Virtual Dr. Visits...the future is here

February 10, 2020

For many years, brokers have been approached by national Telehealth providers to sell this added benefit to Employer Groups for the benefit of their employees. Typically, the cost was a monthly per-person fee (maybe $8-10), and the employee could have access to a Board Certified Dr. 24/7 for non-ER conditions such as allergies, rashes, pink eye, coughs and cold and flu. The employee may have to pay a co-payment (or not - some plans were ZERO co-payment), and the claim did not go through the Employer's insurance provider. Employees did not have to take time off of work to see their Dr. or drive across town to a clinic to wait with other sick people. It was a win-win!

Today, many carriers are including this benefit in the health plan. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of IL has added this Virtual Visit to most of the PPO plans in the small group and individual market. They have realized what the virtual visit companies saw many years ago: the cost of care for a virtual visit is a fraction of that at a Dr.'s office. Think about: the Dr. has to pay their staff and pay for rent and utilities. A Dr. with a busy schedule or maybe one that is slowing down and does not want to work as many hours, has the option to do hours remotely from home. While some Dr.'s have jumped on board, some see this a a threat to their industry.

A recent article published by Managed Care Magazine had this to say, "Humana is making available a new insurance plan for small businesses centered on virtual healthcare. Retail behemoths Amazon and Walmart are offering online primary care options to some of their employees. Sam's Club and GoodRx are selling telehealth services directly to Americans who don't have health insurance or high deductible coverage." Read more here: Virtual.Primary.Care

Executives at Humana feel that people are time-strapped. In a day and age when we do everything online, why not offer the convenience of talking to a primary Dr. for non-Emergencies? Unitedhealthcare realized this as well and added Healthiest You to their portfolio years ago. For more information on these telehealth services and how you can get for your company and employees, contact our office: 630-279-1739.