Shopping for Telehealth Benefits: A Buying Guide for Employers

Covid-19 has shaken up our lives in nearly every respect over the past few years. So much shifted online that was previously unimaginable—family get-togethers, interviews, whole work offices, even doctor’s appointments! The rise of telehealth and the discovery of its potential benefits is one of the more surprising developments of the Covid era, but as we move to the other side of the pandemic, it seems it’s here to stay.

In fact, it’s become an integral part of our healthcare system, as the share of employers offering telehealth to their employees has skyrocketed over the past three years. The number of smaller businesses offering telehealth benefits rose from 65% to 94%, while large firms offering benefits increased from 74% to 96%. It’s even made its way to Congress: in March, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act, expanding Affordable Care Act coverage to permit standalone telehealth services.

Why Invest in Telehealth Benefits?

Healthcare is one of the top priorities for employees when evaluating current or potential job opportunities. As an employer, your business stands to benefit in a crowded, worker-friendly labor market by offering the widest array of healthcare benefits possible—including telehealth.

But it’s not just about recruiting and retaining talent… It’s in every employer’s best interest to keep their workforce healthy and find the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to achieve that goal. Telehealth is the answer.

In a busy workday, employees often find it difficult to take time for in-person medical care. What with driving to the doctor’s, then the wait, then any additional complications, many end up having to take a half or full day off! As such, employees often feel that they need to choose between their health or their work… and work usually wins.

Telehealth benefits give employees faster and easier access to healthcare services. Since employees have direct access to medical care from anywhere at any time, employers benefit by not losing staff for a day just to see a doctor (or take their child to one). It’s also a major perk for remote employees in rural or less developed areas where the closest medical office might be hours away.

When seeking and receiving medical care is fast and easy, your staff is less likely to skip key preventative healthcare appointments. As an employer, that means a healthier, stable workforce with less sick leave and higher productivity levels. You’ll also find that fewer health insurance claims lowers your insurance premiums. Everyone wins!

Shopping for Telehealth Benefits

There’s a few considerations to balance when choosing a telehealth benefits plan for your company. First off, you want to make sure that it truly benefits employees and meets their needs. You also need a plan that matches your budget!

Follow these three simple steps to determine which provider and plan is best for you.

1. Assess Your Needs

Before looking at various plans, you need to understand what telehealth services can do for your business. Is there a significant portion of your workforce that will benefit? Will they utilize it? You’ll also want to take a good, hard look at your current benefits package: are there gaps where telehealth could supplement or even replace traditional insurance coverage? For instance, perhaps family and marriage counseling isn’t covered by your current medical plan. A telehealth package that includes teletherapy would provide these kinds of services. You’ll also want to decide whether telehealth makes more sense as a complimentary benefit or a standalone option.

2. Define Your Budget

Once you know what you need, it’s time to determine what you can afford. However, do not mistakenly assume that telehealth is just an added business expense. The right plan will actually save you money if structured and implemented properly!

Start by assessing how much your employees spend on healthcare, and how you can adjust your overall health benefits to match. For example, employees may be underutilizing expensive plans—and you may be overpaying. Find out if the benefit you choose will result in changes to insurance premiums, and examine how it might affect other benefits long-term. For example, the savings of a successful telehealth program may not show up until year-end, when it’s time to renew insurance packages.

Also consider how you want to structure the payment for telehealth benefits—monthly fees, pay-as-you-go, or some other kind of payment plan. Finally, decide who will be paying for the service: will it be the employer, the employee, or some combination of both?

3. Research Your Options

Once you determine your needs and allocate a budget, it’s time to start looking at the various options on the market. Keep in mind that all telehealth services are not the same!

It’s important to assess a variety of telehealth providers to make an informed choice. Consider: your current insurance plan might offer an add-on telehealth benefit, but might merely increase what you already pay, without offering the best services of a fully dedicated telehealth staff. In that case, independent telehealth providers may prove the better option.

Questions to Consider When Shopping for Telehealth Benefits: A Checklist

  • What exactly does the benefit cover?
  • What does it cost employees, if anything? What do co-payments look like?
  • Is it suitable for employees in their preferred languages?
  • How easy is the service to access?
  • Is the priority medical care, mental health care, or a combination of both?
  • Are employees likely to use this service as their primary avenue for seeking care?
  • If telehealth is new to the company, how will you help educate and engage employees with their new benefits?
  • Are services available 24/7, 365 days a year? If not, are the restrictions inhibiting for certain employees?

Healthcare on Demand With Doctegrity

Telehealth is on the upswing and can provide your team with much-needed healthcare services, filling a void where they might not have had access before. However, not all telehealth options are created equal. It’s important to do your due diligence when searching for the right service for your team!

Doctegrity is here to be the telehealth ally your team needs. We offer comprehensive telehealth services, treating over 75% of the most common conditions on demand. All with no copays or surprise bills—the way it should be!

Unlike other service providers—where medical staff are paid per consultation—Doctegrity’s bilingual board-certified doctors and mental health therapists won’t rush through appointments to squeeze in as many as possible. Our medical professionals are paid regardless of how many patients they meet—ensuring that every person gets the care and attention they deserve.

Traditional healthcare is only getting more and more expensive and further out of reach for many employees on their own. Do your team a favor and get them the treatment they deserve at a price they can actually afford. Reach out to Doctegrity to find out how you can transform your healthcare benefits today.