In a big release announced last week, UnitedHealthCare chose Doctor on Demand – new Jiff partner – to be their first, and only, virtual visit provider. Doctor on Demand’s physicians, mental health professionals, and lactation consultants consult patients from the comfort of their homes, through videoconferencing technology. Starting immediately, almost every patient insured by UnitedHealthCare can now use Doctor on Demand’s services.
Only 22 percent of current employers offer telemedicine; however, 71 percent anticipate adding it as an option over the next three years. Telemedicine offers a huge opportunity for large, self-insured employers to save money on their employee’s healthcare costs. A routine telemedicine visit costs on average $40, versus in-office doctor visits that costs on average $176; ER visits are even more costly, and continue to rise.
While telemedicine services are not yet advanced enough to rid the market of in-office visits altogether, with UnitedHealthCare’s announcement, telemedicine’s market share will most certainly grow. If Doctor on Demand is seen as a great alternative and cost-saver, as anticipated, more and more insurers will utilize their services, as well as their competition’s services, moving forward.