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Coverage@Work Telehealth: Getting Care Where You Need It


68% of those with employer-provided coverage find it crucial for their plans to include telehealth services, says AHIP Coverage@Work survey.

Published Apr 9, 2024 • by AHIP

Today, more than 180 million people rely on employer-provided coverage for their health care needs.

Americans all deserve health care that’s affordable and accessible. One of the ways that health insurance plans are delivering on this commitment is supporting increased access to telehealth and other forms of virtual care.

An AHIP Coverage@Work survey found that 68% of people with employer-provided coverage consider it important for their plans to cover telehealth services. By providing telehealth, employer-provided coverage delivers a wide range of options for patients to affordably access health care.

Norma S. appreciates the flexibility that telehealth offers, "with employer-provided coverage, I was able to do video conferences with them, as opposed to going into their offices to discuss what I was going though, if I needed to see a specialist for a condition, anything of that sort.”

Virtual care is not only convenient – it also maintains high standards of quality. Recent research from the California Health Foundation found that the quality of telehealth treatment for various health services such as primary care, preventive care, and rehabilitation did not differ from the quality of an in person visit. Notably, outcomes were significantly better when using telehealth for behavioral health treatments.

The research showed that telehealth was effective in resolving both “urgent and non-emergent” conditions between 84%-87% of the time without follow up, finding that in-person resolution was only marginally different. Additionally, the study found that telerehabilitation is highly effective at improving health outcomes in areas such as activities of daily living, motor function, and physical activity.

Telehealth also scores highly when it comes to preventive care services. In a review on the accuracy of diagnostic tests providing cognitive assessments for dementia via telehealth, the results showed that doctors could rule out signs of dementia at the same rate as in-person visit.

The most important service that my employer-provided coverage gave to me was access to my counselor through telehealth,” said Laurel M., a beneficiary of telehealth through employer-provided coverage.

More good news: Nearly 60% of the nation’s large employers (with 500 or more employees) provide medical coverage for telehealth, and access to these employer-offered services has more than doubled in recent years.

Jessica Fenchel, Vice President of Adult Behavioral Health at Access Services, highlighted the importance of telehealth in the mental health field: “The employer-provided benefit of telehealth to mental health care makes it easy for not just the people that we have in our workforce, but the people that we're serving in the community to connect to care.”

By delivering high-quality care in a convenient way, patients view telehealth as an efficient and effective way to improve care outcomes, reduce unnecessary and costly visits to the emergency department, and make certain that patients get the right care at the right time in the right setting.

Learn more about Coverage@Work here.