Large employers predict their healthcare costs will rise a median of 6% if they do not undertake any cost-saving initiatives, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).
As a result, these large employers say they are turning to virtual care services, such as telemedicine, to help reduce costs.
Survey findings indicate that large employers estimate their total healthcare costs will increase from $14,642 in 2019 to $15,375 next year. The 2020 Large Employers' Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey included results from large, self-insured corporations. Employers will cover about 70% of those total healthcare costs.
According to PwC, medical cost increases have trended flat for the past few years, with an annual increase of about 5.5%. PwC’s projections align with those of the NGBH, which indicates an increase of 6%.
Nearly half (41%) of the large employers included in the NGBH survey indicated that they planned to implement cost-management tactics. And more than half of the employers planned to expand telemedicine or virtual care offerings.
Here’s how telemedicine and virtual care can help contain healthcare costs.
Reduce Visits to ER or Urgent Care
When employees have access to high-quality telemedicine, they use it instead of going to the doctor’s office, urgent care or ER. In fact, most ER visits are avoidable, resulting in $32 billion in unnecessary healthcare spending.
While the cost of telemedicine varies, it saves both employees and employers money through reduced copayments and medical claims.
Today’s unemployment rate is especially low, forcing employers to offer top benefits to attract and retain employees. The vast majority of employees say that benefits are vital to their job satisfaction, and many cited poor benefits as a reason they were looking for a new job.
Offering high-quality telemedicine — and not just a “check the box” telemedicine solution like most carrier-embedded programs — is one way to stand out in a crowded job market.
Find Lower-Cost Options
Navigating the healthcare system can be tough. Many employees struggle to find specialists, lower-cost doctors or convenient treatment options to meet their needs.
But virtual services such as health concierges or care navigation can help. These services allow employees to call to find the option that not only treats their condition, but is also most affordable. Plus, these services can often help employees dispute claims or manage surprise costs, keeping healthcare providers in check.
Keep Employees Happy and Healthy
Healthy employees are productive employees — it’s that simple. Telemedicine and virtual care makes healthcare simpler, more accessible and less frustrating. Employees save time by avoiding the doctor’s office, or outsourcing their healthcare research, and as a result can focus on their work and home life.