Care on Location was represented at the Denver Small Business Expo to both learn from others and to educate about the benefits of using telemedicine as a cost-saving employee benefit. To learn a bit more about how telemedicine may be able to benefit your small business, read below
When an employee of a small business has to either leave or take time off of work for an illness or injury, the workflow and productivity of that small business can become significantly disrupted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that US employers lose approximately $1685 per employee per year in productivity due to personal and family health problems. This comes to about $226 billion annually. Additionally, the time, effort, and cost of obtaining that care can be excessive and burdensome for the employee.
The following is a scenario that plays out in emergency departments, urgent care clinics, and workers comp offices all across the country every day:
At a small business, an employee has a minor injury or illness. Not bad enough to require an ambulance but bad enough that the employee cannot or should not drive themselves to seek care. So either the owner or another employee is tasked with taking the ill or injured employee to seek medical care. This essentially removes two productive people from the daily operations of a business. That second individual may stay with the employee (now a patient) which can take them both out of commission for multiple hours and often take the employee out of work for the rest of the day.
Companies that employ fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide health insurance as a benefit. This may leave many employees either uninsured, or self-purchasing insurance. Those that self-purchase may opt for a High-Deductible Health Plan due to the lower monthly premiums compared to other plans. As of 2015 about 39% of individuals with private insurance are covered under some type of High-Deductible plan according to the National Center for Health Statistics. What this means is that the employee may be on the hook for more than $6000 per year out of pocket if covering the family PLUS the monthly cost of the plan premium itself. The situation can be more financially straining for some as approximately 25% of those with these High-Deductible Health Plans have no Health Savings Account(HSA) funded to help pay for the out-of-pocket expenses. The average employee receives in-person medical care 2.5 times per year according to analysis of employer medical claims data by Willis Towers Watson. The cost of that care could be significantly reduced if even some of it was provided through a telemedicine visit.
What if the evaluation, treatment, and return to work advice could be performed while still at the place of employment? The employee can be seen at the workplace through any video and audio enable computer with an internet connection. This method could significantly lower healthcare costs for the employee plus reduce travel and other hassles. A telemedicine evaluation can allow for that employee to remain at work which avoids both lost wages for them and lost productivity for the employer. If in-person care is recommended, instead of the often default decision by the employer/employee to go to the emergency room, a more appropriate and cost-effective next-step can be recommended.
Providing a telemedicine video visit package as part of an employee benefit can help prevent employee absenteeism, maintain productivity, and keep your employees happier by potentially saving them hundreds or even thousands compared to an ER visit. While not a replacement for health insurance, it is a significantly less expensive way to provide some level of health benefit to employees.
For those employees that do have private medical insurance, Colorado has a Telemedicine Parity Law which essentially requires the insurance companies to cover the cost of a telemedicine evaluation. So, these visits can either be directly billed to certain insurance companies with whom Care on Location participates, or the employee can submit the medical bill to the insurance company for reimbursement. The number of larger employers offering telemedicine services as part of an employee benefits package has been continuously increasing over the past several years. Currently almost 60% of large employers are providing this benefit and the percentage is expected to continue to increase. Why not offer this relatively inexpensive benefit to your employees too?
To learn more about offering small business telemedicine services to your employees in Colorado, use our CONTACT FORM and Care on Location will reach to you to help make your employee's and your work environment happier and healthier.