via Cara Smith of Inside Health Policy:

Some health care policy experts are sounding the alarm that allowing standalone telehealth plans may simply be a shortcut for employers to cut rising health care costs while subverting Affordable Care Act consumer protections, but telehealth proponents tout the policy as simply a way to complement not replace more-expansive health insurance benefits. The debate has been muddied by confusion over how the bill’s “excepted benefits” policy differs from a narrower pandemic waiver that allowed some workers to get standalone telehealth plans that mimicked excepted benefits.

The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act would add telehealth as an excepted benefit to the “menu” of health care options for all employees, not just those who do not qualify for major medical insurance plans as was the case under an expired pandemic telehealth flexibility. The legislation has been passed by the House Education & the Workforce committee and will be taken up by E&C Thursday (July 13).