As we approach the end of open enrollment on the healthcare exchange (closing 12/15), we need to start to see what other opportunities are there for providing coverage for small employers that are not able to provide high quality plans because of high rates.
One answer actually lies in our last blog topic, telemedicine. Telemedicine is providing convenient access for patients to see primary care physicians and treat non-emergent conditions, such as colds, flus, etc. This is a large majority of the reasons someone visits and emergency room.
There are a host of other people who rely on their primary care physicians to manage chronic illness and conditions. Examples of these include diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, and more. These conditions typically require lab work that a physician reviews with you to provide additional services. What if it was possible to get lab work done and then discuss with your physician over the phone?
The possibilities of telemedicine are truly endless, with many Telehealth companies aiming to venture into specialties in the near future. It is very likely that a large majority of care will be provided virtually in the future.
So how do employers fit into this? Well, traditional health insurance is becoming too expensive for many small employers to provide for their employees. However, many of these Telehealth programs provide the option for a business to pay a monthly or one time fee for their employees to use these services, which are much cheaper than a typically health insurance plan where premiums can run thousands per month for each individual.
After this coverage, the only concern would be catastrophic coverage for large emergent incidents. This type of coverage is much less expensive because these types of events are typically rare. The combination of catastrophic coverage and telemedicine coverage is typically much cheaper than standard insurance coverage and can actually lead to better health outcomes.