Group Benefit Plans with Online Doctor Visits and Prescriptions
Three Canadian insurance carriers are ahead of the curve; now offering group benefit plans with online doctor visits and prescriptions to companies with as few as 2 employees. Employers can elect to upgrade their plans and include access to healthcare professionals 24/7. So employees and their families may get a diagnosis, prescriptions, specialist or lab referrals online, from the comfort of their own home or workplace.
What are the benefits to the employer and/or the employees? Not surprisingly, a BC study showed significant benefits among patients who chose an online physician visit over an in-person visit:
- 87% did not miss work
- 57% did not need to visit a doctor in person at all
How much does it cost to add online healthcare to group benefit plans?
The rates range from as little as $2/single employee to as much as $12. The exact quotes will depend on number of employees, insurance carrier and your province of residence. Individuals may also purchase memberships on their own. Contact us directly for more details on the most competitive options out there.
Can an employer add this service at no cost?
Yes and No. Through a plan review with one of our consultants at Brightin, you maybe able to generate savings without a change in benefits or insurance carrier. Employers can then allocate those savings to this or another service. If group benefit plans are not set up optimally, savings can be significant. To book a free consultation, please fill out our group form on the sidebar. Alternatively, CLICK HERE for the Quote/Consultation Request Form which also includes a list of our complimentary services.
What if your existing plan is not with one of the three insurance carriers who offer this service? At Brightin, we have discounted access to direct providers, so any client of ours can get preferential pricing separate from the group plan.
Why are online doctor visits and prescriptions not included under provincial plans?
Most likely, it is because the infrastructure is costly to setup. However, as we see more insurance carriers entering the market, in time, it may become free. The Canadian healthcare system, employers, plan members, and medical professionals can all greatly benefit from
Because of the significant savings to our struggling Canadian healthcare system, perhaps the days when we visit our doctors on screen and have our prescriptions mailed within the hour are not that far away.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT…
Imagine the benefits! By having doctor visits and prescriptions available online, 57% of patients will not make a trip to the doctor.
With such invaluable benefits,
- Significant savings to our healthcare system because with 57% less patients might mean 50% less walk-in clinics. There would be no need for leasing medical office space and all expenses associated with that.
- Improved productivity, as employees will not miss work to get the most common prescriptions.
- Virtual employment opportunities in the medical field will provide a safer working environment. There will also be a more efficient use of our medical professionals’ time.
- With reduced number of commuters and paper files, benefits to the environment.
Did you know that in England there are no walk-in clinics?
So how do people get timely access to medical care? They call in and speak to a nurse who is licensed to prescribe medications over the phone. If there is something more serious, patients are referred to medical doctors. You are not able to see a doctor prior to speaking to a nurse unless there is a medical emergency. In Canada, licensed practitioner nurses may prescribe only certain kinds of medications. That however, still provides lower cost alternatives.
But does this virtual interaction leave more room for errors and misdiagnosis?
England is not the only country which has discovered the benefits of telemedicine. The largest health network in the United States has been using technology for this purpose for years now. They have released data on findings from their 110million physician visits. 52% of these visits were conducted via online portals. The data clearly showed that there were no increases in misdiagnosis when comparing virtual to in-person physician visits. In fact, there was a decrease in malpractice claims and an increase in patient satisfaction.
***DISCLAIMER: Products and services in the insurer marketplace is ever changing! We appreciate and thank any feedback and updates from our readers! If you have any feedback on the topic of telemedicine and group benefit plans, please leave us a comment.
 Manulife Financial Wellness Study – 2016 Index https://www.manulife.ca/content/dam/consumer-portal/documents/en/other/CS5156.pdf