Employers noticed medical claims fall in 2020, however telehealth stays a bigger half


Mirroring information from hospitals that confirmed fewer sufferers coming in for appointments and to emergency rooms final yr, many employers noticed their medical prices fall barely in 2020.

An evaluation of claims information from 1.8 million workers performed by the Health Transformation Alliance, a cooperative of 58 self-insured corporations, discovered that medical prices have been down 4% between January and October of 2020. However, pharmacy prices rose 4.5%, a rise attributed to extra sufferers refilling their prescriptions over a 90-day interval.

As claims for in-person visits declined through the pandemic, telehealth visits elevated 28-fold between January and Might, in line with the report. Over the summer season, when extra folks returned for in-person visits, telehealth flattened out at about 20% of complete visits, nonetheless effectively above earlier ranges.

“These outcomes point out a everlasting change in affected person acceptance and use of telemedicine,” Well being Transformation Alliance Chief Technique Officer Lee Lewis mentioned in a information launch. “Whereas the standard workplace visits did get well because the preliminary shock of the pandemic, telemedicine use elevated dramatically earlier than settling at a excessive plateau.”

Claims information from the Well being Transformation Alliance reveals telehealth visits remained regular after flattening out over the summer season. Picture Credit score: Well being Transformation Alliance

Each emergency room visits and hospital admissions fell off after the beginning of the pandemic, although admission charges started to extend in June.

Preventive visits additionally fell within the early months of the pandemic, although they’ve since recovered to regular ranges. It’s additionally value noting that grownup preventive visits fell extra sharply than for kids and infants.

Charges of widespread preventive screenings, together with mammograms, colon most cancers screenings, cervical most cancers screenings and ldl cholesterol screenings additionally fell between March and June, earlier than rebounding.

It’s not but clear whether or not the surge of Covid-19 circumstances on the finish of the yr drove down in-person appointments once more. Due to lags in getting post-adjudicated claims information, the report solely consists of claims information by October.

Picture credit score: elenabs, Getty Photos


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