COVID National Emergency Now Ends on April 10, 2023
|April 13, 2023 |
On January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced that both the COVID Public Health Emergency and National Emergency would end on May 11, 2023. Despite this, President Biden signed a resolution ending the National Emergency effective as of April 10, 2023. As a result, employers will now have less time to react to the end of the National Emergency, but this does not mean that all COVID coverage mandates or extensions have ended.
What Is Ending?
The end of the National Emergency brings the end of the “Outbreak Period” that gives additional time for individuals to do the following:
-HIPAA/CHIPRA Special Enrollment – the 30-day deadline to request special enrollment following a loss of other group medical plan coverage; acquisition of a new dependent through marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption; or the 60-day deadline for eligibility for premium assistance through Medicaid or CHIP or termination. of Medicaid or CHIP coverage because of loss of eligibility.
-COBRA Notifications – the 60-day deadline for individuals to notify the plan of a COBRA-qualifying event or a second qualifying event (such as a divorce or a child losing eligibility as a dependent under the plan), or a Social Security Administration determination of disability.
-COBRA Elections – the 60-day deadline for electing COBRA continuation coverage and the 14-day deadline (or 44-day deadline for employers who are plan administrators) to provide a COBRA election notice to qualified beneficiaries.
-COBRA Premium Payments – the 45-day (initial) and 30-day (subsequent monthly) COBRA premium payment deadlines.
-Benefit Claims and Appeals – the plan deadlines for filing a claim for benefits and appealing an adverse benefit determination.
-External Review – the deadline for requesting an external review of a final determination on appeal (when required by the Affordable Care Act or other applicable law).
The DOL provided that the above deadlines would continue to be tolled, or remain disregarded, through the earlier of:
-One year from the date the individual was first entitled to the extension relief (i.e., a date on or after March 1, 2020).
-60 days after the end of the Covid-19 National Emergency (i.e., the end of the Outbreak Period). (June 9. 2023)
When it was previously provided that the National Emergency would end on May 11, 2023 that meant that the Outbreak period would end on July 10, 2023. With the announcement on April 10, 2023, the Outbreak period is now ending on June 9, 2023.
What’s Not Ending?
This early termination of the National Emergency does not end the requirement for plans to cover COVID-19 testing and vaccines, both in- and out-of-network, without cost sharing or any preauthorization or medical management techniques because those were covered by the Public Health Emergency. Those will remain in effect through May 11 2023, if no additional action is taken by the Secretary of HHS.
What’s a Plan Sponsor to do?
With the National Emergency ending early, it will complicate communication efforts plans for employers because of the two separate deadlines. Employers will have to now decide whether to send a single communication covering all aspects of both the Public Health Emergency and National Emergency or to send separate communications for the end of these extended timeframes.
For a copy of the resolution, click on the link below: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-joint-resolution/7/text