The 2023 spending bill signed into law on December 29th includes extending pre-deductible telehealth services coverage. This is excellent news for employers and HR professionals who want to provide employees with access to affordable healthcare services. But what does this extension mean, and how can employers take advantage of it? Let’s take a closer look at the details of this updated legislation.
WHAT IS PRE-DEDUCTIBLE TELEHEALTH COVERAGE?
Pre-deductible telehealth coverage allows HSAs-qualifying high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to cover telehealth and remote-care services on a pre-deductible basis. In other words, they can use these services immediately without having to wait until they reach their deductible limit before they can start taking advantage of them. This makes it easier and more affordable for employees to access care when they need it.
WHAT DOES THE EXTENSION INCLUDE?
The bill extends pre-deductible coverage for telehealth services through 2024, meaning that employers will be able to continue offering these benefits for another two years. In addition, the bill also expands coverage options for virtual visits, allowing for a wider range of medical needs to be addressed remotely. This could include mental health counseling, physical therapy, diagnostic testing, and more.
This legislation extends through plan years beginning in 2024. The telehealth relief was originally provided in the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for plan years starting on or before December 31st, 2021. It was renewed in the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act for April 1st through December 31st, 2022. Without a further extension, this telehealth relief will expire on December 31st, 2024, for calendar-year plans (later for non-calendar-year plans).
HOW WILL THIS LAW AFFECT EMPLOYERS?
The two-year renewal of pre-deductible telehealth coverage will allow employers and their employees better access to healthcare services without having to pay large out-of-pocket costs. This is especially beneficial for those with HDHPs. Under this law, companies that offer HDHPs can now cover telehealth services without requiring a co-pay or deductible upfront. Furthermore, employers are not required to cover any additional fees associated with delivering these services, such as equipment rental or software licensing fees.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYEES?
For employees, this means they have more options when accessing healthcare services without having to worry about large out-of-pocket costs. Telehealth has become an increasingly popular option since the pandemic’s start due to its convenience and cost-effectiveness. Employees can take advantage of telehealth whenever they need medical attention but do not necessarily require in-person care from a primary care physician or specialist. Additionally, many employers are covering the cost of telehealth visits in full or at a discounted rate depending on their plan details—allowing employees even further savings when seeking medical attention through telemedicine platforms.
A WIN FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES ALIKE
While this is not a permanent extension, the two-year renewal of pre-deductible telemedicine coverage provides both employers and their employees with more options when it comes to accessing healthcare services without large out-of-pocket costs. All in all, this new legislation promises improved access and cost savings for all involved – making it an undeniable win for everyone!