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Telehealth News

UnitedHealth Expands Telehealth Service Options for Patients

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Access to telehealth is becoming easier for millions of patients insured by UnitedHealth Group as the payer expands its remote care offerings over the coming months, the payer announced in a press release.  UnitedHealth beneficiaries will be able to take advantage of telehealth services from several different virtual care providers in an effort to help patients save time while accessing a wide range of services.

Telehealth services expand

“UnitedHealthcare is developing innovative telemedicine solutions that enable consumers, especially people who live in rural areas of the country, to access quality, cost-effective health care, whether at home or on the go,” said Jeff Alter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Commercial Group business. “Consumers can save time and money choosing among quality physician groups from the convenience of their smartphone, tablet or home computer at any time of the day.”

Payers benefit from the growth of telehealth, too, since remote consults are generally significantly less expensive than similar visits to an emergency room or urgent care facilities.  A recent study by the Alliance for Connected Care found that telehealth consults solve more than 80 percent of patient health complaints, such as sinus infections or the flu, while cutting downstream costs in half.

While UnitedHealth beneficiaries will pay a portion of the costs for their remote visits based on their particular coverage plans, the out-of-pocket expenses are likely to be significantly less for a $50 online consult than they would be for an emergency department visit that averages more than $650 in costs.

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