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When the Internal Revenue Service decided in 2019 to include more preventive services in the list of covered services for HSA health plans, the move was hailed as a step in the direction of better health outcomes for plan members. The theory: by encouraging plan members to use preventive services not just for general health but to address chronic conditions, more would take advantage of the “free” services and health outcomes would improve.

The Employee Benefits Research Institute has released a new study that examines payment trends among employer-sponsored health plans. By moving certain chronic condition treatments and medications to the covered list, the IRS gave employers the opportunity to offer more free-to-plan-member services. But it did remove those same health measures from the list of services for which employers could require copays or coinsurance.

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