- The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration and the COVID-19 National Emergency declaration will end on May 11, 2023.
- The Outbreak Period will end on July 10, 2023, with previously extended deadlines being restored to their original time periods.
- As we approach the end of the Outbreak Period, Flores will send additional communication with more information on how the restored deadlines impact our employer clients and their plans.
- We will provide an initial look at the effects of the end of the Outbreak Period on COBRA during our upcoming webinar, COBRA Qualifying Events and Timeframes, Including Post-COVID Updates, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM EDT.
Broker and Client Actions:
- For COBRA clients, register for our upcoming COBRA webinar.
Await additional information from Flores regarding the impact of the Outbreak Period ending effective July 10, 2023.
Charlotte, NC – March 10, 2023 – On January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced that it will end both the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration (first declared by the Department of Health and Human Services as of January 27, 2020) and the COVID-19 National Emergency declaration (first declared on March 13, 2020) on May 11, 2023.
As you know, our pandemic-related communications have focused primarily on the guidance applicable to ERISA-governed employee benefit plans and the deadline-related relief provided in response to the COVID-19 National Emergency. These relief provisions required group health plans to extend or toll the following deadlines:
- the 30-day (or 60-day) period to request special enrollment under HIPAA
- the 60-day period to elect COBRA continuation coverage
- the 45-day period to make the first COBRA premium payment
- the 30-day grace period for making ongoing COBRA premium payments
- the 60-day period for notifying the plan of (i) a COBRA qualifying event or second qualifying event (i.e., divorce or legal separation, a dependent child ceasing to be a dependent, death or Medicare entitlement), or (ii) a disability determination by the Social Security Administration
- the deadline for filing a claim under the plan’s claims procedures (which, in turn, extends the run-out period)
- the deadline for filing an appeal for a denied claim under the plan’s claims procedures (which, in turn, extends the run-out period)
In their initial guidance, the applicable regulatory agencies specified that the deadline-related relief provisions were to be in effect throughout the “Outbreak Period” – the period from March 1, 2020 (the official beginning date of the National Emergency), until 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency. The Agencies later clarified that the deadline-related relief was required to be applied on an individual-by-individual basis, and that the applicable deadline could not be extended for period of more than one year. Thus, a particular individual’s period of relief ends on the earlier of (a) one year from the original deadline, or (b) the end of the Outbreak Period.
With the National Emergency ending on May 11, 2023, we now know that the Outbreak Period will end on July 10, 2023, with deadlines being restored to their original time periods. The advance notice afforded by the recent announcement provides us with time to assist you in returning to your pre-COVID-19 plan operations. As we get closer to the end of the Outbreak Period, we will send additional communication with more information on how the restored deadlines impact our employer clients and their plans. For an initial look at the effects of the end of the Outbreak Period on COBRA, you may register for our upcoming webinar, COBRA Qualifying Events and Timeframes, Including Post-COVID Updates, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM EDT.