Why You Should Implement Telemedicine Outside of Plan Renewal

January 15, 2016

First Stop Health

telemedicine-implementationThe phrase “Out of sight, out of mind" can be a helpful mantra when feeling distracted and needing to focus on the task at-hand. But sometimes, it can also hinder creativity. Things we see around us can spark ideas that lead to good solutions –– but if those things are ”out of sight,” we won't see them.

We usually don’t think about implementing benefits off-cycle. As soon as we roll out a new year of benefits, we put them “out of mind.” But sometimes adding ancillary benefits outside of the plan renewal period makes sense.

Adding a telemedicine benefit off-cycle makes sense. Your employees and company will reap the benefits of 24/7 access to doctors as soon as the benefit is implemented. What’s more, there are actually big benefits to implementing telemedicine outside of plan renewal. Three big reasons, to be specific: 

3 Reasons to Implement Telemedicine Off-Cycle

1. Plan renewal is a "noisy" time.

If you wanted to get a friend’s attention, you wouldn’t wait until they were in a conversation with three other people. You get their full attention, and can engage them fully, when they are not distracted. This same concept applies when you roll out telemedicine.

Changing behavior to encourage people to use telemedicine instead of going to an urgent care or ER when they are sick is hard. You are asking your employees to change their routine, and to take what seems like a risk: trusting in a new type of healthcare process, and communicating the benefits of changing their behavior. When there is a lot of other healthcare information being conveyed, communicating this message is harder.

When you launch this benefit off-cycle you can engage employees in the story more readily. Telemedicine is on the “stage” solo, helping them focus on a few things they can do differently to transition their family to this new approach to healthcare without the noise of the average plan renewal period.

2. You can start saving money as soon as you implement. 

This is different from some benefits that can only start during open enrollment. While your employees may change health, dental, or vision insurance only at the benefit renewal time, telemedicine can be added at any time. You won’t need to undergo a long investigation, contracting or onboarding process before you and your employees can start using telemedicine.

By delaying your start with telemedicine, you are incurring unnecessary healthcare costs for both your employer and the employees. You’re spending money on avoidable healthcare claims costs each month––and you don’t have to wait until 2017 to eliminate those costs. If you’re going to start saving money, wouldn’t you like to do so as soon as possible?

3. Telemedicine is easy to begin any time.

While some pieces of your benefits package involve lots of paperwork, training, or require lengthy onboarding to activate your employees, telemedicine is anything but complicated. It’s a simple process, and your employees will be able to master it in a matter of minutes.

With First Stop Health, the friction is removed from the onboarding process, the roll-out and engagement of employees. And with no consultation fee, there is no barrier preventing the employee from trying a new service.

This also means you won’t be going through a rigorous process at any time of year, and you can rest easy knowing your telemedicine benefit will be utilized, driving the engagement and savings it should for you and your employees.

Adding a telemedicine benefit outside of plan renewal drives the highest value for both the employer and employees. The frenzy of open enrollment is a busy time to educate your employees about when, how, and why to use telemedicine in order to realize the full potential of the benefit. Each month you delay adding a telemedicine benefit is another month without giving your employees convenient access to doctors 24/7 for diagnosis and treatment of health issues and another month of unnecessary healthcare claims for your company.

With First Stop Health, onboarding and engagement is taken care of, so your company reaps the benefits of driving high utilization immediately.

Originally published Jan 15, 2016 5:06:43 PM.