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It’s not a secret: The cost of healthcare continues to rise year after year. This fact is especially felt by employers who aim to offer quality healthcare to their employees but are often met with soaring premiums. While there could be several reasons behind the high healthcare costs, Harvard Business Review estimated that just 5% of employees account for around 50% of all employer healthcare costs. These employees tend to live with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, which account for most of the cost.
Implementing a comprehensive virtual care program that’s designed to help them better manage their health can prove to be beneficial for both self-funded employers and their employees alike. Discover a few reasons why employers should consider offering these programs below.
In recent years, many employers have started to prioritize health and wellness among their staff. They often do this by starting wellness challenges or promoting general health initiatives to try and motivate their teams. While these types of health programs can be helpful, they tend to address general wellness within an entire staff or only temporarily encourage them to adopt healthier habits.
Unfortunately, these efforts can be ineffective when trying to make a long-term impact on health. They also tend to not focus on the ones who need care the most: those living with long-term health concerns. These concerns such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease can sometimes worsen in the workplace because of sedentary job roles, increased stress, and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Implementing a comprehensive virtual care program such as chronic disease management can help improve employee health. This is because it can provide care to employees when they need it, help them develop personalized goals, offer coaching, and allow them to track their progress.
In fact, a survey by Business Group on Health found that 51% of employers plan to have at least one advanced primary care strategy in 2021 and “these primary care arrangements, which move toward patient-centered population health management emphasizing prevention, chronic disease management, mental health and whole person care, are key focus areas for employers.”
Additionally, virtual care can be an effective alternative to in-person visits because it offers greater care coordination as well as fewer barriers to care due to distance and time constraints. For example, some employees may avoid visiting their doctor in person if they must miss work, especially if travel and wait times tend to be long. By missing their routine appointments and preventive health visits, their condition(s) could unintentionally worsen and lead to a higher cost of care later.
Virtual care programs like chronic disease management not only address chronic conditions but make it easy for people to manage them and improve their health from the comfort of their homes.
While virtual care has several benefits that self-funded employers can enjoy, the opportunity to lower healthcare costs can be among the most beneficial. This is especially true since healthcare costs tend to constantly increase each year.
Implementing a comprehensive program like chronic disease management makes this possible. Designed to help employees with chronic health concerns, it can improve their health and wellness while driving participation, engagement, and outcomes.
This unique program offers consistent, confidential interactions from an experienced care team that helps employees develop practical ways to manage and track their health. They also get a chance to have any questions or concerns addressed before they become significant.
This way, the employees who need care the most, receive it.
And, once implemented properly, “virtual care can reduce the indirect costs associated with employees missing work for doctor visits, showing up at work sick or being off work with a chronic long-term illness,” according to Aetna.
This could be why “over three-quarters of employers (76 percent) are expanding virtual care solutions and 71 percent are accelerating telehealth and virtual care offerings,” according to Health Payer Intelligence.
By offering the program to the ones who need it most and engaging them consistently so they can meet their goals, programs like chronic disease management can create the long-term impact employers need.
Comprehensive virtual care programs can offer opportunities to enhance employees’ experience both with healthcare and their employer. In fact, companies that start these types of programs notice that once implemented, employees tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive.
They feel their companies care about them, which can lead to greater employee satisfaction, improved company morale, and less absenteeism.
One important aspect behind these programs is that they aim to create an experience that focuses on engagement. Without it, employers may not get to realize the benefits mentioned. They also may not be able to meet certain company goals.
Therefore, ensuring employees actively participate in a program that’s meant to meet certain outcomes or metrics will be vital to its success. Yet, without knowing their staff’s needs, employers cannot plan for a program meant to be valuable to them.
They can gain this insight through data and analytics. By learning about their employees’ health risks, disparities, and conditions, they can determine what type of program can address these aspects and close gaps in access, according to The One Brief.
Starting a program that’s curated for the personal needs of their staff, especially the ones who live with chronic conditions, could help meet the company’s goals. It could also see greater engagement, which can lead to higher quality care, lower costs, and better experiences.
At Wellbox, we are dedicated to maximizing results for you while also helping your employees live healthier, happier lives. If you would like to learn more about starting a comprehensive virtual care program for your team, contact us today.