As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does telehealth. In fact, the use of telehealth has skyrocketed over the past year as both patients and physicians attempt to minimize as much in-person physical contact as possible.
While there are certain obstacles to overcome when participating in telemedicine — including access to technology and learning curves with digital devices to facilitate virtual visits — more and more Americans are embracing this form of health care.
Telehealth is providing patients with a convenient way to connect with their healthcare practitioners, particularly those who live in rural areas and may not have easy access to conventional medical facilities. Telehealth has also introduced a more affordable approach to medical care, with savings of anywhere from 10% to 15% for doctor visits.
But who exactly is taking advantage of telehealth in the US? What demographics are shaping the virtual medical care landscape?
Telehealth Use By Age
Not surprisingly, younger Americans are making better use of telehealth visits than their older counterparts. According to recent data gathered by Kantar, about one-quarter of all Americans using telemedicine fall within the 18 to 24 year age group.
Those aged 65 years and older were the least likely to use telehealth services at only 5.4%. About one-fifth of older millennials in the 25 to 44 year age group use telehealth, and 11% of those between the ages of 45 to 64 years participate in virtual care.
Telehealth Use By Region
Americans all over the US appear to be using telehealth services relatively equally. There is no particular region that stands out as a dominant participant in virtual health care. Rather, the distribution is rather even throughout the nation.
Interestingly, however, urban dwellers seem to be using telehealth more than rural citizens. Even though patients who live in rural parts would likely benefit more from telehealth because of lack of proximity to healthcare facilities, they are not using telehealth services as much as those who live in the city.
More specifically, 11.7% of those who live in urban parts are currently using telehealth services, while just 6.6% of rural residents are participating in virtual healthcare.
Telehealth Use By Gender
The numbers are pretty close in terms of gender and use of telemedicine, but females appear to be using these services more than men. According to Kantar’s data, 12.2% of females reported to be using telehealth, compared to 8.8% of males.
Telehealth Use By Income
Income also does not seem to play a huge role in determining who does and does not use telemedicine. For instance, 12.3% of adults who earn less than $25,000 per year use telehealth services, compared to 9.5% of those who earn an annual income between $50,000 to $75,000.
Telemedicine is certainly becoming more popular amid the current health crisis. But it still must be paid for, whether out-of-pocket or through some form of health care plan. There are options to help handle the cost of medical care, including telemedicine visits.
One of those options being used by an increasing number of Americans to help tackle the rising costs of healthcare is a health sharing ministry. In fact, health sharing ministry members can save as much as 30% to 40% compared to conventional health insurance plans, and UHSM offers several programs to suit various budgets. In terms of telehealth, UHSM members have unlimited access to telehealth with $0 consult fees.
Discover more about UHSM health sharing programs and get in touch with a UHSM representative today to explore your options. Click here to see how much you can save with a health share program.