Why Your TeleHealth “benefit” isn’t Working.
Search for problems with Telehealth, the results are eye opening.
The results are a mix of:
- Headlines like: a.) The Trouble With Telemedicine & b.) Telemedicine sucks as much as in-person care.
- Advertisements, but not the type you might expect: Paid ads (appearing untargeted) asking internet readers to check & find out if they have telehealth benefits. With most health and wellness plans being inclusive of telehealth services, the advertisements messaging is telling.
- Is your telehealth a benefit, part of insurance, or something else? Employees, Participants, & Employers, it seems no knows about or is utilizing their telehealth benefits.
Let’s be clear about what a benefit is, from a telehealth participant point of view.
A benefit has to make engaging with healthcare providers much more convenient. Better access to healthcare is what we all want for our families. But! This is new & we are not ready to commit until you prove it’s better for me & my family.
“Like most, we wait until we are sick because it’s so inconvenient to get to the Dr. & too expensive. So we wait until it’s too late” – “If only preventive care was cost effective.”
TeleHealth is not a benefit if the participant doesn’t see it as a benefit.
The participants view is important as utilization is what matters. In fact, participants have become quite cynical when it comes to HealthCare about what is a benefit to them or a benefit to their employer, the Insurance Industry, maybe even the Government. To say they are sceptical would be an understatement.
TeleMedicine’s message is lost in the noise of a volatile market.
Let’s face it, health insurance has been a hot button topic for quite some time & is no less a hot button issue today. If your messaging & value proposition are not engaging & clearly beneficial to the consumer, why would they bother with another “healthcare headache”? The answer is they wont & we know they won’t based on study statistics like: “82 percent of patients surveyed said they don’t use a telemedicine service.”, noted in a recent study.
Your Telehealth plan is not offering enough value or cost savings to engage participants:
- 75% of major employers offered some type of telehealth benefit in 2018, Kaiser Employee Health Benefit Survey. We expect that is has increased since the survey.
- The average employee sign-up rate for large employers who offered telehealth services either through their health plan or a specialty vendor was only 8%, per a Mercer study.
- J.D Powers, indicating that less than 10% of those in the US have ever even used TeleHealth (in or outside of an employer sponsored plan).
- 66% say they are not aware of telehealth services or it is not available to them, noted by Health Leaders (article)
There is a clear disconnect between participants and current telemedicine plans.
A benefit that does not require an opt in, no payroll deductions & makes your Dr. available from home 24/7 – but, doesn’t come close in participation we see in related health and wellness benefits. (e.g. Flex & HSA Benefits).
When participants are sick or taking care of a sick family member, they are already feeling vulnerable & stressed out. Most don’t plan ahead for when sick, so don’t want to deal with figuring out how it works & if it costs more than a visit to the office, an after hours clinic, a pharmacy clinic, or even the ER. They want access to trusted help when needed, feeling sick, or even desperate.
Feedback on general telehealth awareness, highlights common employee (mis) perceptions: “What’s the point, my telehealth call costs the same as going to after hours care. I’ll probably have to go my regular Dr. anyway, not paying 2 copays.”.
Admittedly, this an over simplistic statement.
The root of the problem with your current telehealth benefit:
- NO ONE thinks it’s a benefit to them, particularly your employee participants.
- Employers don’t engage in promotion (again, 8% sign up Avg.) of telehealth, benefits that will promote satisfaction & participation are usually (enthusiastically) promoted by employers.
- The vast majority of eligible participants & plan sponsors, don’t seem to be aware or promote telehealth proactively.
It’s time to fix the problems with your current telehealth benefit!
Find out how to change your losing telehealth strategy, excite your employees, & remove the barriers to the benefits & care they deserve. Upgrade and get rid of those copays & allows your participants to enjoy the true benefits of telehealth.
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