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Temporary Relief for Telemedicine/High Deductible Health Plans Through the Passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022

On March 15, 2022, President Biden officially signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (“the Act”), a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill includes a section to provide temporary relief to high deductible health plans(HDHPs) regarding the ability to continue utilizing telemedicine and other remote medical services, before meeting their plan’s minimum deductible and without imposing any restrictions affecting health savings account (HSA) eligibility.

Such relief was once provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). However, said exemptions only applied to plans with their benefit year beginning on or before December 31, 2021. The passage of this Act aims to reinstate the decision that telemedicine or virtual care services will be considered “disregarded coverage,” which would allow for an individual to be able to contribute to an HSA from March 31, 2022, through December 31, 2022. This comes as a welcomed change as previous legislation dictated that HDHP coverage of telehealth services prior to the participant satisfying their minimum HDHP deductible, would cause plan participants to become ineligible to make HSA contributions. Unfortunately, for those plans with a benefit year based on the calendar period, as the Act remains silent regarding the exemption for the first few months of 2022, and is currently unclear whether the minimum deductible for any telemedicine services rendered would be applicable.

Next Steps for Employers

In order to ensure continued compliance with their benefits plans as a result of these recent legislation changes, employers are highly encouraged to speak with their insurance carrier to ensure their plans properly account for the allowed temporary exemption and determine if any plan changes/notices requirements need to occur.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.