Publish Date: May 20, 2023
Author: Seubert
Tags: Blog - SeubertU

End of COVID-19 National Emergency Impacts Health Plan Deadlines

On April 10, 2023, President Joe Biden signed a resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency. The Biden administration had previously announced a May 11, 2023, end date to both the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE). The PHE is still scheduled to end May 11, 2023.

Various employee benefit plan deadlines have been extended by disregarding an “outbreak period”. The outbreak period continues until 60 days after the end of the national emergency (or such other date as announced by the federal government).

Deadline extensions that apply during the outbreak period include the following:

  • HIPAA Special Enrollment—The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment.
  • Claims and Appeals—The deadline to file a benefits claim, file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination or request an external review under the plan’s claims and appeals procedures.
  • COBRA Notices and Premiums—The period for qualified beneficiaries to elect COBRA coverage and make COBRA premium payments, as well as the date for individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event or disability determination.

In a set of FAQs from March 29, 2023, federal agencies announced that the outbreak period will end on July 10, 2023 (60 days after May 11, 2023). Federal agencies have not adjusted this date for the early end to the national emergency.

Once the outbreak period ends, health plans can return to their non-extended deadlines. When the PHE ends, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. Health plans will still be required to cover recommended preventive services, including COVID-19 immunizations, without cost sharing, but this coverage requirement will be limited to in-network providers.

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