WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) this week introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to ensure that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) used with health savings accounts (HSAs) can opt to cover care related to chronic disease management prior to a beneficiary reaching their plan deductible.
Recognizing the growing prevalence of HSA-eligible HDHPs, the Chronic Disease Management Act enables plans to offer coverage of high-value services to patients that can improve outcomes and reduce complications. The legislation creates a chronic disease prevention safe harbor, permitting the pre-deductible treatment of a medically complex condition that is substantially disabling, has a high risk of hospitalization, and requires specialized care.
“This bill is a win for patients and the health care system overall,” said Thune. “Importantly, it helps patients with chronic conditions access the care they need and expands the principles of value-based insurance design by promoting proper management of these conditions. Doing so will prevent the need for more costly treatments down the road.”
“Four in 10 Americans with health insurance have a high-deductible health care plan” said Carper. “This bill helps ensure those individuals with high-deductible plans can get better access to the basic care they need to stay as healthy as possible, without the fear of triggering their deductible.”
“We applaud the efforts of Senators Thune and Carper and Representatives Black and Blumenauer in authoring this critical legislation to ensure that patients with chronic illnesses have access to needed care and to help Americans get more health out of every health care dollar spent,” said Andrew MacPherson, co-chair of the Smarter Health Care Coalition. “We urge Congress to swiftly pass it.” The Smarter Health Care Coalition is made up of patient groups, employers, life science companies, health plans, and public sector purchasers.
In 2016, Thune and Carper pressed the U.S. Department of Treasury to improve the definition of the existing preventive care safe harbor in federal law to include preventive care related to chronic illness.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).