August 29, 2015

THE BLESSING OF HIGH DEDUCTIBLES:

The doctor is online: Remote video medical exams gain popularity (LISA ZAMOSKY, 8/28/15, LA Times)

Remote video medical exams, also called telehealth or e-visits, are offered by a host of companies, including Teledoc Inc., American Well, MDLive Inc., Healthspot and Doctor on Demand. These consultations are growing quickly and increasingly included as a part of benefits packages offered by employers and insurers.

Typically, you'll pay a fee of roughly $40 to $50 (sometimes less if it's offered as part of your health benefits) for a 15-minute visit with a board-certified, state-licensed physician.

In its most recent annual survey, the National Business Group on Health in Washington found that 74% of large employers plan to offer telehealth services in 2016, up from about half in 2015.

A report last year by consulting firm Deloitte projected as many as 300 million e-visits within a few years, compared with just 800,000 the American Telemedicine Assn. expects in 2015.

"It's being adopted more and more. We're at the beginning of the curve," said Adam Jackson, co-founder and chief executive of Doctor on Demand.

There are a number of reasons for this service's rapid rise, experts say.

E-visits are everything traditional healthcare is not, said Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health. "It's convenient, it's accessible after hours.... It's efficient, and it's efficient from a cost perspective as well," he said.

As high-deductible health plans increasingly become the norm and consumers pay more for healthcare, they are demanding low-cost, convenient options.

Lowering costs will be a function of making consumers pay out of their own pockets--even if we put the cash in those pockets for them.
Posted by at August 29, 2015 8:51 AM
  

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