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HDHP Telehealth Provision Extended

COVID-19, Employee Benefits, Trending Topics

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (CAA-2022) into law. This law includes a provision to extend the CARES Act provision related to High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) and benefits for telehealth and other remote care services without cost-sharing (first dollar coverage).

The CARES Act provision related to first dollar coverage under HDHPs for telehealth and remote services originally went into effect on March 27, 2020. However, it expired for plan years beginning in 2022. Under the extension in the CAA-2022, HDHPs may choose to waive the deductible for any telehealth or remote services starting on April 1, 2022 through the end of 2022 without causing participants to lose the ability to contribute to their health savings accounts (HSAs). This is optional and plan sponsors may decide to continue to apply the deductible requirement to these services.

Please note that the original CARES Act provision applied to “plan years beginning on or before December 31, 2021”. This means that for calendar year plans and plan years that begin before March 31, 2022, there will be an application gap of this extension. During those months not covered by the original CARES Act provision, telehealth and remote services must still be counted toward the HDHP deductible in order for participants to maintain eligibility to contribute to their HSAs.

Key Takeaway

Plan sponsors with HDHPs will need to decide if they will allow for the telehealth and remote services first dollar coverage extension from April 1 – December 31, 2022. It is important to note that the extension does not apply from January 1 – March 31, 2022 for plan years that were not covered by the original CARES Act provision, even if the plan sponsor adopts the extension. Organizations who wish to extend this offer to their plan enrollees, would be well served to work with their insurance partners to implement any changes to their plans in the near future.

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