The great appeal of telemedicine is that it comes at a lower cost than other care access points, and payers have exhausted other cost efficiencies on the front end.
Having squeezed all they can out of health plan design, employers are now pinning their hopes on telemedicine as the way to bring down their health insurance costs.
Telemedicine is growing rapidly and within a few years will be a routine part of healthcare plans offered by employers, according to the president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a non-profit association of 425 large employers.
Brian Marcotte says employers have moved away from issues of plan design, pretty much accepting that there is little chance of improvement there, and are now focusing on how healthcare is accessed and delivered.
Ninety percent of employers will make telemedicine services available to employees in states where it is allowed next year, a sharp increase from 70% this year, according to an annual survey by NBGH.
That figure will rise to virtually 100% by 2020, Marcotte says. He presented the survey findings at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Gregory A. Freeman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.