ALLIANCE JOINS 70+ ORGANIZATIONS IN URGING CONGRESS TO EXTEND VIRTUAL CARE PROVISIONS IN THE CARES ACT

October 26, 2021


Dear Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady: 


Thank you for your ongoing leadership to expand access to virtual care. During the pandemic, Congress

took steps to remove barriers to virtual care to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection. Those policies have allowed millions of Americans to receive care while staying home. However, most telehealth policies have focused on the Medicare population, when there are over 35 million individuals in the commercial market who are affected by this issue. We write today to encourage you to maintain the policy changes that allowed 35 million Americans with high-deductible health plans coupled with Health Savings Accounts (HDHP-HSAs) to receive telehealth benefits from their employer or insurer pre-deductible. 


As you know, Americans with HDHP-HSAs must meet minimum deductibles defined in statute before the cost of telehealth can be defrayed by their employer or insurer. Congress took swift action as part of the CARES Act to ensure that employees could receive covered telehealth services before their deductible is met by allowing employers to provide pre-deductible coverage for such services. The safe harbor is not part of the flexibilities provided by the Public Health Emergency (PHE), and will expire on December 31,2021 regardless of how long the PHE lasts.  


The ability to offer pre-deductible telehealth services for employees is a meaningful expansion of health care access for 35 million Americans. Notably, according to unpublished estimates from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, over 50 percent of individuals with an HSA live in zip codes where the median income is below $75,000 annually. Reaching the deductible threshold of at least $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family can be a financial strain. These changes have enabled important expansions of access to care during the pandemic for individuals who may otherwise have avoided care due to out-of- pocket costs. 


The undersigned organizations strongly urge you to extend the virtual care provisions in the CARES Act for individuals with HDHP-HSAs beyond the current deadline of December 31, 2021, especially as we approach open enrollment for plan year 2022. As the pandemic continues, particularly in light of the surge in cases due to the Delta variant, individuals need continued access to these vital services. We strongly encourage you to consider extending this provision before the end of this year, when existing access will end.


Thank you for your consideration of this important request. 


Sincerely,


98point6

Allergy & Asthma Network

Alliance for Connected Care

Alliance to Fight for Health Care

American Academy of PAs

American Benefits Council

American Pharmacists Association

American Portable Diagnostics Association

American Telemedicine Association

American Urological Association

Americans for Prosperity

America’s Health Insurance Plans

AMGA

Amwell 

Array Behavioral Care

Business Roundtable

Care Compass Network

Centerstone

CirrusMD

Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients

Corporate Health Care Coalition 

Cromford Health 

Doctor On Demand-Grand Rounds Health

eHealth Initiative

Employers Council for Flexible Compensation (ECFC)

Employers' Advanced Cooperative on Healthcare

ExamMed

EZaccessMD

First Stop Health, LLC

GenieMD, Inc.

Global Liver Institute

HCU Network America

Health Action Council

Health Innovation Alliance

Health Savings Account Council

Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Healthcare Leadership Council

HealthEquity, Inc.

HR Policy Association

Kohnlinq Inc. 

Kroger Health

Memphis Business Group on Health

Mend VIP, Inc.

Mercer

Midwest Business Group on Health

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

National Association of Health Underwriters

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

Noom

OCHIN

Onduo LLC

One Medical

Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage

Partnership to Advance Virtual Care

PCHAlliance

Pittsburgh Business Group on Health

Primary Care Development Corporation

Qure4u Health

REDC Consortium 

Rhode Island Business Group on Health

Silicon Valley Employers Forum

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition

Teladoc Health

The ERISA Industry Committee

Travere Therapeutics

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

United Leukodystrophy Foundation

Walmart