As we face the uncertainty of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our economy, public safety and our individual health, we are all looking for assurances from our leaders, employers and health insurance providers.
Each of the medical insurance carriers announced that they are waiving the cost sharing of testing and any treatment for COVID-19. I had the opportunity to speak with The Morning Call about waiving fees for coronavirus treatments. The potential positive takeaways as we navigate this crisis include lowering the cost of the barrier to care for all patients, increased telemedicine usage and access to additional behavioral health services, along with ongoing reassurance of the value of benefits plans for employer-sponsored health plans.
For more than twenty years, my focus in providing benefits consulting advice for employers has been to provide the best benefits possible and to address the ongoing need to limit the barriers to receiving care, including strategies to fund gaps in coverage, especially during this crisis. COVID-19 has brought a few key benefits trends to the forefront that already existed and ideally will continue, including no-cost telemedicine and increased access to mental health coverage, including the need for a more robust employee assistance program. As we practice social distancing and look for ways to limit our exposure, some of the options include telehealth for ongoing medical consultation for acute conditions, behavioral health and expansion into dermatology and other areas. These alternatives also provide more access and affordability.
Several solutions exist for funding gaps in coverage including fully insured Gap insurance, employer-funded health reimbursement arrangements, incorporating Able Pay discounts and employer contributions to health savings accounts. Gaps in health insurance coverage have also increased the popularity of voluntary benefits including accident, critical illness and disability insurance offerings. Maintaining the trend of providing the comprehensive benefits plans with limited barriers to the cost of accessing healthcare is paramount in this time. The ideal outcome of a comprehensive benefits offering is to recruit, retain and reward employees by providing security in an area we need it the most, our health.
At Univest Insurance, we’ve developed some budgeting and cost-containment strategies to provide guidance and advice about this topic. Employers can pick and choose among any of the strategies above to reduce out-of-pocket costs and improve access. Not sure where to begin? An advisor at Univest Insurance can help you determine what is best. Please feel free to call us at 610.904.6029. We are all in this together and can help you determine the best approach.
Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, Inc. are obligations of the issuing insurance companies, not obligations or deposits of or guaranteed by any bank and are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States.