Top 5 Reasons to Add Virtual Care to Benefit Plans
Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on March 7, 2022
Is virtual care the future of health care? The vast majority of Canadians (70%) think so, according to recent survey by Environics Research. An even greater percentage (82%) of working Canadians think employers should provide virtual care services through their benefit plans and about 70% believe it can allow them to look after the health of themselves and their families more proactively.
The survey’s findings underscore the dramatic shift in Canadians’ attitudes toward virtual care based on their real-life experiences during the pandemic. Clearly, working Canadians recognize the long-term benefits virtual care can offer themselves and their families, and they want employers to add these services to their benefit plans. As of early 2021, 41% of plan sponsors covered virtual care services, far below the 68% of plan members who indicated they would use them post-pandemic.
Why add virtual care to benefit plans? Here are just a few reasons:
1. Relevant and responsive to today’s realities
There’s no question the pandemic has fuelled the significant uptake of virtual care, but it has only been one accelerant. Advancements in technology and maturing consumerism have created an expectation for the on-demand, round-the-clock, one-stop access Canadians can get from virtual care. A modern plan with technology-enabled solutions will help meet the needs of today’s digital savvy workforce and, by extension, support efforts to keep and attract employees.
2. Faster recovery, return to work
We all know timely treatment can make an important difference in a patient’s recovery and return to work. Unfortunately, from referral by a general practitioner to consultation and treatment by a specialist, the average wait time for Canadians in 2021 was 25.6 weeks. Virtual care allows plan members to skip the wait lines and connect with a health professional within minutes anywhere, anytime, an important consideration for employers looking to reduce disability claimants.
3. Engaged, empowered employees
Putting health care at the fingertips of employees empowers them to take a direct and active role in their own health. Virtual care can an also help address two leading and costly health care challenges: mental health and chronic disease. Plan members struggling with a mental health issue can connect with a mental health practitioner for one-on-one counselling, just as easily as those dealing with a chronic condition can access technology-enabled guidance and support services of a health coach.
4. Greater flexibility
One-size-fits-all benefit plans are giving way to packages that offer flexible, customizable benefits for all budgets that are easy to administer and access. Enter self-service models, self-managed care solutions, personalized coverage options — all of which can be enabled through use of AI, digital technologies and new delivery channels ― that give employees great choice and control over how they use and spend their benefit dollars.
5. Increased productivity
Virtual care is increasingly becoming central ― and essential ― to our health care system and modernized benefit plans. The returns on investment for employers and their employees can include improvements in health literacy, greater self-care and adherence to treatment. Ultimately, this impacts the bottom line and leads to better organizational health.
Our digital storefront, Connected Care, draws on the latest technologies and innovations to offer plan members premium access to the best, most immediate care possible at preferred pricing. Its suite of services includes digital therapy (internet-enabled Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or iCBT), Virtual Physiotherapy, Personalized Medicine (pharmacogenetic testing), Online Doctors (virtual doctor visits), a Diabetes Care Program and a mindfulness and meditation app (Petit BamBou).
Mobile App: One of the highest rated apps of any insurance company with unique built-in functionalities to help members submit claims, manage prescription drugs, receive refill reminders and search for health professionals in their communities.
Healthcare Navigation: Connects select plan members on disability with MedExcellence – a personalized healthcare navigation service that can reduce the wait time to see a specialist.
Rx Home Delivery: Enables members to access their prescriptions taken on a regular basis through home delivery services free of charge to themselves and their families.
Optional Benefits: A comprehensive, turnkey solution that offering members a seamless path to purchase. Employees can explore their options (critical illness, life insurance, AD&D) calculate rates and sign up within minutes, entirely online — and with virtually no work and no cost for the employer.
To learn more about our virtual care services and solutions, connect with your Medavie Blue Cross representative or explore our website.
Sources: 2021 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey, Environics Research, Fraser Institute