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Unlock the Benefits of Virtual Care: How Employers Can Reduce Healthcare Costs

August 25th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Everside Health

patient smiling in a computer screen while on a virtual call with doctor

As organizations strive to reduce soaring healthcare costs and increase employee engagement with benefits, virtual care has emerged as a solution that offers both things. 

Virtual primary care can enhance the Advanced Primary Care healthcare model. It provides a practical and accessible approach to healthcare benefits, allowing employees to receive immediate medical attention without having to travel long distances or endure long wait times in a doctor’s office. This innovative technology helps lower organizations’ healthcare expenses while improving employees’ access to quality care and service. 

Here, we’re exploring why virtual care has grown in popularity, how to use it as a benefit offering, 6 ways it can reduce employer healthcare costs, and how combining it with Advanced Primary Care (APC) can offer the most advantages.

Why virtual care has grown in popularity

Virtual care is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and cost savings potential. Nearly 40% of adults in the United States used it in 2021, according to research done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

With virtual primary care visits, patients don’t have to leave home or work to receive quality care, saving them time, money, and energy. Lastly, virtual primary care doctor visits mean reduced wait times in offices so patients can get the help they need right away.

The recent Telehealth Impact Study (links to PDF) found that nearly 80% of patients feel virtual health is cost-beneficial. And patients aren’t the only ones saving – 61% of providers who responded to the same survey said virtual care decreased their cost of care for patients. 

6 ways virtual care can help reduce employer healthcare costs

As organizations seek ways to decrease healthcare costs, virtual care is rapidly becoming a prevalent solution. Implementing Advanced Primary Care with the addition of virtual care options can help you reduce healthcare costs — for your organization and your employees, who’ll have little to no copays  – all while providing  easy access to high-quality medical services. 

Virtual care can reduce the cost of healthcare in the following ways: 

  1. Reduced admin costs: Virtual care can reduce administrative burdens on physicians, allowing them to spend more time with patients without worrying about paperwork.

  2. Increased efficiency: Virtual care increases efficiency, since there’s no travel involved to get to and from appointments, meaning less time away from work to seek care. 

  3. Improved outcomes and fewer hospitalizations: Timely access to medical attention through virtual visits may improve patient outcomes and reduce hospitalizations, resulting in lower healthcare costs. The Telehealth Impact Study – a survey of more than 1,000 private organizations – looked at the effects and impact of virtual care. More than 75% of providers said this form of care allowed them to offer higher quality care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 60% said their patients were overall healthier.

  4. Easier for patients and providers to stay connected: Virtual visits make it easier for providers and patients to stay connected between routine check-ups. A virtual primary care doctor has the chance to make early diagnoses and offer beneficial treatment when necessary, before symptoms worsen or complications arise from chronic illnesses, like diabetes or heart disease.

  5. Convenience and flexibility: Virtual care offers employees greater flexibility when accessing care, since they can connect with providers at any time. This eliminates the need to take breaks from their daily routine or having to organize transportation to get treatment.

  6. Discounts: Finally, insurance companies may offer discounts on premium rates if employers choose plans that include virtual care coverage – ultimately reducing employer healthcare costs.

Combining virtual care with Advanced Primary Care - How it benefits employers and employees

Advanced Primary Care (APC) is an alternative healthcare benefits solution that allows organizations to pay a monthly flat, per member rate for comprehensive primary care services. 

Combining virtual care with APC offers multiple benefits –  the first and most important is that it can save organizations money on healthcare costs. By using APC with virtual care, it’s possible to avoid paying the high premiums associated with more traditional health benefits – and employees can save too. The flat fee covers all primary medical needs, including office visits, lab tests, medications, and more, helping to keep overall healthcare costs down.

Another benefit of combining virtual care with APC is that it provides employees with more personalized medical attention from their virtual primary care provider. Research shows that providers feel virtual care has improved their practice experience. They’re able to be more in tune with their patients and feel they can gain insight into needs, enabling them to better-deliver tailored care solutions. 

Additionally, since little to no co-pays are associated with the APC model , employees have reduced financial barriers that may otherwise prevent them from seeking the care they need to stay healthy. They get the best possible outcome from every appointment, missing less work and achieving higher productivity across the board, both of which are also wins for employers.

Why offer virtual care to employees as an additional benefit

Offering virtual care as an additional benefit gives your employees access to high-quality medical services at their fingertips when they need it most – whether after hours or during workday breaks. 

Offering this innovative care option through Advanced Primary Care shows that you value employee health, ensuring they can access quality medical care whenever they need it without worrying about taking too much time away from their job duties.

In short, healthcare costs are out of control, and virtual care can help. There’s no sign of things slowing down – according to US News & World Report survey data released late last year, 37% percent of Americans used some form of virtual care service within the last 12 months. The CDC had similar findings, also noting that 37% of adults in the country accessed virtual care in 2021. Deciding to offer employees this effective form of care can benefit everyone involved; providers, members, and organizations all see cost-savings, better outcomes, and more convenience, which is a win-win-win. 

Virtual care - enhance healthcare benefits for employees and cut costs for employers

Healthcare costs will continue to rise. You probably can’t change that, but you can change your approach to offering care to your workforce. Virtual care, paired with Advanced Primary Care, can be a part of that solution. The advantages are clear. Virtual care offers a cost-efficient way to provide quality healthcare services to employees while furnishing them with the convenience of digital health solutions. 

By utilizing virtual care, you can offer improved healthcare services at a reduced cost, allowing you to better manage your health plan budgets. 

 

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Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db445.htm#fig1

https://c19hcc.org/static/catalog-resources/telehealth-physician-survey-analysis-c19hcc.pdf  (links to PDF)

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-10-13/women-older-adults-more-likely-to-use-telemedicine-in-2021