Congress Passes End-of-Year Omnibus That Includes NABIP-Supported Provisions

Congress passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus package at the end of December. The massive spending package included two major NABIP-supported provisions regarding telehealth and long-term care.

Individuals will now be able to use existing retirement accounts to pay for long-term insurance. More specifically, the provision will permit individuals to pay up to $2,500 each year for long-term care insurance with their 401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs without a 10-percent early withdrawal penalty tax.

The package also included a two-year extension of telehealth-related regulatory flexibilities put in place during the pandemic. In 2021, the CARES Act provided temporary relief during the pandemic by allowing HSA-qualified high-deductible health plans to cover telehealth services before reaching the deductible. It also allowed patients to choose and purchase telehealth services outside their HDHP without impacting their eligibility for an HSA. Prior to the omnibus bill’s passage, these flexibilities were set to expire at the end of 2022. Now these waivers will remain in place through December 31, 2024.

Another significant health-policy item included in the bill was a bipartisan deal to end the Medicaid policy that provided states with additional funding and barred them from kicking people off federally funded insurance. The omnibus bill set a new end date of April 1, 2023, instead of the original July 1, 2023. This date change will have an impact on what has been dubbed the “Medicaid unwinding,” when nearly 85 million people enrolled in Medicaid will have their eligibility redetermined at the end of the public health emergency, triggering a high risk of coverage loss of eligible individuals.

In addition, the omnibus bill included $1.5 billion in state grants for substance abuse prevention and treatment and several key investments to expand access to mental health, including grants for maternal mental health, the Community Health Service Block Grants and the Substance Use and Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Block Grants.

Source: National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals