On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed a resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency that had been in place since 2020, and on May 11, 2023, the public health emergency officially ended.
As both emergencies end, assessing how it affects your business and staff is important. This means staying informed about any modifications made at both state and national levels. However, it’s also worth noting that certain changes may not take effect immediately, as the outbreak period will persist until July 10, 2023.
With the conclusion of the public health emergency, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. However, they must continue to cover recommended preventive services, such as COVID-19 vaccinations, at no cost if received from in-network providers.
Action Steps Employers Should Take
Review your current policies and procedures and determine which ones were implemented due to the nationwide health crisis. These may include COVID-19 benefits, vaccination and testing mandates, safety protocols, paid time off, and other employment policies. Then assess whether any modifications are necessary and adjust your policies and procedures accordingly.
Let Employees Know
To ensure transparency and fairness, informing participants and beneficiaries of any changes to their health plan, employee benefits, or company policies before implementing them is essential. This is where it is beneficial to have a clear communication strategy, making it easy to inform staff of any adjustments to policies, benefits coverage, or time off.
During the national emergency, people were given extra time to complete essential tasks like choosing COBRA coverage. These deadlines have been extended until July 10, 2023, but there hasn't been any official announcement about when the extensions will end. Some of the important deadlines that were extended during the outbreak period include:
HIPAA time frames—The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment.
COBRA time frames—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.
Claims procedure time frames—The date to file a benefits claim or an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims procedure.
External review process time frames—The date claimants may request an external review following an adverse or final internal adverse benefit determination.
Some individuals currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP coverage may become ineligible as many states are ending "continuous enrollment" and returning to eligibility determinations for Medicaid coverage. This may result in certain employees or their dependents losing coverage. It will be helpful to inform affected employees of their special enrollment rights in the group health plan. You may even consider modifying your plans to allow more time for individuals to exercise their special enrollment rights, ensuring they can maintain health coverage.
This information is distributed with the understanding that CBIZ is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice. The reader is advised to contact a professional before taking action based on this information. CBIZ assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with the use of this information and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.
- FAQs about Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Implementation
- Prior guidance on what the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency means for health benefits