Embrace Telemedicine, But Always Have A Safety Net

Embrace Telemedicine, But Always Have A Safety Net

It’s difficult to use the words “Covid” and “Positive” in the same sentence, but the increasing utilization of Telemedicine is one positive effect of the pandemic. Telemedicine has been around awhile, but people have shown a reluctance to receive medical care outside of their primary physician’s office. That reluctance has faded in recent months due to several factors.

1. The pandemic is not the only reason that Telemedicine usage has increased, but it is certainly a contributing factor. Travel was basically shut down, even (or maybe especially) to doctors’ offices, where doctors were being overwhelmed and patients were trying to avoid any crowded situation. Telemedicine was the perfect answer. It allowed patients to receive the non-acute care needed, while allowing doctors to treat the more serious medical issues that were so overwhelming.

2. With inflation on the rise, and especially the increasing cost of travel (gas), Telemedicine has become an answer to reducing travel expenses. Sometimes a trip to the doctor is short and quick, but not always. Often it requires a trip of several miles and a long wait to see the doctor. Not so with Telemedicine. It can be an immediate savings of time and money.

3. Other contributing factors to the increased usage of Telemedicine.: The opportunity to stay at work for most non-urgent issues for an employee or an employee’s child is huge. There are also times that a call to Telemedicine can eliminate the need for an emergency room visit. More and more conditions are being treated by Telemedicine, such as behavioral health services and dermatology.

At KBA, we have seen the benefits of Telemedicine. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of a person’s medical care can be treated by Telemedicine. It is cost effective, and it is convenient. But it is not a comprehensive major medical plan and you do need a safety net. Prescriptions can be written conveniently via Telemedicine, but the cost of the prescription is not covered. Hospital visits as well as doctors’ facility visits are not covered. Telemedicine is a useful tool, for sure, but coverage for major conditions is still needed.

This safety net can be provided in a number of ways. A person may have group insurance at work or may have purchased insurance through the Marketplace. “Cost-Sharing Plans” are available that are sometimes appropriate and can be considered. Having Telemedicine, however, gives an advantage to anyone looking to purchase health insurance. It can allow a person to consider a higher deductible plan or other cost saving alternatives. But it is not designed to stand alone.

KBA is here to assist you in designing your benefits package.

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