The Benefits of Telemedicine, and New Coverage Available January 2021
When it comes to the topic of telemedicine, or telehealth, we find three things to be true: 1) People don’t understand what it is; 2) they don’t realize how much it can help them take care of the easy healthcare issues; and 3) they don’t have an idea of how low the cost can be. In addition, from the employer’s point of view, they don’t know how best to use it.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine promotes the use of electronic communications and software to care for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically in the same location. In enables doctors and healthcare providers to communicate with patients via telephone, video or email for consultations, diagnoses and prescriptions.
According to GoodRX, the three most common types of telemedicine are:
- Interactive or “live” telemedicine where healthcare providers and patients communicate in real time
- Remote patient monitoring, where physicians can monitor patients through their mobile medical equipment to collect data on items like blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc.
- Store and forward, which enables providers to share a patient’s health information with other healthcare professionals or specialists.
How can Telemedicine Help?
Especially during the pandemic, people are afraid to go to their doctor’s physical office and may put off small issues that could grow to become large issues. Telemedicine offers a way to consult with a primary physician without having to physically be present. Smaller issues such as routine checkups, prescription refills, consultations, and treatments for minor issues such as colds and flu, diarrhea, cuts, and rashes can be addressed. With telemedicine, you can tie your virtual primary care into your primary physician. If they cannot handle the issue, they can refer you to another medical professional who can. Telehealth is also available for mental health issues in the forms of counseling or psychotherapy.
There are a number of healthcare plans in which telemedicine comes with no charge, as opposed to a co-pay for a physical site visit. This encourages patients to maintain their own healthcare on a more regular basis, resulting in a healthier individual.
The most basic usage for telemedicine is urgent care. For example, you get sick at 11 PM and normally would want to go to the emergency room or walk-in clinic. With telemedicine, you can pick up the phone and talk to a doctor who can prescribe what you need and send the prescription to your pharmacy, if that situation applies. For life-threatening emergencies, it is still recommended to go immediately to an emergency room or clinic.
How Much Does Telemedicine Cost?
Employers should review the healthcare coverage they are currently offering. Telemedicine coverage may already be included. However, there’s a new low-cost option…
In January 2021, a New Telehealth Option is Available to Employers and Non-Covered Individuals
For individuals with no healthcare coverage, a virtual primary care option is available as of January 2021. Either individuals can enroll, or companies can offer it as a healthcare option for a very low fee. And discounts for prepaid half-year or yearly coverage are available.
This is a game-changer! For just a few dollars per pay period, this coverage can enable employees (or anyone without coverage) virtual access to a primary care physician via telemedicine without having to incur exorbitant monthly premiums, a high deductible, or expensive co-pays. Nearly 75% of all doctor, urgent care and ER visits can be handled safely and effectively via telehealth—at a fraction of the cost of in-person care. Hospital visits and office visits are not covered; non-insured rates would apply. Contact Benefit Providers to discuss how you can provide telehealth coverage.
See more about telemedicine’s coverage and benefits for both employees and employers on our Telehealth page.
Is Your Current Telemedicine Coverage Costing Your Company?
Some employers are surprised to find out that their current healthcare policy has a hidden telemedicine coverage cost wherein when a telehealth contact was made, that contact was listed as if it was a claim on the policy. When the next year’s premium is recalculated, those claims are taken into account and may raise the premium. Check with your provider to see your terms for telemedicine. Or contact Benefit Providers/ECCA Payroll Services to review your current policy and learn about recommendations for alternative coverage.
Trust Your Healthcare Coverage Needs to Benefit Providers
Contact Benefit Providers/ECCA Payroll Services for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to see how you can reduce your healthcare costs and offer better coverage for your employees. 703-370-2226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.