More employers are offering telemedicine, but why aren’t workers using it?

From the Tribune:

This fall, employees in Chicago and across the country might notice their employers touting so-called telemedicine — in which health care is delivered remotely via phone, video or other technologies — as they gear up for insurance open enrollment. Telemedicine often is offered in addition to or as part of traditional insurance benefits, and some telemedicine companies bypass employers entirely, offering it directly to consumers.

So far, employees haven’t warmed to the idea, either because they don’t understand it, don’t know it’s available or because they’re skeptical of getting a doctor’s opinion via telephone. Telemedicine accounted for only about 1 million of 1.2 billion outpatient medical visits last year, according to brokerage and consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

About 70 percent of large employers offered telemedicine as a benefit this year, but only 3 percent of employees at those companies used the services in the year’s first half, according to a survey of 133 companies, each with at least 5,000 employees, released by the National Business Group on Health.

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