A survey from the National Business Group on Health found three of four employers plan to offer telehealth services to their employees this year (2016). The National Business Group on health asked 140 large U.S. businesses their thoughts on health care benefits. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they offered telehealth to their employees in 2014 and 2015 and 74 percent expect to do so by the end of 2016.

iHealth Beat reports that, of the companies that offered telehealth services, approximately 50% offered the services through their health plan and 22 percent contracted directly with a vendor. The companies that offered telehealth services reported employee adoption rates of 12 percent.

“Money is the biggest motivator to move to other forms of healthcare, and the need to control rising health care benefits costs has never been greater”, said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the National business Group on Health. He also said “Rising costs have plagued employers for many years, and now the looming excise tax is adding pressure. Employers only have two more years to bend the cost curve before the excise tax goes into effect in 2018, and while employers are pursuing several strategies to keep their plans under the excise tax threshold, they estimate their actions will only delay the impact by two to three years.”

“Telehealth can become an extension of primary care to free up physicians to focus on more complicated issues, and employers need to do their due diligence, ask questions, and study the options closely”, said Marcotte.

by Katie Wike, contributing writer, Health IT OUTCOMES