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TELEMEDICINE AND MORE

TELEMEDICINE AND MORE

TELEMEDICINE AND MORE
October 26
10:20 2017

Get in front of the competition by providing services beyond just basic health and voluntary benefits

When people work hard to earn a paycheck, they carefully consider where and how much of it to spend.

Why should the philosophy be any different when it comes to buying insurance?

It really isn’t. Working with the right benefits partner can offer more things to talk about and more ways to help your clients add extra value to their benefits package. Popular products and services like telemedicine are just one of the many ways you can help keep your clients’ employees happy and healthy at work—without adding any additional costs.

Pairing with the right employee benefits provider can put you in front of the competition by providing services beyond just basic health and voluntary benefits.

What’s the value of telemedicine?

It’s on-demand access to healthcare, and more employers are adding it to their benefits package to help improve employee productivity and reduce absenteeism. Towers Watson’s 2015 Emerging Trends in Health Care survey shows about 80% of employers will offer a telehealth benefit to their employees by 2018.

Telemedicine can help clients cut down the cost of healthcare. In fact, Towers Watson’s 2014 study, Current Telemedicine Technology Could Mean Big Savings?, shows telemedicine could possibly save U.S. companies more than $6 billion in a year in healthcare costs.

Many people don’t think they can afford to be sick—a quarter of Americans in a June 2017 BankRate Money Pulse survey said they skipped medical attention because of the out-of-pocket costs. Without early medical care, something minor can get worse, which could cost your clients’ employees more money or more unexpected time off work.

Your clients’ top priority is to retain top employees while controlling costs, and happy and healthy employees may be more likely to stay.

When your clients’ employees have 24/7 virtual access to board-certified physicians, it can reduce unnecessary time away from work. Seventy-six percent of patients believe the access to care is more important than the need for human interactions with their healthcare providers, according to NTT Data’s 2014 Trends in Telehealth. When employees avoid doctor visits, but are still able to get an early diagnosis and treatment for an illness, it lowers employees’ out-of-pocket cost.

What are some other value-added services?

Your clients’ top priority is to retain top employees while controlling costs, and happy and healthy employees may be more likely to stay. In addition to telemedicine, consider other value-added services you may be able to offer customers through the right benefits partner.

Many are available at low or no cost in most states, subject to qualifying criteria:

  • Financial education. One in four U.S. adults say they don’t save any portion of their household income for retirement, according to the Harris Poll 2016 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey. Consider partnering with a company that’s focused beyond health insurance and offers a financial education program and budgeting tools and promotes free external websites with information on benefits and health, retirement planning and the need for voluntary benefits.
  • Flexible benefits plans. In addition to making benefits more affordable, these plans can help your clients reduce payroll taxes. Encourage your clients to talk with their employees about taking advantage of this option to pay for some healthcare expenses and insurance premiums with pretax income.
  • Legal document assistance. Many people haven’t given any thought to how they’ll provide for loved ones after they’re no longer here. Rocket Lawyer’s 2016 Make-a-Will-Month survey found more than 64% of Americans don’t have a will. The reason—they haven’t taken time to do so. Think about the value of offering products that provide complimentary legal document preparation, including wills, power of attorney, healthcare directive and lease documents.
  • Benefits communication support. Communication is key—and maintaining year-round benefits conversations with employees is effective. Clear communication drives higher participation in the benefits program and ensures your clients’ employees know what benefits are available and how to take advantage of them. Some benefits providers offer complimentary support and communication tools as part of their services.
  • Identity monitoring and restoration. An estimated 15.4 million consumers were affected by some kind of identity theft in 2016, according to a February 1, 2017 Credit.com blog post. Some benefits providers partner with ID theft protection companies to offer free identity theft protection monitoring for at least one year.
  • Discounts on drugs and medical services. Fifty-six percent of people say they’re either somewhat or very worried they will not be able to afford healthcare coverage in the future, according to Bankrate’s June 2017 Money Pulse Survey. A high-deductible health plan may potentially leave employees with considerable financial exposure to out-of-pocket costs, and value-added services are a great way to complement any healthcare package.

Telemedicine is just one of the many low- or no-cost services and benefits allowing you to provide greater value to clients—especially when your clients are struggling with employee retention and benefits costs. In addition to insurance products and voluntary benefits, you can also provide financial protection to help your clients get the most out of their benefits program.

The author

Margarita Hudgins, CPCU, MS, AINS, AIS, AIAF, ARM, is assistant vice president, Growth Markets, for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. You can reach her at MHudgins@ColonialLife.com.

 

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