By Alan Justin
Over the last few years we have seen many changes in health care, including higher premiums, higher deductibles and co-pays and higher out-of pocket costs.
Five days is the average wait to see your primary care physician for a sick visit. Five hours is the average amount of time lost from work for a doctor visit. The average cost of a sick visit is $115 (with a high-deductible plan). Another result of these changes is that employees are sicker longer, or avoiding going to the doctor at all! Employers have the loss of productivity and the expense of paying sick-time, and run the risk of having other employees getting sick.
The simple truth is no one wants to wait five days to see their doctor, no one wants to lose five hours of work, and no one wants to pay for a sick visit from their own pocket. There are other results of the changes in health care: coordination of care, the cost of second opinions and the billing maze that is called “explanation of benefits.” More cost, more confusion!
This is where you can Empower your health care. There are four components to the Empower card: Teladoc, Health Advocate, Doctors Online and Health Wealth Fitness.
Teladoc is a national network of U.S. board-certified, NCQA-certified and state licensed physicians who use electronic health records, telephone consultations and online video consultations to diagnose conditions, recommend treatment and write short-term, non-DEA controlled prescriptions when medically appropriate.
Physicians are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, allowing you and your family convenient access to quality health care from home, at work or on the road. There is no co-pay or consultation fee.
Non-emergency medical issues that can be addressed include cold/flu, bronchitis, sinus infection, allergies, pink eye, poison ivy and more.
Your employees won’t waste time sitting in waiting rooms. They can be more productive, promoting “presenteeism” at your workplace!
Your employees will save money for basic medical care by not having to worry about deductibles or co-pays.
Health Advocate helps employees navigate the complex insurance and health care systems. Advocates are highly trained clinical and claims specialist who resolve claims, research treatments, provide medical explanations and negotiate medical bills for out-of-network specialists. Employees have experts on their side to help them make more informed decisions. Employees get help with virtually any health- or insurance-related issue!
Doctors Online puts a team of medical professionals in the hands of employees via email or a smart phone app with 24/7 access. Employees direct medical questions to physicians, pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, dieticians and fitness trainers through a secure online portal. The expert medical team responds within two to four hours with trusted, specific and personal advice.
Health – Wealth Fitness: Promoting healthy behaviors is critical to improving population health and positively impacting health care costs. It provides a wellness solution to address the complete spectrum of n employee’s physical, mental and financial health. Through online tools, videos, articles and more, employees are equipped to create healthier habits and reduce stress.
How do you implement Empower?
It’s an easy process. The employer pays a small monthly fee for each employee. For example IBANYS members pay a discounted rate of $8.35 per month, per employee. And that covers the employee, spouse and dependents up to age 26. Each family member has access to all of the services, and once the employee has Empower, there are no additional expenses! All costs of the services are covered by the monthly fee.
We help IBANYS members promote these benefits and educate their employees with Brain Shark videos, monthly flyers, worksite posters and regular utilization reports. Employees also have 24/7 access to a member portal that fully explains each component, and can utilize the 800 numbers for each component, or call the customer service center for assistance.
Empower is a cost-effective way to promote wellness, help employees stay healthy and recover quicker from illnesses.■
Benefits consultant Alan Justin Jr. can be reached at 716-907-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Empower, visit newbenefits.com.