In today’s benefits advisor blog, we’ll briefly touch on the types of virtual health care and how each of the primary health insurance carriers in SW Michigan are providing solutions.
Virtual health care is primarily provided via internet video visits (and phone to a lesser extent) with health care professionals. The care can be provided by your personal physician or physician’s office, more like a traditional office visit, just virtually vs. in-person. It can also be provided through your health insurance carrier or a separate third party.
Virtual health care can be used to treat non-emergency physical issues such as allergies, bites and stings, fever, headache, sore throats, colds, cough and flu, as well as various infections such as eye, ear, pink eye, etc.
More recently, virtual health care can also be used for behavioral, mental health and substance abuse issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction and chronic or acute issues that occur.
Many of our employee benefits clients in the Kalamazoo and SW Michigan area use BCBS/BCN, Priority Health or United Healthcare as their insurance carriers. Below is a little information about the virtual health care solutions from each. If your health plan is with a different medical carrier or is self-funded, please be sure to ask about the availability and details of virtual health care with your employer.
BCBS/BCN: BCBS (PPO) and BCN (HMO and POS) partnered with Teladoc effective January 1, 2024. More information here: https://www.bcbsm.com/find-care/virtual-care
Priority Health: Priority Health uses their own Corewell Health providers if seeking services in Michigan. Outside of Michigan, services are provided by MDWell. More information here: https://www.priorityhealth.com/member/getting-care/virtual-care
United Healthcare (UHC): More information here: https://www.uhc.com/member-resources/health-care-tools/telehealth-virtual-care/virtual-visits
The cost of virtual health care is often the same cost, or often lower, than in-person care, and certainly less than an Urgent Care or ER. Obviously, the details of these programs vary, and you should always check with your employer and/or insurance carrier for the specific details of your plan.
Virtual health care can be a great option to save time and money and is a helpful tool for those needing quick access to physical or mental health care!
Ben Cohen, CEBS, is one of our large group Employee Benefits Relationship Managers. Following graduation from Central Michigan University (Fire Up Chips!) with a degree in Human Resources, Ben began his career in 1997 as a benefits consultant with Kushner & Company. After 18 years in that role Ben joined Rose Street Advisors in 2014. Ben’s daily focus is working with clients to offer benefit options that help recruit and retain a productive workforce in a compliant and cost-effective manner designed specifically for each employer. He also enjoys educating employees about their benefits in a fun and informative manner.
Outside of work, Ben is passionate about community involvement and volunteering. He currently donates his time as a board member with the Portage Community Center, volunteers with Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, and participates with volunteer opportunities through Rose Street Advisors’ SWEET committee. In the past, his involvement has included the American Red Cross, United Way, Volunteer Kalamazoo, Optimist Club, Jaycees, KHRMA, and the Michigan Maritime Museum. Ben loves spending time at home and at their cottage in South Haven with his wife, Jen, and their dogs. He loves travel, cars, golf, sailing, and recently started a group with friends rowing vintage wood shells (42 N’ Rowing).