Employers elevated entry to telemedicine throughout the COVID-19 pandemic this yr, based on survey results revealed Wednesday.
Ninety-five p.c of companies with 50 or extra employees provided a minimum of some telemedicine protection, up from 85% final yr, based on the Kaiser Household Basis’s annual survey on employer advantages. Practically half of employers surveyed anticipate telemedicine will proceed to be an vital entry level.
The brand new knowledge spotlight the telemedicine’s fast, pandemic-driven progress: Only one-third of corporations with a minimum of 50 workers lined this profit three years in the past. A modest share of corporations additionally enhanced mental health advantages this yr.
“The expansions of telemedicine and psychological well being advantages have been vital in assembly the wants of workers and their households in troublesome instances,” Kaiser Household Basis executives Gary Claxton and Matthew Rae mentioned in a information launch. “A majority of these modifications made sense not as a result of employers wish to spend extra, however as a result of employers need their workers to see their well being profit applications as ‘advantages’ and to worth them as such.”
Practically six in 10 U.S. residents get their medical health insurance from a job, which quantities to 155 million folks, making employer-based well being advantages the commonest type of well being protection within the nation, based on data compiled by the Kaiser Household Basis.
Amongst corporations with a minimum of 200 workers, 35% expanded the providers and suppliers obtainable through telehealth, as did 19% of corporations with 50 to 199 employees. Twenty-seven p.c of employers with 200 or extra employees and 15% of these with 50 to 199 workers decreased or eradicated price sharing for telemedicine.
Though 31% of employers reported some type of improved psychological well being advantages, equivalent to protecting telehealth visits, few took concrete steps to extend entry or scale back prices for employees. As an example, 6% of corporations added extra psychological well being and substance abuse suppliers to their supplier networks, 3% improved protection of out-of-network suppliers and 4% waived or decreased price sharing.
The survey additionally discovered that the price of employer-sponsored medical health insurance proceed to rise. Premiums for a household plan rose 4% to $22,221 in 2021. Since 2011, household coverage premiums have grown 47%. Workers are chargeable for a median of 28% of the premiums for household plans, a share that has remained pretty regular for many years; in 2021, that amounted to a median of just about $6,000 for the yr.