In his latest blog, our Founder & CEO Lee Dentith looks at the growing costs of private medical plans and how Now GP can act as a second point of call – which could save businesses and insurers substantial amounts of time and money.
New data compiled by Aon Hewitt has revealed some rather bleak predictions for the world of traditional employer-funded medical cover. Costs are expected to increase by 9.3% in the UK in 2016, and after a 7.8% rise last year, these figures are becoming more and more unmanageable.
As employer’s costs rise, it’s going to become increasingly important for insurers to discover and develop new ways of reducing the number of patient referrals to consultants and hospitals. However, this isn’t easy – medical costs would appear to be escalating globally due to our population ageing and our overall declining health.
Through the Now GP mobile health app and its innovative business integration, we’ve worked tirelessly to help reduce the costs associated with employee healthcare and to transform the world of private medical cover.
Recently, Now Healthcare Group conducted an anonymous survey of over 250 NHS GPs. We found that they are 60% more likely to refer patients to hospitals and “private” consultants knowing that the client is covered by a private medical insurance scheme – and that the NHS isn’t going to be held responsible when it comes to paying for any treatment, tests or examinations.
Our concern at Now GP is that a significant number of these issues are primary care concerns that can be diagnosed without the need for a private referral – we want to ensure that only patients who actually require treatment are referred, for the benefit of themselves, their insurance and healthcare providers, and their employer.
The Now GP platform can be used by businesses to help stop such unnecessary referrals and save a significant amount of money and time. We can act as a second point of call for those patients who have been referred by a GP – in a large number of cases, our video consultations with MRCGP-certified doctors can provide patients with the diagnosis they need without the need for further referral to a hospital, clinic or surgery.
These second examinations are invaluable when it comes to saving insurance companies money, with premiums at an all time high for patients who are referred. Even if the second consultation with a Now GP GP reveals that treatment or tests are needed, in a large number of cases we can help with this, too – we offer the delivery of medicines from our sister company Now Pharmacy and can even offer remote based blood testing to patients. With the results then delivered to them face to face via our app, we can often give patients the treatment and test results they need without them setting foot in their private hospital or clinic.
This helps to keep costs down for insurers, and also saves productivity time for the employer – the patient doesn’t need to take time off work to have tests, and is even able to have a consultation directly from their office via smartphone. We’ve made it our aim to plug the gap left by traditional private healthcare policies, helping employees to get better quickly whilst providing their employer with a convenient, practical solution to staff sickness – something which currently costs our nation’s businesses a staggering £29 billion each year. For more information on what we could do for your business and to learn more about Now GP as an employee benefit, get in touch with us today.
You can read more of Lee’s thoughts on LinkedIn and Twitter.