2017 is here! A new year and a clean slate. For many, this is a time buzzing with the excitement of new goals and resolutions. However, for many others, after the ball has dropped and the confetti fallen, it can become a time of worry.
Just as sure as the New Year is greeted with the sound of popping corks, health plan deductibles reset. For all of your employees who elected HDHP’s late last year, the time has come for them to dig deep in their pockets if health care needs arise.
NEW CHALLENGES ON THE WAY
In addition, 2017 isn’t shaping up to be a normal “business as usual” year in the world of healthcare. Far from it. With a new administration taking office, the healthcare industry is holding it’s collective breath to see if the last three years under the ACA was just a practice run for... no-one seems to know exactly what.
What does seem certain is that changes in healthcare are coming, creating more uncertainty and instability than we have seen in some time. Other safe bets in 2017: healthcare costs rising, the speed of access to quality care remaining painfully slow, and already taxed HR departments facing added stress with all the potential transition hiccups.
What if there was a way you could make your employees' lives easier by eliminating these long waits and out-of-pocket expenses? How rewarding would it be to provide them with fast access to quality medical care without having to pay those high deductibles? Whereby simply picking up the phone they could get a consult and diagnosis, including prescriptions, at no cost, in minutes? Did I mention 24/7/365 access and a prescription as well? This option to make your employees lives easier and reduce their out-of-pocket healthcare costs is here—telemedicine.
However, before we let go of 2016, there is a stat we must examine—and it’s important.
Sadly, the employee utilization rate of telemedicine benefits (from separate providers) industry-wide is about 7%. The utilization rate for telemedicine benefits that are bundled in major medical plans is about 1%. The disappointing reality is that telemedicine can’t provide the cost and time savings if it is not being used.
HERE IS WHERE FIRST STOP HEALTH WILL LEAD IN 2017
First, by removing barriers. Our policy at First Stop Health is to make onboarding and accessing benefits as simple as possible. Employees will never have to open their wallet to engage a doctor through our service. Never. Ever.
Second, we take sole responsibility for educating on the hows, whys, and whens of benefit utilization. We shoulder the burden of writing and distributing all educational material while partnering with the HR team to determine the best way to customize the learning experience.
At First Stop Health we view employee education as a year-round job—essentially becoming your client’s de facto marketing department when you sign up. We are proud to say our dedicated approach to employee engagement delivers a 44% utilization rate—slightly more than six times the industry average.
Want to know how strongly we believe in the effectiveness of our year-round commitment to employee engagement? We contractually GUARANTEE that the benefit savings will exceed the cost of our service—or we will refund the difference.
Telemedicine benefits were implemented in over 60% of large employers’ health plans in 2016, with the vast majority embedded in their major medical policies. Unfortunately, this type of telemedicine doesn’t drive any time or cost savings for your employees or your company because very few people will utilize it.
Healthcare is becoming more consumer-centric every year and 2017 will see an acceleration in that shift. Your employees deserve a healthcare benefit that they can understand, feel comfortable using, and, most importantly, won’t cost them anything out of pocket.