Benefit Basics for Employers: Understanding Medical Second Opinion
Your employee health benefits plan is meant to support your employees and your business. There are many different benefits that can be included in your plan to provide this support; one that is relatively new is medical second opinion. It’s an important benefit that can be very valuable to your employees when they’re facing a potentially life-altering medical condition.
Medical Second Opinion
You’ve heard the saying, “trust your gut.” Sometimes that internal warning system really does need to be heeded. This is especially true when it comes to your body. You know your body well. When you’ve had a serious medical diagnosis, but something doesn’t feel right, then it’s time to act. For your employees, including a medical second opinion benefit in your employee benefits plan is the best way to offer them support in this scenario.
A medical second opinion benefit means that when an employee has been diagnosed with a serious illness, life threatening condition, or mental health disorder, they can receive a second opinion on the diagnosis and treatment plan before moving forward. The benefit is meant to be a collaborative process between medical professionals, instead of an audit of a doctor’s diagnosis. It’s essentially a way to grow the support network for an employee dealing with a serious health condition.
The medical second opinion benefit is not available for every medical diagnosis. It covers specific serious conditions that may benefit from additional medical expertise.
After a diagnosis, if an employee wants to access the medical second opinion benefit, they initiate it with a phone call to the provider. At GroupHEALTH, we work with WorldCare as our provider for this benefit. A nurse with WorldCare will become the case manager and will ask questions about your employee’s health and diagnosis. They’ll gather necessary test results, imaging, and medical records to create a package of information. The package will be sent to one of WorldCare’s partner institutions that specializes in the diagnosed condition. The team there will evaluate the original diagnosis and recommended treatment plan and provide your employee and their physician with a detailed report within two weeks. The report will include information on the team’s findings, recommendations, and resources.
The entire medical second opinion process is virtual – it requires no additional visits to a doctor. It’s also secure and confidential; no medical information will be shared with you (the employer).
An Important Resource
In general, these days people are taking a more active role in their healthcare. Your employees want to know more, and they have become empowered to ask questions and explore alternate ways of approaching health issues. The medical second opinion benefit gives employees an avenue to access more information and make more informed decisions.
Sometimes a medical second opinion confirms the initial diagnosis and treatment; this provides the employee with reassurance during a difficult time. Other times, the medical second opinion may find something completely different than the initial diagnosis. Without a doubt, medical second opinions can help prevent misdiagnosis and/or unnecessary surgical intervention. They can save lives.
A medical second opinion can have a positive impact on an employee’s mental health. It can provide the employee with peace of mind that the diagnosis is accurate and that the treatment plan is the best it can be. It can lessen anxiety for the person diagnosed, because they know their doctor has access to additional resources and collaboration that they may not otherwise have access to.
A Great Addition to your Benefit Plan
As an employer, your first question may be “why?” Why offer medical second opinion as a benefit when as far as you know, your employee can just ask their doctor for a second opinion. There are several reasons to include it as part of your benefits offering.
Your employees can ask their doctor for a second opinion, but this can take time, and sometimes employees find it difficult to broach this subject with their physician.
From a business perspective, if the medical second opinion helps resolve the health condition sooner, that means fewer days off work for the employee. This translates into greater focus on their work responsibilities, yielding higher productivity.
Including medical second opinion in your benefits plan can help differentiate your employee benefits plan from your competitors. This helps with recruitment and retention. It also shows employees that you care. You want the best possible medical care for them, which can help your employees feel engaged in your company. Engaged employees are more likely to be proactive about their health; it really is a positive thing for everyone.
This benefit is also in line with a philosophy of promoting health and well-being as a means of keeping benefit plan costs affordable. The right diagnosis and treatment plan the first time means the issue gets resolved sooner.
Good Advice is Key
Medical second opinion benefits are another great tool to support your employees as they are dealing with challenging medical situations. In addition to a second opinion, they also give peace of mind. Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in-person or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefit packages that work as hard as you do.
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