Congress Breathes New Life Into Pre-deductible Access to Telehealth Services
The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (CAA 2022) is best known for preventing a government shutdown and providing aid to Ukraine, but its more than 2,600 pages also contain language that revives a telehealth services provision that many health plan sponsors will welcome. The provision allows participants to receive benefits under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) before satisfying the minimum deductible and still qualify for contributions to a health savings account (HSA).
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act permitted HDHPs with HSAs to cover pre-deductible telehealth services beginning in 2020, but this provision expired at the end of 2021 for plans operating on a calendar year basis. The CAA 2022 will reinstate the CARES Act telehealth provisions starting April 1, 2022, and extending through December 31, 2022. The provision is not retroactive for calendar year plans (or plans with plan years that have already expired in 2022). Plan sponsors seeking to take advantage of the new rule may wish to let plan participants know that the cost of remote services will again be covered before the HDHP deductible is satisfied.
Ballard Spahr attorneys in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation and Health Care Practice Groups advise plan sponsors and plan administrators on how to navigate these ever-changing health care laws
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