Temporary Reinstatement of Relief for Telemedicine Coverage in HDHPs

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 (“CAA 2022”), signed by President Biden on March 15, 2022, reinstated temporary relief for high deductible health plans (“HDHPs”) to provide pre-deductible coverage of telehealth services from April 1 through December 31, 2022, without impacting HDHP participants’ eligibility to contribute to their health savings accounts (“HSAs”).

In general, HDHP coverage of telehealth services at no or low cost before the participant satisfies the minimum HDHP deductible (in 2022, $1,400 for single-only coverage and $2,800 for family coverage) would cause HDHP participants to become ineligible to make HSA contributions.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) temporarily permitted HDHP coverage of “telehealth and other remote care services” at no cost prior to satisfaction of the minimum HDHP deductible, without impacting participants’ HSA eligibility. The CARES Act’s temporary relief expired for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

The CAA 2022 temporarily reinstated the relief provided under the CARES Act from April 1, through December 31, 2022. This additional relief applies on a prospective basis only.

This means that for HDHPs with plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, this temporary relief generally does not apply to telehealth services that occurred from January 1 through March 31, 2022, and such telemedicine visits must be subject to the HDHP minimum deductible. Plan sponsors are permitted but not required to adopt this temporary relief.

This relief for telehealth services is separate from the tax rules that permit HDHPs to provide coverage for preventive care, as well as for diagnostic testing and treatment of COVID-19, before the applicable HDHP minimum deductible is satisfied without adversely impacting participants’ HSA eligibility. Please keep in mind that telehealth services for COVID-19 diagnostic services must continue to be covered without cost-sharing for the duration of the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of HHS as discussed here.

Contact your Faegre Drinker benefits counsel to discuss how this temporary relief impacts administration of your HDHP.

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