Empire Life bolsters benefit plans with telemedicine

All group health plan members will be given automatic access to new service starting in September

Empire Life bolsters benefit plans with telemedicine

Empire Life is joining a wave of insurance providers that are beefing up their group insurance plans with telemedicine services as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper in-person consultations.

Starting on September 1, all group plan members with Empire Life group health benefits will be automatically given access to the new service provided by Teladoc Health. After setting up a Teladoc profile, group plan members will be able to connect with a doctor in minutes, or set an appointment time if they wish.

“We're hugely excited to bring this timely and convenient service to our customers,” said Vanessa Lycos, vice president, Group Product and Marketing at Empire Life. Citing figures from the Angus Reid Institute, she said nearly two out of five Canadians report having faced COVID-19-related barriers to medical care.

According to Statistics Canada, nearly five million Canadians do not have a regular care provider. Meanwhile, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports only 16% of primary care doctors have capacity and are accepting new patients who request an appointment, and just 43% of Canadians report being able to get a same- or next-day appointment at their regular place of care when they last needed medical attention.

“With telemedicine, talking to a doctor is safe, simple, fast and easy—any time of the day or night, 365 days a year,” Lycos said, adding that by eliminating waiting and travel time, virtual health services may also help reduce the growing problem of absenteeism.

The telemedicine service joins other Teladoc Health offerings already provided by Empire Life, including Best Doctors expert medical services and its Mental Health Navigator service.

“As a result of the pandemic, consumers are more open than ever to telemedicine, and we're delighted to continue to support Empire Life and their members with access to quality care,” said Dr. Tim Foggin, Canadian medical director at Teladoc Health.