Finance

Accepted Telehealth Costs and Value Varies with Age

Telehealth costs and the patient experience

Data and analysis from a survey of U.S. consumer attitudes toward telehealth was published in October of 2020 by Accelerate Health. We now introduce further analysis of the original survey data, specifically focused on telehealth price and telehealth cost sensitivity. This brief highlights our three key findings:

  1. Compared to an in-person visit, telehealth value (in absolute dollar terms) is higher for younger users than older. Most baby boomers and Generation X respondents say that telehealth costs should be less than an in-person visit. The opposite is true for millennial and Generation Z respondents. This age-related difference is consistent with the age-based trend we previously identified.
  2. All age groups value a telehealth visit with a trusted provider greater than a visit with an on-demand (direct-to-consumer service) provider. In dollar terms, the average premium for a trusted provider is 19%. For the youngest respondents, this premium grows to 22%. We have started calling this the “trust premium.”
  3. The absolute dollar value of telehealth cost responses show how insulated older respondents are from the actual cost of care, with their price expectations anchored by either Medicare or private insurance co-pays. Older users pegged the nominal price of telehealth visits at values far below the real cost of a primary care or other visit. By contrast, millennial and Generation Z respondents are more likely to have high-deductible health plans or other arrangements that expose them to the total cost of care out of pocket. These respondents pegged the optimal price for a telehealth visit higher than the U.S. average cost for an out-of-pocket in-person visit.

Additionally, using the well-established Price Sensitivity Meter technique, we have pinpointed the key values of “the point of marginal cheapness,” “the point of marginal expensiveness” and “the optimal price point” for each age group in our survey regarding telehealth visits with both trusted and on-demand providers. This information will help telehealth providers evaluate their pricing strategies, and offer guidance on possible adjustments.

The original dataset offers opportunities for further into consumer telehealth behavior, including exploration of preferences by specialty. Because this data was collected in the late summer and early fall of 2020, during the COVID-19 induced surge in telehealth use, it should offer a valuable baseline against which we can track post-pandemic telehealth costs and preferences to help gauge changing sentiments as society moves towards a new normal.

Accelerate Health Telehealth Insights Report: Price & Cost Sensitivity

Get insights into telehealth specific to price and cost sensitivity in this Accelerate Health report. Because this data was collected in the late summer and early fall of 2020, during the COVID-19 induced surge in telehealth use, it should offer a valuable baseline against which to can track post-pandemic telehealth preferences to help gauge changing sentiments as society moves toward a new normal.

Get the report and be ready for what’s next