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Telehealth: What’s in It for You?

Telehealth: What’s in It for You?

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At its functional core, telehealth is a healthcare solution that allows individuals to reach a doctor at any time, from any place. In contrast, primary care brings with it an inherent lag time, sometimes taking days or even weeks. With telehealth, patients don’t have to leave their homes. The bottom line: these solutions are efficient with respect to both cost and time. In this installment of CenterStage, Zach Gerhardt of ClearPath Benefits has offered up his best expertise on telehealth as a resource for lowering healthcare premiums for employers.

Traditional Care Can’t Keep Up

We are becoming increasingly more time driven as a community and country. In fast-paced working environments, the quickest option usually wins out, and telehealth is that option. Spending time in an urgent care waiting room is lost earnings for the employee and, as a result, the employer. An average virtual visit costs about as much as a primary care copay. Additionally, telehealth eliminates ER abuse. Employers who have implemented telehealth as part of their benefits strategy have seen positive effects, such as healthier employees and lower annual healthcare costs. Utilizing telehealth is like having a doctor in the office 24/7.

Employees always have access to their provider, alleviating frustration and illness. Zach explained, “Telehealth is cost-friendly, time-friendly and revolves around you. In a fast-paced country like our own, this convenience factor is welcomed over traditional wait times and costs…Implementing a nice strategy with telehealth aids in your employees becoming more active participants in healthcare.”

The ER Is for Emergencies

Emergency room costs are staggering, and the introduction of affordable alternatives is the only way to bring them down. To illustrate, a typical trip to the ER will cost an employee anywhere from $200 to $500 plus copay – and that’s if things go well. On the other hand, business owners are seeing costs in the thousands. Besides saving time, telehealth programs aren’t constantly draining corporate medical claims. In most cases, if an employee visits an urgent care clinic, claims costs are raised for both the individual and the group. Moreover, patients are able to hop on the phone and look a doctor in the eye with ease. This convenience has proven to be a driving factor in telehealth’s effectiveness: regardless of location, a traveling businessperson is able to contact a physician with whom they are comfortable and receive a prescription.

It’s Always Good to Have a Plan

“In regard to medical management strategy, you’re empowering your employees to seek medical care before illness escalates. You’re promoting a healthy utilization of healthcare with easier access to care through telehealth,” said Zach. Having a forward-thinking medical management strategy is the answer to combating emergency room overuse and the associated costs. Telehealth-centric plans allow patients access to care before issues escalate and, in turn, diminish unnecessary trips to the ER. Alternatively, employees are knowledgeable to the costs they are responsible for prior to use. In the end, telehealth is grounded in promoting healthy utilization of care.

“We have access to industry-leading products at reduced, wholesale prices. Further, ClearPath Benefits can create campaigns that drive telehealth utilization to reduce costs for business owners and elevate their employees’ experience. These services are truly a significant evolution in healthcare, and we would like to facilitate their use to our clients,” Zach explained. If you would like to learn more, contact Zach Gerhardt at ClearPath Benefits for further information.

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