Telehealth benefits are digital healthcare services that allow employees to “visit” healthcare providers digitally from their computers or phones rather than traveling to a physical office. Telehealth benefits offer an array of virtual medical services including consultations, checkups, health information, and diagnostics.
What are telehealth benefits?
Think about last time you went to a doctor's office. You might have spent an hour or longer commuting there and back, sitting in the waiting room, then waiting even longer for your doctor to come in. For something so essential to self-care, this system is not exactly the picture of convenience.
With telehealth, you can log in — or call in, or even video in — and talk to a doctor, sometimes within minutes. No commute, no handwritten forms, no waiting rooms. Just support when you need it, whenever you need it.
And when we say whenever, we mean whenever. Up with a stomach ache at 2 am? Simply ring up a friendly telehealth nurse who can rule out more worrisome health concerns from the comfort of your home. Need a prescription filled ASAP without the back-and-forth of an appointment? Your teledoc’s got you.
Telecommunication benefits are quickly gaining popularity among busy folks who want healthcare support (and a healthy work-life balance) without the hassle.
And the healthcare industry is responding to that growing demand; 81.2% of employees report that their usual providers offered telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic – and now there’s no looking back. Recently, 35% of large employers and 19% of small employers have expanded their telemedicine benefits to keep up with this growing demand.
There are a variety of services that make up telehealth benefits, ranging from access to virtual doctors appointments, to mental health therapy, to 24-hour nurse practitioner hotlines.
Common telehealth uses include:
- Remote medical diagnosis
- Monitoring ongoing health concerns at home
- Talk therapy counseling
- Psychiatry appointments
- Remote prescriptions sent to your pharmacy
- Watching videos sent by providers on how to use medical equipment
- Getting care from extended office hours
- Nutrition counseling
How do employees use telehealth benefits?
The real beauty of this benefit? It can flex to fit a range of lifestyles and needs.
Say your company’s Finance Director is now working from home with young children — and she’ll take convenience wherever they can get it. Rather than wrestling everyone into the van and traveling to the doctor, she simply picks up the phone and makes a call to get her prescription refilled. Now she has more time to do the things she loves — like picking up toys, or making peanut butter and jelly (sans crusts), or watching the same cartoons over and over. Hey, it’s part of it.
Meanwhile, your Graphic Designer is interested in starting therapy to learn better coping skills for anxiety. But since he lives in a rural area, his provider options are sparse. Rather than driving 45 minutes down the road to see a therapist who may or may not be in-network, he can choose from a wide range of therapists on an online marketplace.
How do telehealth benefits impact employees?
Resolving your team's health issues efficiently means time, and the most valuable thing we can give anyone is time. Time to laugh, time to play, time to focus on what really matters — their wellbeing.
The more time employees save from going to in-person appointments, the more time they have to build that blanket fort, or schedule that “it’s-been-too-long” dinner with friends, or catch that must-see blockbuster flick – you get where we’re going with this. More time means more memories.
Sure, time is money. But, well, money is also money. And telehealth services cost a heck of a lot less than in-person care.
For example, say you come down with a rash or an unexplained bump. It happens. Rather than rushing to the emergency room and later being hit with a big bill, you can just call a doctor to get it checked out and diagnosed from home, easy peasy.
If you’ve ever been to the ER, you already know about the exorbitant costs involved in getting care. Emergency room visits can typically cost upwards of $1,000 on average across the United States. Even just a typical in-person doctor visit costs $85 on average. Compare that to the national median cost for a video-based virtual visit: $50. That’s a lot of time and money saved.
For the 1 in 5 adults reporting an increase in mental health concerns, adding a therapy visit to the to-do list can seem like an insurmountable task. Finding a therapist office that’s both in your community, your network, and your budget — well, it can feel like a needle in a haystack. Without needing to find a brick and mortar office, the number of available providers may have gone from a handful to an abundance. And suddenly, accessing mental healthcare services is much less stressful.
Why should employers offer telehealth?
We’re willing to bet that your employees are busy people. On top of work, everyone has their own stuff going on. Providing them easy access to healthcare gives them time back to take care of business, both on and off the clock.
Time saved for your employees is also time saved… well, for your employees. Rather than blocking off their work calendars for hours-long doctors appointments – and potentially missing out on Big Important Meetings – now they can just step away from their desks for a quick call.
And did we mention these services are effective? One study has shown that of employees who utilized telehealth services, 74% stated their issues were resolved on their visit.
Staying ahead of the ever-changing needs of the people we value can be as easy as providing them easy access to the care they deserve. In this bustling world, remote benefits can be a convenient breath of fresh air. Opt for the convenient coverage — your team will thank you.
What are the best telehealth benefits providers?
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