On Monday, January 30, 2023 the Biden Administration announced that both the National Health Emergency and the HHS Public Health Emergency will end on May 11, 2023. 

The news came in the form of a statement of administration policy typically issued in response to legislation dealing with emergency declarations. The statement reads: “The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1, 2023 and April 11, 2023, respectively. At present, the Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, 2023 and then end both emergencies on that date.”

As a refresher, the HHS public health emergency is separate from the COVID-19 national emergency. The public health emergency is declared and periodically renewed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The public health emergency requires that health plans cover COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, and any item, service, or immunization intended to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 – at 100% without member cost sharing.

The COVID-19 national emergency is declared by the President and requires that health plans disregard the statutory election periods for COBRA coverage and special enrollment periods, as well as claim filing and external review deadlines. This provided plan participants with extra time to make elections or submit claims without penalty or exclusion.

MedBen is reviewing how the termination of these COVID-19 related requirements will affect group health plans. Because of the way both declarations were originally implemented, termination of their requirements may be complicated. MedBen’s Compliance Department is reviewing these complexities and will issue a MedBen Monitor detailing the steps necessary to keep your plans compliant as these COVID-19 Emergency Declarations come to an end. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Caroline Fraker or Erin Kelly.