WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) today reintroduced the Chronic Disease Management Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) that are used with health savings accounts (HSAs) can opt to cover care related to chronic disease management prior to a beneficiary reaching their plan deductible. Thune and Carper also applauded the Trump administration’s recent executive order that would advance a similar policy through a federal regulatory process, an approach for which the senators have advocated for years based on existing authority.
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 preventive care safe harbor for treatment of chronic conditions.
“Diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic ailments can be debilitating for many people, but when managed properly, the result can benefit both the patient and the broader health care system, too,” said Thune. “By effectively managing these conditions, there’s less risk for additional and potentially costlier treatment in the future. This is a common-sense policy for patients with chronic illnesses, whether the results are achieved through existing executive branch authority or by the force of law. If it’s the former, I hope the administration will look to our legislation as a framework from which they could draft applicable regulations.”
“Four in 10 Americans with health insurance have a high-deductible health care plan,” said Carper. “This common sense, bipartisan bill will help to ensure those Americans with high-deductible plans can better access the basic care they need to stay as healthy as possible, without the fear of triggering their deductible. It’s a great example of how we can improve health care outcomes and, at the same time, save patients money. I look forward to working with all willing parties to advance this legislation to improve health outcomes for patients across the country.”
“We applaud the efforts of Senators Thune and Carper and Representatives Blumenauer and Reed 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 this bill.” The Smarter Health Care Coalition is made up of patient groups, employers, life science companies, health plans, and public sector purchasers.
Today’s executive order follows several years of Thune’s and Carper’s efforts to advance value-based insurance design for HSA-eligible HDHPs. 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. Similar legislation was introduced in 2018.