Your employee benefits plan is a carefully orchestrated tool in your quest for success in business. It helps you attract and retain employees; it supports the mental and physical wellbeing of employees, and it can be a tax-deductible business expense. In order to get the best return on investment from your employee benefit plan, your employees need to understand its value.
This is where virtual healthcare comes in. Virtual healthcare has only recently hit the mainstream, and people are taking notice. Adding it to your employee benefit plan will ‘up the ante’: it will demonstrate to your employees that you value them with cutting edge services.
But there also other important reasons to add virtual healthcare to your employee benefits plan. Before we get into them, let’s take a step back and quickly revisit the basics of virtual healthcare.
Virtual Healthcare 101
Virtual healthcare means using technology (a phone, tablet or computer) to connect with a doctor or accredited nurse practitioner. GroupHEALTH’s virtual healthcare is powered by Akira, a national, on-demand virtual care system. It is innovative and reliable and it can change the way your employees access healthcare.
Akira resolves “virtually” more than half of the issues that would normally take someone into their doctor’s office. Their expert medical team can provide a number of primary care services, including diagnosing medical conditions, writing prescriptions, making referrals, ordering lab work and much more.
Eight Reasons to include virtual healthcare to your benefit plan
- Productivity. Virtual healthcare is yet another tool to help keep your employees healthy. How do health and productivity correlate? Take a second to imagine an employee who is experiencing a health event. Not only are they going to be distracted, but their ability to perform the physical nature of their job may be affected. Virtual healthcare makes accessing support for health conditions much more convenient. If employees get the help they need, they can maintain (or improve) their productivity.
- Employees in remote or rural settings. If you have employees located in remote or rural settings, you’re probably already aware of the challenges that they experience accessing goods and services, including healthcare. Many small towns do not have an adequate number of physicians, so access to medical care can be difficult. Providing your employees who live in these types of circumstances with virtual healthcare can have a very real effect on their health. They’re more likely to seek medical advice when they have 24/7 access to it and they don’t have to travel from their home. This can definitely have a positive effect on their overall health.
- Mental Health. Employees experiencing mental health issues may be reluctant to seek help. In the past there have been unfair stigmas around mental health issues and as a result, those needing help have not felt comfortable asking for it. Adding virtual healthcare to your plan can be a great way to remove the barrier of initiating a conversation about mental health. Some employees may find it easier to text a healthcare professional when initiating a conversation on mental health. Or speaking to someone other than their family doctor may also be easier in the earlier stages. Not to mention the advantage of being able to speak to someone 24/7. Ultimately, virtual healthcare is another way that you can support the mental health of your employees.
- Timely access and after-hours availability. In this fast-paced world, many people feel like there are not enough hours in the day to look after themselves. Taking time out to attend a doctor’s appointment may end up taking a backseat to other plans. The other side of the coin is the need to wait to see a doctor because they don’t seem to have enough hours in the day! Whatever the reason, delaying diagnosis and treatment of a health issue can lead to new or worsening health issues. Adding virtual healthcare to your plan can help with this. Akira offers 24/7 access to healthcare professionals. Employees have quick and timely access to a healthcare professional, whether it be an 11 am or 11 pm. They also save travel time that they would typically spend making their way to the doctor’s office.
- Absences and presenteeism. Employees who are unhealthy are more likely to be absent or perform at sub-optimal capacity if they are at work (known as “presenteeism”). Together both absences and presenteeism are not good for your bottom line, and they can compound an unhealthy situation for an employee. By adding virtual healthcare to your employee benefits plan, you’re making it easier and more convenient for employees to access medical professionals. And if they access medical help, they’ll likely have fewer absences and be mentally “present” when they are at work.
- Excellent health care. Virtual healthcare powered by Akira is patient-centred. It’s provided by accredited physicians and nurse practitioners who are not working to meet a quota (or shutting down once they’ve met it). They can take the time to address patient concerns without the burden of keeping to a strict schedule. As well, both patients and the Akira team have access to patient notes stored on their app. This helps with both treatment adherence and continuity of care. Together, this gives your employees excellent healthcare that they will appreciate.
- Recruitment. Attracting and retaining the best talent is important to the success of your business. Providing an attractive and robust employee benefits plan can certainly help with that. For many employees, virtual healthcare is a new and innovative benefit. By adding it to your plan you can demonstrate to current and potential employees that you have a current, innovative and relevant employee benefits plan.
- Travel. If your employees travel (for business or for pleasure) they may experience a health event while away from home. Getting sick or injured while away from home can be scary, and it can be challenging trying to locate and access medical services. Adding virtual healthcare to your plan can address this. It ensures that Canadian healthcare professionals are available 24/7 no matter where in the world your employees are located. It’s a cost-effective, convenient way to access medical professionals while away from home. It also eliminates any language barriers if they’re travelling abroad.
Virtual healthcare and your employee benefits plan
Adding virtual healthcare to your employee benefits plan really is a win-win for you and your employees, which is why GroupHEALTH embeds virtual healthcare in all its new employee benefits. By having access to a convenient, national, on-demand healthcare service, your employees can get the medical attention they need. There’s no disputing that healthy and happy employees are good for business.
Good Advice is Key
Are you considering adding virtual healthcare to your employee benefits plan? Are you looking for more information on how it works? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, 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 benefits packages that work as hard as you do.