WASHINGTON – A growing number of large U.S. employers will offer its employees access to telemedicine next year, according to a survey by the National Business Group on Health.
According to the survey, 96% of employers participating will make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed next year.
“Employers are recognizing that traditional cost control techniques alone aren’t able to reduce costs to the point where they are no longer a drain on the bottom line,” said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, in a statement. “While employers continue to address costs through health care management and plan design efforts, they are also ramping up efforts to positively affect the supply side of the health care system by pursuing health care payment and delivery reform initiatives.”
In the Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, employers project the total cost of providing medical and pharmacy benefits to rise 5% for the fifth consecutive year in 2018. Including premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents, the total cost of health care is estimated to be $13,482 per employee this year, and projected to rise to $14,156 in 2018.
The survey also found that almost 20% of employers are experiencing employee telehealth utilization rates of 8% or higher.
“One of the most interesting findings from the survey is that employers are focused on enhancing the employee experience,” said Marcotte. “The complexity of the system and proliferation of new entrants has made it difficult for employees to fully understand their benefit programs, treatment options and where to go for care.”