by Rebecca Wilson, Employee Benefits Department Manager
The cold and flu season impacts employers big and small and this year has been no exception. Noroviruses, such as the one that closed an entire school district in Grand Junction, Colorado late last year, and other contagious diseases, such the current coronavirus outbreak, can be especially impactful to families and businesses. What are the costs to you and your organization and how can you help mitigate that risk?
A recent Statistica survey found that 58% of working adults ages 18-30 and 49-52% of adults ages 31-60 take to up to five sick 5 days a year with 40% of adults stating they attended work while sick. In 2015, Harvard Medical School found the following:
- 121 Minutes – The Average Time away from work for a Doctor Appointment
- $43 – The Average dollar amount lost by Employees for time away from work before health care costs are factored in
- 1 BILLION HOURS – The National Average of time away from work annually for routine sick visits
A Solution – Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a technology that allows Employees and Dependents to seek urgent (non-Emergency) care when unable to see their Primary Care Provider Telemedicine provides employees with a secure way to quickly see a Provider during the workday. While telemedicine is conducted in several ways, the most common is through a simple video call. The average appointment lasts 15 Minutes and can be done from smart phones, tablets or computers, which drastically reduces the amount of time needed for doctors appointments and non-urgent care.
Telemedicine is intended for the treatment of uncomplicated healthcare including the following:
- Cold and Flu
- Cough/sore throat
- Insect bites
- Sinus infection
Board certified doctors provide a video consultation, diagnosis, and can even write prescriptions when appropriate. The cost to the patient can be significantly lower than other health care options. These visits can also be used when:
- You are traveling
- Your primary doctor’s office is closed
- You have dependents at home and are unable to visit the doctor’s office
- You are too sick to leave home.
Most health insurance carriers have a telemedicine program built into their plans, with lower copays or deductible caps for care via their platforms. Mental health, lactation coaching and nutritional services are also available with most insurance carrier telemedicine platforms. Outside vendor Telemedicine programs are also available for purchase. Your Keller Stonebraker Proactive Risk Executive can help you learn more about this option and the potential benefits for you and your business.