Cold and Flu Season is on the Way (and Telehealth Can Help!)

Cold and Flu Season is on the Way (and Telehealth Can Help!)
November 16, 2021 Laura Dziomba
telehealth for cold and flu

With colder weather approaching and winter on its way, this is a good time to prepare for cold and flu season. And when your employees are feeling under the weather, you want to make sure they can get the advice and care they need to feel better quickly and easily. Having access to telehealth or text-based care solutions lets them fit provider appointments into busy schedules and seek treatments for health concerns right away. It might be just what the doctor ordered!

Telehealth and text-based health care options on the rise

While the concepts of telehealth and telemedicine are not new, the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in the rise of this type of health care solution. And for good reason—finding safe ways to access health care treatments has been critically important in our current socially distanced times. (Click here to read our Special Report: Supporting Clients During COVID-19 Pandemic)

As consumers, when it comes to pursuing wellness, we’re always on the hunt for ways to make our daily lives easier and embrace advancements for protecting our health and well-being. Keeping this in mind, one thing seems very likely—telehealth options are here to stay!

What is telehealth?

Giving patients the ability to chat with a doctor by phone, text or video chat, telehealth provides a convenient alternative to in-person medical visits. As the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, use of remote-style care saw an uptick since people were looking for a safe way to get answers to health-related concerns from a distance. But some experts are predicting this trend will stick around long-term and may become even more popular in years to come.

Why it’s popular—a look at some benefits

While not intended to replace your regular visits to the doctor or emergency room, telehealth visits do have some advantages, including convenience, prompt attention and affordability. Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits of telehealth services:

      • It’s available 24/7. Through the use of mobile technology and text-based apps, patients can reach certified doctors and health professionals day or night, whenever they need medical support. Telehealth provides quick answers to health concerns from anywhere—home, work or on-the-go. Plus, during off-hours or on weekends, when traditional facilities may be closed, telehealth is still available.
      • It’s efficient. Patients can have symptoms evaluated and diagnosed quickly, and even receive a guided treatment plan. They may even be able to receive prescriptions filled for certain common ailments.
      • It’s cost-effective. With telehealth, your visits can be low-cost or sometimes free depending on the service. For non-emergent health concerns, virtual options also help patients save on costly visits to an ER or urgent care center.

Offer solutions in your health plan

Ready for some good news? Many health insurance companies and plan administrators offer telehealth services you can add to your employee benefits plan. And as a member, your health plan may already offer you some telehealth options, including resources and support tools!

For instance, if you offer Meritain Health® benefits, you have access to solutions such as Teladoc® or 98point6®. Curious what these are? Here’s a closer look:

Teladoc. Allows members to reach highly qualified, board-certified and state-licensed physicians to receive care, 24/7. Doctors are accessible by phone, online or using a mobile app for general medicine, behavioral health and/or dermatology concerns.

98point6. Using an app, members can use a text messaging feature to access U.S. board-certified physicians 24/7 via to ask health-related questions, have their symptoms diagnosed and even have prescriptions or lab work ordered. If they prefer, they can opt to call or video chat, too. Members can also receive a personalized care plan to help with any treatment going forward, all via the confidential and secure in-app messaging tool.

Since telehealth is a trend expected to gain in popularity in the months and years ahead, this is a great time to explore what on-demand care is all about! See what your health care administrator has to offer and see which solutions might be right for your benefits plan.

To learn more about what’s included in your benefits, check out your Meritain Health benefits booklet, visit your member portal, or contact Customer Service using the number on your member ID card.

If you’re interested in adding telehealth options to your employee benefits plan, just reach out to your Meritain Health representative.