Most people see a doctor every year — and the frequency of visits increase with family size. While necessary, in-person appointments can be a hassle. Parents have to take off from work, pull their kids out of school and all those co-pays can add up fast.
Telehealth is one remedy — and it can benefit employees and employers alike.
Jim McCartin, a Tucson, Ariz.-based group sales partner at Berwick Insurance Group, offers one such solution, HealthiestYou, with every health plan. The health and wellness startup, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., helps employees avoid co-pays by speaking with doctors via phone, video or email, he says.
For employers, HealthiestYou promotes productivity, says Darren Griffith, president and CEO of Phoenix-based Performance Insurance Benefits. For example, an employee at a repair company could conduct a doctor visit in the van between service calls. The solution also helps keep claims down, which is a benefit for employers, especially when the cost of a plan directly correlates to the number of claims, Griffith says.
Being able to quickly and easily connect with a doctor is a huge help for parents, says McCartin, a father of two. “A lot of families really take advantage of it,” he says.
That includes McCartin and Griffith. “I’ve made a call when I was still in bed,” says McCartin.
With four kids, Griffith personally utilizes the telehealth product frequently. “There’s so many ways this [program] has helped our family,” he says.
Like when his daughter suffered a double ear infection. Griffith was able to conduct a doctor visit call on his way to pick his daughter up from school, and her prescription of antibiotics was filled immediately. “She was back to school the next day because of this,” he says.
An ideal platform for small businesses
The platform is ideal for employees with higher co-pays and for small businesses, many of which have switched to high deductible health plans and health savings accounts to combat rising costs, McCartin says. “It really works well with an HSA,” he says.
There isn’t a fee for contacting doctors — McCartin has seen fees as high as $35 per call with similar solutions. “Employees can use it without having to pay a charge for every call to a doctor,” he says.
Another distinction that sets HealthiestYou apart from other telehealth companies is its promotion of use. “They want utilization,” Griffith says. “There’s no consequence for using it more.”
HealthiestYou has a network of more than 2,300 physicians, who return calls promptly, says McCartin, who’s never had to wait more than a few minutes for a call back.
McCartin works with groups of two up to more than 1,000 employees — and recommends HealthiestYou to nearly every client. “It works on any size group,” he says. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback. It’s a mainstay in our benefit offerings.”
Often, clients end up asking more about the telehealth solution than their major medical or dental plans, McCartin says. That’s because the product is easy to implement, accessible and usable, he says. “It’s convenient and inexpensive and it works.”
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