April 29, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the focus on telehealth and virtual options. To protect patients and providers from risks associated with in-person care, providers have created or expanded virtual options, including chat, email and video, when appropriate for routine, non-urgent and preventive services as well as for monitoring of chronic conditions. Recent actions by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as Congressional Action in the CARES Act, have temporarily cleared regulatory obstacles to expansion of telehealth for health savings account (HSA)plans. Similarly, recent actions by the Administration broaden Medicare coverage of telehealth beyond rural areas and enable coverage without the need to travel to a health care facility.
The Business Group’s position has been to make it easier for employer plans, including HSA-qualified plans, to cover this lower cost, more convenient care alternative where appropriate. It is also an important way to expand access to providers for services, such as for behavioral health, in areas where access is limited.
The Business Group, along with other groups, sent a letter urging the Senate to allow for pre-deductible coverage of telehealth services for HSA-qualified plans during the pandemic. Now, the Business Group is asking that Congress make this change permanent.
What happens next?
As Congress considers additional COVID-19 relief, making the temporary changes to telehealth coverage permanent is highly likely.
Do you have regulatory/compliance questions related to COVID-19? Please contact us.