CalNonprofits Insurance Services

Save Time and Money with Virtual Doctor Visits

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
unsplash-logoNational Cancer Institute

Benefits of Virtual Visits

The holidays, while festive and full of magic, can be stressful. One way you and your employees can reduce stress, save time, and save money is with virtual doctor visits (Telemedicine).  

Most health plans now include Telemedicine options through phone or video-conference, however, this valuable service is often under utilized. Co-payments for virtual appointments are usually lower than a regular doctor visit and sometimes they are waived!  Younger employees who expect to have mobile or virtual services may be unaware Telemedicine is included in their health plan. So skip the waiting room and avoid either spreading your germs or getting new ones!

Telemedicine decreases the overall costs of healthcare, improves recovery times, and reduces traffic.  Virtual visits can also be a great way to squeeze in that last appointment before year end when deductibles and out of pocket maximums reset January 1, 2020 (see below for an explanation of deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums). Most importantly, hourly employees don’t have to lose pay in order to be seen by their doctor. This is a significant factor for employers as studies indicate that healthcare services are often not utilized if employees will lose pay in order to get care. When employees forgo healthcare services, employers tend to see increased absenteeism down the road for those employees that are not using their coverage.

Some Workers’ Compensation carriers offer Telemedicine which could greatly reduce your organization’s claims costs and save money on premiums. The Telemedicine doctor can triage the issue and decide if the employee needs a visit to an emergency room or urgent care facility. 

Scheduling Virtual Visits

Virtual visits by phone or video-conference are best for non-emergency services, such as allergies, flu, colds, or rashes. Mental health services are usually available for phone or video appointments as well. In most cases, the physician can prescribe any needed medications. They may ask the patient to come into the office at a later date for further assessment or follow up. Appointments typically last about 1/2 hour, and a computer, smart phone, or tablet with internet connection is required for video-conference appointments. Employees should call the number on the back of their medical ID card to find out the specific services for which they can schedule virtual care under their health plan or check their plan online if registered. In addition, there may be a requirement to register for virtual services through a separate process.

Educate Employees and Enjoy the Holidays

Educating employees about the value of Telemedicine not only benefits your staff – it benefits your organization. Virtual services are growing and have increased by 624% from 2014 to 2018, according to United Healthcare. Behavioral Health is one of the fastest growing virtual services, and this is significant given that $198.2 billion in earnings are lost due to behavioral health issues in the United States (United Healthcare). For these reasons, if offered under the group medical plan or worker’s compensation plan, we encourage you to remind your employees before year-end to access Telemedicine services, especially if they are close to meeting their deductible or out of pocket maximum. Your employees will thank you when they save time and money with virtual doctor visits and can simply enjoy the holidays!

To request a Telemedicine or Virtual Visit flyer for California group health plans, complete the form below. If you are a client and have further questions about Virtual Care Services under your group health plan or Workers’ Compensation policy please contact your CalNonprofits Insurance Services dedicated Account Manager at 888-427-5224. We also welcome your comments or questions.

CalNonprofits Insurance Services

Corporate License 0827761

References

How to Get the Most Out of Telemedicine

Learning About Virtual Care

Request for Virtual Care Resources

  • First Name
    Once we receive your request we will contact you to gather further details so that we can provide you with the correct Virtual Care resources.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Addendum

What is a health plan deductible?

The amount that you pay for covered services in a calendar year before the insurance plan will pay its share of cost for the service. For instance, if you have a $20 copay for doctor visits and a $2,000 deductible, you must pay 100% of the bill for your covered health care services until you have paid out of your pocket $2,000 total for covered services in a calendar year.

What is an out of pocket maximum?

This is the total amount you are responsible for paying out of pocket for covered services (combined deductible, copayments, or percentage of billed amount) in a calendar year. Once you meet your out-of-pocket maximum, you pay $0 for covered services – the insurance pays 100% – until December 31 (keep in mind that for PPO plans, in-network and out-of-network services have separate deductibles and out of pocket maximums). It is for this reason that reminding your employees gives them a chance to schedule appointments before year-end if they are close to meeting their deductible or out of pocket maximum, which will save them money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *