Development of the Tele-Health Industry

Knowing that most employers are struggling with rising premiums, increasing deductibles and lowered front-end benefits is one way of helping to offset the increases. There is a little known benefit that can be used to not only help the employer reduce their cost, it can also be seen by the employees as an actual increase in benefits.

Sometimes this benefit is called Tele-Health, Tele-Medicine or Doctors by Phone – or sometimes it is just known by the company names. There are fewer than 10 major players in this market and even though each company has a little different approach, the basic idea is that a patient can communicate with a physician without being in front of him.

This can benefit the employer in two ways; reduced cost and increased morale

Reduced Cost

When plan participants use Tele-Health, you don’t incur a claim on your medical insurance. By designing your benefits to steer participants to Tele-Health, you can see an improvement in your medical loss ratio of around 10%.

Increased Morale

Many employers have been reducing benefits and increasing the employee’s contribution levels. It isn’t easy trying to figure out how to explain another increase in deductible or an increase in the premium contribution the employee has to make. The employees will be pleased to learn that although there has been a reduction in benefits in recent years, this year they will actually be receiving a benefit that provides them no-cost telephone doctor visits for common issues.

How It Works

A member can get a primary care physician on the phone 24/7 for typical non-emergency and routine medical issues, including having a prescription written, if appropriate.  Specific examples of routine medical care include cold and flu, upper respiratory infections, upset stomach, sinusitis, ear infections and many other everyday ailments. Tele-Health is not intended to fully replace your family physician but to serve as an alternative to costly emergency room and urgent care clinic visits.