Aon | Professional Services Practice
Release Date: August 2022
Virtual-First Health Plans to Further DE&I, Expand Choice and Promote Efficiency
In our September 2021 article “Ensuring your firm’s DE&I strategy includes employee benefits”, we explored how professional service firms might go about weaving organizational DE&I commitments into their employee benefit plans. In this article, we plan to focus on a specific solution that could serve as a component of such a strategy while also increasing efficiency, improving quality, and reducing costs.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional telehealth was a common feature of employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S., mostly used as an alternative to more costly places of service like urgent care centers and emergency departments for acute situations such as advice for cold or flu. During the pandemic, employers and insurers necessarily expanded access to “virtual care”. Paired with a general increase in consumer openness to receiving care in this manner, services like primary care, behavioral health, and remote patient monitoring have grown from minimal participation to normalcy in just two years.
Many believe that the next frontier is virtual primary care, a care delivery model that establishes a longitudinal relationship with a primary care provider and leverages innovation in healthcare technology (like wearable devices, connected glucometers and blood pressure cuffs, etc.) to make primary care more accessible amid a nationwide provider shortage exacerbated by the pandemic and socioeconomic disparities.
Impact on Professional Service Firms
While employers in the professional services industry tend to have populations concentrated in or near large cities and employ comparatively few low-wage workers, there is still an exciting opportunity to reimagine healthcare delivery by shifting virtual care from a supplemental option to the default. For example, it’s now possible to create a plan where members begin most interactions with the healthcare system virtually using an assigned primary care provider and care team responsible for the member’s overall health. When necessary, the virtual primary care provider can direct care to brick-and-mortar settings like laboratories, imaging centers, and physical therapy offices.
A virtual-first arrangement could present several positive benefits for professional service firms and their employees.
- Significant cost savings that could be used to reduce deductibles and copays, or be reinvested toward other total rewards initiatives
- Productivity gains due to plan participants traveling to fewer healthcare appointments
- Increased access to healthcare, including quick access to primary care and behavioral health providers
- More provider choice and convenience, letting participants choose doctors based on criteria important to them, which could include race and gender identity
Aon partnered with a leading telehealth provider and third-party administrator to build and deliver the myVirtualCare Access Plan, a virtual-first health plan available for self-insured employers to supplement or fully replace their traditional plans.
In the myVirtualCare Access Plan, participants will pay less out-of-pocket when they use their assigned virtual primary care provider as their “front-door” to care. The plan also features enhanced care coordination and oversight, access to a national network of brick-and-mortar providers for necessary in-person care, and a variety of other point solutions aimed at managing complex chronic conditions.
Aon’s Professional Services Practice and our Health & Benefits colleagues value your feedback.
To discuss any of the topics raised in this article, or to request a complementary opportunity analysis for the myVirtualCare Access Plan, please contact Mark Scarafone or Peggy Sheedy or Jake Delman.
Senior Vice President and Health & Benefits Leader
Vice President and Director