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Biden Ends COVID-19 National Emergency Immediately

Legislation signed by President Biden on April 10, ends the COVID-19 National Emergency immediately; one month earlier than anticipated. The end of the National Emergency ends many temporary rules and compliance responsibilities for plan sponsors, insurance carriers, and others that were put into place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has informally announced that despite the statutory end of the Nation Emergency being 30 days earlier than expected, to avoid potential confusion and changes to administrative processes already in progress, the deadline of July 10, 2023 will remain the relevant date for the end of the COVID Outbreak Period.

FAQs released on March 29, 2023, by the DOL, Treasury, and HHS provided the Outbreak Period generally continues until 60 days after the announced end of the COVID National Emergency or another date announced by the DOL, Treasury Department, and the IRS.

The legislation does not impact the Public Health Emergency, which is set to end on May 11, 2023. The end of the Public Health Emergency will end COVID relief legislation that required group health plans and insurers to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements during the Public Health Emergency. Non-grandfathered plans were also required to cover COVID-19 vaccines without cost-sharing and on an expedited basis.

The early end of the National Emergencies brings yet another change to the administrative procedures adopted during the pandemic. For administrative ease, plan sponsors may decide to extend these suspended deadlines to a date that is later than the Administration’s announced end. Employers should begin to prepare for the end of this emergency, and also the Public Health Emergency, now by having conversations with internal team, health insurance carriers, TPAs, and trusted advisors.

If you have questions about what the end of these emergencies mean for your health plan, contact your OneDigital consultant.