Credit Suisse’s https://www.credit-suisse.com Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, indicates a slight uptick in telehealth adoption among large employers, and also shows that telebehavioral still remains an opportunity. The survey shows some moderation in premium growth, but pricing is still expected to exceed cost growth.
Survey respondents were asked to discuss their firms’ strategy with respect to telemedicine in 2019 and 2020. Approximately 84% of respondents plan to have a telemedicine offering for their employees in 2020 (vs. 81% of respondents for 2019). Among the National Accounts, 91% (vs 86% last year) are planning to provide a telemedicine offering in 2020. Results underscore belief that the large group market and National Accounts in particular are approaching close to full penetration.
It was found that the key services offered via telehealth included urgent care and general health assessments as primary services. Results also indicate an increase in employers offering behavioral health services via telehealth from 44% in 2019 to 48% in 2020 which implies that telebehavioral still remains an opportunity in the large group employer market.
The majority of employers who offered telemedicine to their employees report their reasons were to reduce medical costs (68%) and to improve access to care (85%) as primary reasons to offer telemedicine to their employees.
The survey found that employers were largely satisfied with their telehealth vendors. On an aggregate basis, 65% of employer respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their current telehealth vendors. Only 2% of employer respondents noted that they were unsatisfied with their current telehealth vendors while the remaining 33% were neutral.
As for satisfaction with telehealth vendors, when compared across major telehealth vendors, employers using Teladoc Health https://www.teladoc.com were most satisfied. This was followed by employers using Doctor on Demand https://www.doctorondemand.com. For National Accounts, the percentage was highest for MDLive https://www.mdlive.com, while in Large Group and Middle Market, the satisfaction percentage was highest for Teladoc Health.
However, the utilization rate continues to remain low with the survey showing:
- Employers reported that about 8.9% of their employees (vs 9.3% in 2018) are actively using their telemedicine offering.
- The utilization rate varied from 9.5% among Middle Market employers (vs 9.8% in 2018), 8.2% among Large Group employers (vs 9.1% in 2018), and 9.5% among National Accounts (vs 7.1% in 2018)
Reasons for the low utilization rate include:
- 10% of employer respondents attributed the low utilization rate to the lack of marketing/outreach/education on part of telehealth vendors
- 46% of employers attribute the low utilization to the fact that employees continue to prefer in-person visits vs virtual visits
- 42% is attributed to the lack of marketing/outreach/education on the part of employers
- Employers are unclear on the Return on Investment (ROI)
- Some employers have not yet been able to research the benefits of offering telemedicine to their employees
On an aggregate basis, the utilization rate was highest (10.9%) among employers offering Teladoc Health, followed by employers offering Doctor on Demand to their employees (10%).
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