For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) applauds the Administration’s action to provide relief for patients in qualified high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs), to ensure they can obtain testing and treatment for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The IRS has now made it clear that employer plans can cover both patients’ tests, and their treatments, for COVID-19. This is a major win for patients. Under previous IRS rules, it was unclear whether coverage of the tests was allowed in an HDHP, and abundantly clear that treatment for the condition could NOT be covered until a patient had paid their entire deductible,” said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President for Health Policy, ERIC. “This new guidance will enable employers to offer better coverage, help contain and defeat COVID-19, and provide superior care and affordability to our workers and their families. Thank you.”
ERIC wishes to acknowledge and thank the White House, Congressional leadership – especially Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), who took the lead on this issue – and IRS staff for the quick turnaround. Many employers only had a few days to make decisions in conjunction with their insurance carriers, and they are now empowered to be proactive.
“Employers can now get in front of this issue. We don’t need red tape and mandates to motivate us – protecting our workforce from COVID-19 is an incredibly compelling interest that outweighs other costs. However, there is more to be done. Congress should now step up to the plate and make these policies permanent. Further, we need relief on telehealth, so our workers can be offered free or discounted telehealth visits before they hit their deductibles. Congress should also consider requiring national reciprocity for provider licensure in telemedicine, to alleviate the sure-to-come bottlenecks in access to care. A simple, straightforward set of rules for telehealth could go a long way, too,” said Gelfand.