The Advantages of Telehealth-Powered Employer Clinics
How Employers Can Reduce Healthcare Costs with On-Site Clinics and Virtual Care
Employers spend a great deal of money providing health insurance to their employees. Roughly 155 million Americans receive health insurance through their employer, and around 60% of these employers use self-funded health plans.
Many employers choose to self-insure their employees to increase flexibility and improve the overall care their employees receive. Employers can better manage their health plans, increase prevention and efficiency as a way of reducing costs.
However, some employers are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the healthcare industry. They may spend millions of dollars on some of their sickest employees without analyzing their costs or coming up with a realistic strategy for reducing these costs.
In an effort to improve employee access to healthcare and reduce its cost, Hamilton Health Hub recently partnered with InTouch Health for a new employer healthcare initiative. Learn more about this exciting project and how it’s changing employer healthcare for the better.
The Rising Cost of Healthcare
The cost of healthcare continues to rise year after year, for both employers and their employees. In 2017, the average cost of insurance per employee for family coverage was $18,764. Workers, on average, paid $5,714 towards the cost of their coverage.
In 2018, that number rose to $19,616, marking a 5% increase. That year, workers paid 18% of the cost for single employee coverage and 29% for family coverage.
Studies show the cost of total family coverage premiums has increased by 54% from 2009 to 2019. Employers contribute an average of $14,000 a year to family coverage. Just 5% of employees account for around 50% of all employer healthcare costs.
Why Employer Clinics?
If an employee needs medical attention, they often have to miss work in order to visit their local doctor’s office or hospital. Forcing employees to go offsite for care can reduce employee productivity and increase the overall cost of care. Some employees may hesitate to see their doctor if it means missing work. They may neglect routine appointments and preventive health visits, which can inflate the cost of care down the line, especially for those dealing with a chronic condition.
Instead of employees having to take time off work to see the doctor, employers can bring the doctor to their employees to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of care. Employers can use what are known as micro-clinics, small on-site healthcare clinics that provide a range of basic health services. They’re able to quickly consult with a healthcare professional without taking time off.
Employer clinics can improve preventive care, so employees can address their healthcare needs and concerns as quickly as possible instead of delaying or refusing care all together. Preventive care reduces the number of unnecessary ER visits and the cost of care, while improving the long-term health of employees.
Increasing Employee Access to Care with Hamilton Health Hub
Hamilton Health Hub is an on-site direct primary and urgent care operator, providing employee healthcare services for self-insured employers with fewer than 1,500 employees. They’re known for implementing micro-clinics at employers’ offices throughout the country to increase access to care.
A self-insured employer in the Houston area, covering 320 employees and their dependents, asked Hamilton Health Hub to evaluate their growing healthcare costs. The employer was spending nearly $2 million each year with little knowledge or control as to where the money was going, along with an ever-increasing bill to pay for stop-loss insurance premiums.
As a solution, Hamilton Health Hub built an on-site micro-clinic for the employer to improve access to care for the company’s employees and their dependents. The clinic featured a separate entrance with easily accessible restrooms. The facility contained a small desk with a virtual care hub, an examination table, sample testing equipment, and other essential healthcare equipment.
The on-site clinic offered the following services over a four-month period:
- Primary care
- Urgent & emergent care
- 24/7 access
- Telemedicine technology
- Claims management
- Referral management
Hamilton Health Hub launched the program by meeting with employees and patients face-to-face. This gave everyone a chance to meet the team of care providers, so employees felt more comfortable using the on-site clinic in the months ahead.
However, with only 320 employees, the employer didn’t have a large enough team to warrant having providers on-site during all business hours. Instead of staffing the clinic 24/7, Hamilton Health Hub created a telehealth program to assist the micro-clinic. Employees used real-time video and audio to remotely connect with healthcare providers without leaving the office.
When choosing a telehealth partner for the micro-clinic, Hamilton Health Hub created a list of virtual care requirements. The company only wanted to work with a trusted virtual care partner, including one with easy-to-use technology for faster adoption, scalable telehealth solutions, and the ability to integrate with the company’s existing electronic health records system.
Hamilton Health Hub eventually chose to partner with InTouch Health for this project. The results surpassed the employer’s expectations, reducing the cost of care for the company and its employees. Click here to access the full results of the case study.
Virtual care and employer clinics are changing employer-based healthcare for the better. Visit InTouch Health to learn more about the benefits of telehealth.