DelBene, Walberg, Craig, Estes, Sherrill, Allen Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Telehealth Benefits for American Workers
Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Ron Estes (KS-04), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), and Rick Allen (GA-12) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to employer-sponsored telehealth benefits.
The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act would allow employers to offer workers stand-alone telehealth benefits, similar to dental and vision plans, in addition to traditional health care plans. The bill would enable all workers, including part-time and seasonal workers, to access telehealth benefits. Under this legislation, stand-alone telehealth benefits would remain separate from traditional health care plans and would not serve as a replacement. Instead, this bill would fill a much-needed gap for certain members of the American workforce who lack affordable access to quality health care.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government put in place new health rules that allowed workers to access standalone telehealth services. But with President Biden’s announcement that the COVID-19 public health emergency will end on May 11, these benefits will stop without Congressional action.
“Even as businesses return to more in-person work, we should not turn our backs on successful telehealth programs that benefited workers in Washington state and across the country,” said DelBene. “Everyone – regardless of where they live – should be able to access quality care when and where they need it. The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act is an important step toward modernizing our health care system to ensure patients can connect with their health care providers from the comfort of their homes on their own schedule.”
“The pandemic revealed how telehealth is a critical tool to ensure that Americans can receive timely, quality, and affordable care from their own home,” said Walberg. “Expanding telehealth services will help ensure that Americans have improved access to health care, especially in underserved areas. Last Congress, I worked with Representative Jackie Walorski as she spearheaded Congressional efforts to expand telehealth coverage. Now, I thank my co-lead Rep. Suzan DelBene, along with the bill's original cosponsors Rep. Rick Allen, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Ron Estes, and Rep. Mikie Sherrill for their partnership working on this bipartisan legislation and their work advancing an aspect of Representative Walorski's robust legacy on Capitol Hill.”
In the 117th Congress, the legislation was supported by a wide variety of provider, employer, and advocacy groups.
The text of the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act is available here.