The CARES Act created a temporary safe harbor that allows (but did not require) a HDHP health plan with a health savings account (HSA) to cover telehealth and remote care services prior to the member reaching their plan’s deductible. The CARES Act provision extended the safe harbor for plan years beginning on or before December 31, 2021. Members enrolled in plans with plan years beginning on January 1, 2022 won’t be able to use the safe harbor under current law. The safe harbor overrides the IRS regulation that prevents employees from making or receiving contributions to HSAs if they hold a high deductible health plan that waives the deductible for telehealth services.
There have been a couple of bipartisan bills introduced in Congress recently that aim to expand or permanently waive the first dollar HSA requirement for telehealth. The Telehealth Expansion Act of 2021 would permanently allow first dollar coverage of virtual care under high deductible health plans (HDHP), which would allow participants to access telehealth without first meeting a deductible. The Telehealth Health Savings Account (HSA) Act would allow employers to offer high deductible health plans that include telehealth services without limiting employees’ ability to use health savings accounts.
We will continue to monitor these bills and update you as information becomes available.