STATEMENT ON THE PRIMARY AND VIRTUAL CARE AFFORDABILITY ACT
October 18, 2021
WASHINGTON DC – There are more than 35 million Americans with high-deductible health plans coupled with a Health Savings Account (HDHP-HSAs). More than 50 percent of individuals with HSAs live in zip codes where the median income is below $75,000 annually. Reaching the deductible threshold of $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family is often a financial strain.
Allowing employers to subsidize access to telehealth for employees with HDHP-HSAs before the deductible is met, provides meaningful access to health care services. Through the CARES Act, Congress gave employers the ability to provide free or reduced telehealth services to their employees during the pandemic by creating a telehealth safe harbor from certain high deductible health plan rules. The safe harbor is not part of the flexibilities provided by the Public Health Emergency (PHE), and is set to expire on December 31, 2021 regardless of how long the PHE lasts.
The Alliance is pleased to support the introduction of the Primary and Virtual Care Affordability Act (H.R. 5541) and applauds Representatives Schneider (D-IL) and Wenstrup (R-OH) for their leadership in extending the CARES Act authority for employers and health plans to subsidize telehealth visits, and to expand this provision to primary care, for individuals with HDHP-HSAs through December 31, 2023.
A full statement can be found here and below: