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DelBene, Walorski, Walberg, Craig Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Telehealth Benefits for American Workers

The Telehealth Benefit Expansion Act Would Empower Job Creators to Offer Stand-Alone Telehealth Care Plans to All Employees

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Tim Walberg (MI-07), and Angie Craig (MN-01) introduced the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand Americans’ access to employer-sponsored health benefits by classifying telehealth as an excepted benefit.

The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act 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 and the Affordable Care Act 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.

“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,” said DelBene. “Even with many businesses returning to in-person work, we shouldn't be turning our backs on the benefits of telehealth. We're introducing the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act so workers can continue receiving this care from the comfort of their homes and on their own schedule.”

“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,” said Walorski. “I thank Reps. Suzan DelBene, Tim Walberg, and Angie Craig for their partnership in advancing bipartisan solutions to support American workers and build a brighter future.”

“Throughout the pandemic, telehealth has proven to be a vital tool for Americans to receive timely and quality care from their own home. For rural communities in particular, telemedicine has helped remove barriers to care, expand access to specialists, and improve health outcomes,” said Walberg. “I am pleased to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation to protect telehealth benefits for the workers who need them most.”

“The COVID-19 public health emergency reinforced the importance of widespread access to telehealth services for millions of Americans – especially those living in rural and underserved communities. Over the past two years, patients and providers alike have come to the conclusion that the benefits of this new and growing service are simply irreplaceable,” said Craig. “I’m proud to help lead this bill to expand employer-sponsored telehealth benefits for American workers – and thankful to my colleagues for their cooperation on this critical issue.”

You can read the full text of the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act here