Although physical health is no longer the sole focus of employee wellbeing, it’s an increasing issue for both employers and employees. Insurance premiums continue to rise every year, and employees are taking on more of the cost burden. Because of these high costs, at least one-third of Americans are delaying medical treatment, even if their condition is serious. In one study, patients who delayed treatment had 9% longer hospital stays, resulting in even higher costs for medical care.
Half of U.S. adults have at least one chronic disease, an ongoing illness like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or arthritis. The treatment for these diseases, which are typically preventable, make up 86% of all healthcare spending and include physician visits, hospital stays, and prescriptions drugs.
Although absenteeism is increased from sick employees, presenteeism carries more than double the costs. Employees who come to work sick are costing their companies billions of dollars a year due to lost productivity and getting others sick. One source estimates a loss of $150 billion per year due to presenteeism alone.
By improving employees’ physical health, organizations can expect a return on both healthcare costs and productivity. The best solution gives employees convenient and less expensive access to medical care while cutting overall healthcare costs for employers.
Telemedicine provides a cost-effective, on-demand medical solution for employees and their dependents. If an employee gets sick, they don’t have to worry about asking for time off work to schedule an appointment, drive to their primary care physician, and sit in a waiting room. They also avoid expensive visits to an urgent care center or emergency room. Instead, employees call a doctor whenever they need to – whether during their lunch hour, in the evening, or on the weekend – at a small cost or no cost.
To reduce insurance claims, employers can offer telemedicine as a non-insured benefit and encourage its use to employees. The average cost of a telemedicine visit is $0, with costs for access averaging $2 to $6 per employee per month. Comparable services at an urgent care center can cost around $160, or $650 at an emergency room. By diverting non-emergency medical issues away from these expensive treatments, U.S. companies have the potential to save more than $6 billion a year in healthcare expenses.
Along with telemedicine, organizations can offer even more access to healthcare services with platforms like eDocAmerica. eDocAmerica is an online resource where employees can access the expert knowledge of physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, dentists, dietitians, and fitness experts. Instead of an expensive doctor visit or an inaccurate Google result, employees get answers to their non-emergency health questions by messaging one of these medical professionals.
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