STATEMENT ON THE TELEHEALTH EXPANSION ACT OF 2021
November 17, 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 an HSA 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 offer pre-deductible coverage of telehealth services for employees with HDHP-HSAs provides meaningful access to health care services before the deductible is met. 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 Alliance for Connected Care (“The Alliance”) is pleased to support the Telehealth Expansion Act of 2021 (S. 1704/H.R. 5981) and applauds Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Michelle Steel (R-CA) and Susie Lee (D-NV) for their leadership in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral bill. This legislation would permanently extend the CARES Act authority for employers and health plans to subsidize telehealth visits for individuals with HDHP-HSAs, which is currently set to expire on December 31, 2021.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress enabled employers to offer pre-deductible coverage for telehealth services, expanding access to care and reducing out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans,” said Alliance for Connected Care executive director Krista Drobac. “This bill will ensure individuals with HDHP-HSAs continue to have ready access to virtual-care services while remaining eligible to make and receive contributions to an HSA.”
A full statement that the Alliance made during the Senate introduction of the bill in May 2021 can be found here and below: