Author: Erik Walter, Business Insurance
Are you familiar with the term Iatrophobia? It is defined as an abnormal or irrational fear of doctors or going to the doctor. For some this is a real condition that stirs strong emotions of fear and anxiety. Although few of us fear doctors to this extreme level most of us experience some degree of fear, trepidation or anxiety about going to the doctor. Our aversion to “going to the doctor” is caused by many factors including uncertainty of diagnosis, bad personal experiences, scheduling problems and cost concerns. Fortunately, the administration of medical care is changing, and many employees now have access to telemedicine through their healthcare plans or directly with their personal physicians.
Telemedicine may alleviate the pain of going to the doctor by bringing the doctor to you. Telemedicine is the modern-day version of the doctor house call. It uses various telecommunication technologies to assist healthcare professionals in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of patients. Patients can connect with a doctor by phone or video service for many primary healthcare services and even some specialty services. As always, seek immediate care in the case of an emergency.
According to the 2018 Employer Health Benefit Survey produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 67 percent of employers report that telemedicine is offered under their healthcare plans. This number continues to grow due to the convenience of the service and its potential to cost-effectively deliver care. The Kaiser Foundation reports that a telehealth visit costs about $79, compared with $146 for an office visit. To determine if your plan provides access to telehealth services consult your benefit booklet or call the customer service number on your ID card. Better yet, give us a call at BCF Group (717) 560-7730 and we can assist to evaluate your plan.
Plan savings for this type of service are often passed along to the employee in the form of lower copays. For employees in Qualified High Deductible Health Plans savings are realized as direct result of the lower cost telemedicine treatment. Besides the potential savings to the employer health plan and to the employee, telemedicine has the added benefit of convenience. Some providers may be available on a 24/7 basis. Your virtual visit may replace the need to visit a doctor in person, saving you time in addition to money.
A telehealth visit is even better when you can connect to your personal primary care physician. BCF Group is a forerunner in designing plans for self-insured employers incorporating the use of Direct Primary Care Physicians. Our Direct Primary Care doctors make themselves available by phone to consult with you on care and treatment. They may provide the most effective telehealth treatment as they are invested in your well-being and have intimate knowledge of your health history. We look forward to discussing with you changing trends in the delivery of healthcare, including telemedicine options within your plan.