengthy registration processes, and co-pays that need to be paid before even being able to see a doctor. Even worse, employees don't receive any guidance or encouragement on how to use said benefits. Then, to top it all off, employees are charged a copay with this “free” benefit. So, it’s “included” in the premium, but actually very far from free.
Major medical plans don’t communicate the necessary information to encourage employees to use embedded Telemedicine benefits. Unlike the insurance companies' timeliness when it comes to sending out its monthly billing statements, the necessary communication introducing and explaining Telemedicine benefits is heavily overlooked by major medical policy providers, leaving employees completely in the dark. Funny how that works, is' it? People can’t benefit from what they don’t know about, so it's important to look very closely to plans and ask questions. Engage and make yourself informed.
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
The missing communication link in major medical policies creates a lack of critical education and understanding from employees, which in turn only creates more confusion. What IS covered? What isn't? Are there hidden costs? If so, what are they? This fear grown from a lack of understanding turns into a mere 1% of employees even using their embedded Telemedicine. It's safe to say that rate is sad and embarrassing.
UNNECESSARY COSTS IN UNNECESSARY HEALTHCARE CLAIMS
So, if your clients’ employees don’t know how or why to make use of these embedded Telemedicine benefit what do they do when they're sick? They do the only thing they know how to do, which is visit an in-person doctor or urgent care facility, which in turn only creates more financial and productivity costs to your clients. An average visit costs around $700, and a carrier-embedded Telemedicine benefit can save a company of 2,000 an annual cost of over $12.00. One Telemedicine benefit with a 44% employee utilization rate can save that same company around $524,000 in avoided claims. So, this “free” benefit is really costing $511,700 in lost savings from totally avoidable healthcare claims.
Don’t be tempted into settling for “free” Telemedicine benefits hidden in major medical policies. Just like with most other "deals", from used cars to headphones at the dollar store, you only get what they pay for. Encourage clients to seek an individual provider known for their transparent communication, because trust and understanding drives employee engagement. Seek providers whose business it is to educate, change behavior, and save clients’ money, because a happy employee is a productive employee.