Reps. Introduce Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act Leave a comment

According to a March 31 press release, U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) introduced the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act of 2022. The act is bipartisan legislation that aims to increase Americans’ access to employer-sponsored health benefits by classifying telehealth as an excepted benefit.

The release states that “The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act of 2022 would allow job creators to offer a stand-alone telehealth service program, similar to dental and visions plans, in addition to traditional health care plans. It would amend the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to allow all employees – including part-time and seasonal workers – to receive this excepted benefit. Under the legislation, any stand-alone telehealth service would remain separate from traditional medical plans and would not serve as a replacement.”

Walorski was quoted in the release saying that “As Americans experienced during the pandemic, telehealth can open doors to quality and affordable health care. The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act will allow job creators to expand access to telehealth benefits for all workers, including part-time and seasonal employees, to ensure access to this important resource.”

“COVID-19 put a new emphasis on telehealth and showed how impactful and convenient it can be for working families to get care similar to an in-office nurses’ station. Over the past two years, many employers have begun offering these telehealth services to their workforce,” DelBene adds.

The full text of the act can be accessed here.

Access to telehealth is a hot button issue. We reported last month that 72 organizations asked the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) via a letter to permanently waive the requirement that patients receive an in-person evaluation before being prescribed controlled substances via telemedicine.

Additionally, we reported in January that the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), announced via a press release that it has launched ATA Action, its new affiliated trade organization focused on ensuring individuals have permanent access to telehealth services across the care continuum. And in February, we reported that more than 300 organizations sent a letter to Congress urging permanent telehealth reform after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the organizations say that renewing every 90 days causes uncertainty for the nation’s healthcare system.


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