Convenience Drives Many Patients to Try Telemedicine

April 22, 2019

A survey last year found that a quarter of adults in the United States don’t have a regular doctor. Some are wondering if they need one at all. Telemedicine can provide much of what conventional visits to clinics provide without the hassle of leaving work. taking time off, and struggling with traffic.

Healthcare experts say that the changing fragmented nature of healthcare is why people still need someone to help them navigate their healthcare. This is the traditional role of primary care physicians like family doctors, but arguably those health care providers do not always need face-to-face visits to do their job and to do it well.

The nature of primary care is changing as patients branch off to drugstore clinics and Urgent Care centers. Physicians are working behind the scenes with contracts to provide healthcare to increasingly large population. The telehealth market is growing continuously. It expanded from 260 million in 2017 to 1.6 billion in 2018. Practices are slowly shifting to a team approach that focuses on keeping patients healthy, reserving the actual visits with a doctor for the more serious referred cases.

As telemedicine organizations form to provide specialty specific care, from mental health to neurology, they are supporting paramedical departments in counties to extend care from a city base with a general surgical practice to reach more rural satellite locations.

More recently, medical doctors are able to provide Urgent Care through remote consultations using Google Places, Skype, or FaceTime. These encrypted data protected technologies allow for virtual consultations. Access to care is increasing at reduced consultation prices.

Providing Medical Malpractice Insurance for each of the doctors in the group is becoming more affordable, with policies that provide professional liability to cover the entity and the owners, whether they're medical doctors or investors. These plans accommodate physicians that have been on-boarded to match the demand.

This is all for less than 8000 in annual premiums. These Telemedicine Medical Malpractice Insurance policies also contemplate medical malpractice tail. The important endorsement to have on a startup medical malpractice policy covering a telemedicine organization is a roster, or a scheduled physicians endorsement.

These provide blanket protection for on-boarded physicians. When you roster your physicians, sharing limits with the entity, the policy is set up to continue to defend the physicians for their activity under the group even after they depart—as long as the main policy remains in force. As long as the policy remains active, the coverage is there for physicians who have moved on from the group but still are at risk of being named in a claim stemming from the services they provided while part of the group.

Tail is provided ultimately when the policy itself is canceled. At that point, the tail covers all of the physicians who have been included in the roster endorsement.
The only time tail becomes an issue is if the entity decides to cancel or abandon the policy. At that point, the carrier will generate a tail bill upon request, which is usually around 180-200% of the annual base premium for the current policy year.

Some carriers will carve out a tail offer for an individual departing physician if asked, though it’s more expensive and harder to anticipate the cost, since the policy doesn’t price the coverage for any individual physician based on a full time or part time rating, the way traditional medical malpractice carriers do.

Some of our groups will pre-fund tail for physicians that leave the group. In this case, tail will be purchased at the appropriate time by setting up a trust account and funding it with the approximate amount needed to purchase it for the group at any given time. This will need to be adjusted up every couple of years as the group grows.