Congress passed an omnibus government funding bill at the end of 2022 titled the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 to avoid a shutdown. One of the provisions affects HSA telehealth services by again extending HSA relief to consumers with High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).
Consumers can receive first-dollar telehealth and remote care services and not lose eligibility to contribute to their HSA or Health Savings Account, a provision originally in the CARES Act and CAA 2022. This provision extends this protection through the 2023 and 2024 plan years.
Before this relief, a consumer enrolled in an HDHP would lose their eligibility to contribute to an HSA if they had access to first-dollar healthcare services which provided medical coverage pre-deductible. As a result, these members would have to pay cash prices to use any otherwise free or low-copay telehealth service.
The only exception to these HDHP requirements had previously been preventative care. Now with this provision, consumers can receive telehealth and other remote healthcare services while still preserving their HSA eligibility.
How did this relief come to be included in CAA 2023?
Lots of lobbying by various industry groups who signed a letter to leadership requesting this relief, with the intention being that “offering these important services pre-deductible improves affordability and expands access.”
The jointly signed letter specifically cited telemental or Virtual Mental Health care as a key concern. With the much-discussed rise in mental health symptoms and care needs since 2020, employers are looking to reduce barriers to treatment.
According to a survey by the Business Group on Health, 75 percent of large employers are offering low- or no-cost mental health support from their telehealth provider and 33 percent are offering lower-cost counseling services at the worksite.
This matches up with what employees are looking for, as 7 in 10 insured adults think it is important that they are able to access telehealth services under their current plan. One-fifth of insured Americans have had a virtual mental health appointment and nearly two-thirds are willing to receive mental health care virtually.
If Congress had not extended this provision, employees would have had to pay more to access telehealth services, a barrier to care, at a time when Americans need more access to affordable mental and behavioral health care, not less.
If you’re reading this and thinking your own employees need more affordable and accessible mental health care, let’s connect for a call today.
We can help you understand your options to increase access to needed healthcare services, one which your employees and prospective employees need and want desperately.