How Super Glue and Telemedicine Saved Me Over $700
It was early January. We had just implemented a high deductible health plan (HDHP) which had an increased deductible and no office visit copays, but the plan had an attractive price point. This year, the company added an additional layer of claims protection and employee satisfaction element: telemedicine!
Telemedicine was rolled out 40 years ago according to Jonathan Linkous, head of the American Telemedicine Association, and over the past 5 years has become more prevalent in employee benefit programs, additionally being integrated in major medical carrier offerings. There are independent telemedicine companies which offer additional features such as Facetime on your smartphone and wellness components. The idea is that if you’re experiencing an ailment or injury that you’d normally see your primary physician for, you can access a physician online or on the phone 24/7, which:
- is convenient,
- will save you the cost of the urgent care or office visit and
- may eliminate a trip to the ER (or validate to go!).
The telemedicine physician can prescribe prescription medication which is convenient, especially if it’s during your workday so you can pick it up on the way home and not miss work, or even better: on a Saturday or Sunday night, when you simply don’t have access to the primary care doc.
Being January, the deductible had just reset and the member was responsible for the full amount. I received a call on Monday afternoon from one of our client’s employees.
Employee: you aren’t going to believe this! My 17-year-old son offered to do dishes on Sunday night at 9 pm. He reached in the sink and cracked a glass which gashed his thumb wide open! I couldn’t stop the bleeding, started to panic and he began to faint.
Me: What did you do?
Employee: My first thought was: go to the ER. I got our jackets and then paused. I remembered the new medical plan and the high deductible! Man! This was going to cost me big time! Stitches, visit…omg!
Me: So, What did you do?
Employee: I took your advice and used the telemedicine. It was very easy! I had downloaded the app on my smartphone during the open enrollment sessions. I opened the app, answered a few questions and was asked to take a few pictures of his thumb. The doctor called me within three minutes. He asked me more questions and then began walking me through cleaning the wound. It was his opinion that – yes, the cut was deep but we didn’t need to go to the ER! The next step was going to be closing the cleaned wound by using super glue to connect it together. Super glue. The doctor instructed me on how to calm my son down and to follow up the next day with our primary care physician.
I had to take him this morning for a tetanus shot, but that was it. I thought for sure that our doctor was going to think we were crazy but she reinforced what our telemedicine doctor had advised and even complimented us!
When insured under a HDHP, being a consumer of healthcare is important. Having a resource like telemedicine is invaluable. A similar visit to the ER for a few stitches would have cost $700 or more.
If you’re interested in other valuable consumerism options or think this tool may work for your company, contact a member of the ‘A’ Team today.
- Increasing Employee Engagement through Telemedicine
- The Three-Legged Stool Approach: HDHP with a HSA
- Wise Use of the Emergency Room
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