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New Jerseyans are embracing telemedicine, according to a report from 101.5 news radio, and that’s good news for the cost of health insurance.

With telemedicine, doctors and patients meet electronically, either over the phone or through the internet, thus avoiding the time and expense of an in-person office visit.

 Dino Flammia reported Dec. 28 that telemedicine is working in a number of ways at RWJBarnabas Health. “In its simplest form, patients are connected virtually with outside doctors for primary care visits. Patients see a doctor ‘face to face’ and can receive prescriptions based on their condition,” he says.

It’s convenient for doctors as well. As Amy Mansue, president of the southern region for RWJBarnabas Health explained, telemedicine frees up physicians to do more clinical work, rather than paperwork.

In a national survey, 70 percent of people under age 35 said they had been part of a telemedicine visit within the past 12 months.

But older individuals, with the right device in hand, are not lost on the potential benefits of remote visits. Mansue said RWJBarnabas Health uses telemedicine for chronically ill patients as well. It prevents would-be frequent visitors from trekking back and forth, perhaps for visits that would not be covered by insurance.

Telemedicine has the potential to cut down on the number of in-house doctor’s visits required, which would help reduce costs.  That’s why NJBIA advocated for a telemedicine law in 2017. (See The Doctor Will Face Time You Now.)

Healthcare costs continue to be a major concern among New Jersey businesses.  According to NJBIA’s  Health Benefits Survey, the average annual cost of a family plan was nearly $20,000, and the average premium increase for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees was nearly 9 percent.

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