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Exclusive: Bipartisan bill would expand telehealth

Mar 28, 2023
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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A bipartisan group of six lawmakers is introducing the bicameral "Telehealth Expansion Act" Tuesday morning, which would allow people with Health Savings Accounts and high-deductible health plans to access telehealth services permanently without having to meet their minimum deductible first.

Why it matters: Telehealth seems to be one of the few areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats on health care, and this bill signifies how some COVID-era flexibilities could have bipartisan favor in becoming permanent.

  • The sponsors include Reps. Michelle Steel, Susie Lee, Adrian Smith and Brad Schneider and Sens. Steve Daines and Catherine Cortez Masto.

How it works: The bill would write the telehealth flexibility into law by making permanent a waiver that was first established in the CARES Act in March 2020.

  • An extension of the waiver was included in the most recent end-of-year omnibus bill, along with other telehealth extension provisions. These extensions currently expire at the end of 2024.

The details: This bill would particularly help those with high-deductible health plans, and it's also favored by several big industries including telehealth, health insurance providers and employer-sponsored plans.

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