How Telemedicine Helps Support Essential Workers During COVID-19

Dave Guttman

While most Americans continue to shelter in place, an estimated 49 to 61 million employees are still leaving their homes to work in an “essential” service. These workers are keeping the country running while risking their health and that of their household by exposing themselves to coronavirus.

Some employers have stepped up their benefits by offering hazard pay, time off, personal protective equipment and more. But employers who offer their essential employees telemedicine really are giving their employees 24/7 healthcare and peace of mind.

Many essential workers are performing lower-paying jobs, such as grocery store clerks, public transit employees, cooks or delivery drivers. Part-time employees might also be ineligible for an employer healthcare plan, while their full-time counterparts receive higher pay and better benefits.

For many essential employees, COVID-19 poses not only a significant health risk, but a financial one, too, as they cannot afford to stay home. Workers are scared, and rightfully so.

Telemedicine can significantly improve the well-being of all essential staff. It allows employees to conveniently talk with a doctor 24/7, get diagnosed and get a prescription, if appropriate.

When an essential employee feels ill, they can contact a doctor to discuss their symptoms. If symptoms suggest COVID-19, they will be directed to take the appropriate next steps, whether that’s contacting their local hospital or isolating at home. This helps “flatten the curve” by preventing them from exposing their family, co-workers and customers. And  employees may also avoid further exposing themselves at an urgent care clinic or hospital.

Employees love how quickly and conveniently they can get in touch with a doctor — often within minutes.

Plus, most telemedicine providers are currently waiving copays or consultation fees, if they hadn’t already. This means the virtual visit is free to the employee, while the employer pays a flat, per-employee-per-month fee.

Essential employees are risking their own health every day, and the country is grateful for their work. Telemedicine gives them safe, convenient access to the healthcare they need as they work to keep the country running.

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