Are all telemedicine benefits the same? Why are some providers’ PEPM fees so much smaller? While it may seem like these companies are offering a comparable benefit at a much lower price, don’t be fooled by the tiny price tag. Unfortunately, these companies aren’t telling you the true value of their solution. To ensure you make the best decision for your company, you need to know what the telemedicine providers aren’t telling you in their sales pitch. Here are 4 things to watch out for when evaluating a low PEPM provider versus other solutions:
1. They’ll charge hidden fees
A low PEPM can be appealing, but make sure you’re looking at the total cost. Often, these companies charge additional fees for onboarding and engagement programs.
Not only does this make their price advantage smaller, it can also be a real headache for your company. Instead of having a clear implementation plan laid out for you, your HR team will have to do the heavy lifting with employee communications.
2. Your employees will have a copay
These companies typically charge your employees a copay each time they make a call, just as they would at the doctor’s office. Your employees won’t be likely to use this new benefit if it’s just as expensive for them as their traditional healthcare options. Having a copay will save the employer money up front, but it won’t pay off in the long term.
3. Utilization will be low
Utilization is the most important number in evaluating telemedicine programs. But is the telemedicine company being clear about what utilization rate you can expect? Have they given you their average utilization rates from the past year?
These low PEPM providers will often try to obscure the facts about their utilization rates because they’re so low. In fact, the average telemedicine program has a mere 5% utilization rate. Why? Without a full onboarding and engagement strategy, your employees won’t be as informed about the benefit. Plus, the copay disincentivizes them to use the solution.
Changing employee health care habits is hard. If you set up barriers or do a poor job of employee communications, hardly anyone will use the new benefit. It will become just another ancillary benefit that’s costing the employer money.
4. You won’t save any money
A well-run telemedicine program can actually generate a positive ROI by saving the employer more money than it costs. Every time an employee or covered family member calls their telemedicine provider instead of going to an urgent care or emergency room, the employer saves money.
But these savings aren’t realized if employees aren’t using the benefit. Programs with a low utilization rate, even if they cost less, won’t generate the same ROI. A solution like TelaCare, however, can boast an average of 27% direct return on investment.
You Get What You Pay For
It’s tempting when adding a new benefit to go for the lowest cost option. How different can they really be? you might think. But that would be a mistake. These low-cost providers aren’t giving you all the information you need to make the best decision for your company.
To get the utilization to drive true savings, you need a reliable company with a proven ROI, like TelaCare. With telemedicine, you truly do get what you pay for.
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