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3 Reasons Telehealth Should Never Be A Voluntary Benefit

Sep, 20 2016

Is telehealth at the forefront of renewal conversations with your groups? Employers are desperate to continue offering innovative benefits to attract and retain great employees. However, with more and more of the budget being used up by the medical plan, many turn to voluntary offerings. A voluntary strategy allows the employee to purchase services they feel suit them best, and this is usually a good approach.

But, here are 3 reasons why telehealth should NEVER be a voluntary benefit.

But first…in case you’re not aware, telehealth is the ability to consult with a board-certified physician via phone or video, with the doctor being able to write a prescription, if necessary. Click here to see the steps behind a telehealth visit.


1. It solves many issues in today’s medical plans

Medical insurance rates and claims increase at twice the rate of inflation. Telehealth redirects unnecessary emergency room, urgent care, and primary care office visits away from the health plan. A 24/7 doctor (especially at $0 consult fee) reduces the burden placed on employees by quickly and efficiently resolving 70% of issues that normally result in an in-person visit.

2. It’s a high-value, ROI solution most employers can afford

With the reductions in health plan coverage, telehealth can be an inexpensive addition that delivers real results and savings to employees. Many telehealth options are under $10 PEPM, yet provide hundreds to thousands of savings. It’s estimated that telehealth results in hundreds of dollars of savings per consult. Groups that have a strong rollout and ongoing education of their telehealth benefit quickly realize that this strategy more than pays for itself many times over.

3. It’s a relatively new concept

As mentioned above, the voluntary approach typically results in election only from employees who both understand a benefit and know they’ll use it. With the recent buzz around telehealth, it is gaining popularity, but many are still unaware of the benefits or potential for savings. Because of this, many employees may not elect the benefit even though it could be a big win on many levels.

A recent Towers Watson study found that 37% of employers offered telehealth in 2015 with another 34% considering it for 2016 or 2017. The study further concluded that telehealth could potentially deliver more than $6 billion a year in savings to companies. As a broker, it is important to be a consultant. Consultants know the value of telehealth, it’s important to guide the employer to PROVIDE this benefit as a great cost-saving strategy, and not as an OFFERING, where it likely won’t realize its full potential.


Now it’s your turn! How are you approaching telehealth with your groups? Share your experiences by commenting below or send me an email to!


Having started his career in 2013, Jadd is a relative newcomer to the health insurance industry. With the disruption of the Affordable Care Act, he comes with a fresh outlook that drives him to pursue innovative and strategic solutions. He also writes articles to help spread those solutions to others!

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Tanya Boyd
Tanya Boyd
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