American Health Policy Institute
News

HR Policy to Congress: Pass Bipartisan Mental Health and Telehealth Legislation to Improve Access

HR Policy joined employer groups in a letter urging Congress to include bipartisan mental health and telehealth legislation in its year-end package. Specifically, the letter called on Congress to pass the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-being Act (H.R. 7666) and provisions which extend the flexibilities for Health Savings Account (HSA) eligible high-deductible health plans to offer pre-deductible telehealth services. The letter argues these changes will greatly improve access to high-quality, affordable behavioral health care for employees. 

Mental health provider shortages exacerbate an already troubling mental health crisis in the U.S., with over half of adults (54.7%) with mental illness reporting they do not receive any treatment. The letter states that while employers have taken many steps to improve mental health access for their employees in areas where there are mental health “deserts,” expanded access “cannot be realized if flexibility for pre-deductible telehealth coverage expires and state barriers to telehealth remain.”

The letter urges Congress to enact policies that “strengthen the mental health provider workforce; leverage telehealth; increase integration, coordination, and access to care; and promote the use of evidence-based care by behavioral health providers. Doing so will better enable employers to lead the way in improving access to quality, affordable behavioral care.” 

Outlook: The current telehealth flexibilities are set to expire on December 31. Without an extension, high-deductible health plans will no longer be able to offer pre-deductible telehealth visits. Some Democrats have been hesitant to enact provisions they see as aiding high-deductible health plans; however, given the popularity of telehealth among Americans, telehealth expansion generally has bipartisan support.

Margaret Faso

Director of Health Care Research and Policy, American Health Policy Institute and HR Policy Association

Detailed Bio

Contact Margaret Faso LinkedIn

MORE NEWS STORIES

End of Covid Public Health Emergency Could Increase Costs for Employers
COVID-19 Employer Issues

End of Covid Public Health Emergency Could Increase Costs for Employers

February 03, 2023 | News
Senate Committee Leadership Poised to Focus on Health Care
Employment Law

Senate Committee Leadership Poised to Focus on Health Care

February 03, 2023 | News
HRPA Highlights Priorities to 118th Congress
Employee Wellbeing

HRPA Highlights Priorities to 118th Congress

January 27, 2023 | News