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March 31, 2023
In January of this year, the White House announced that it intended to end the pandemic-related National Emergency and the separate Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023. However, Congress has just passed a resolution that ends the National Emergency immediately, and President Biden has stated he will sign the legislation. This change will mean employee benefit rules subject to the National Emergency will end a few weeks earlier than originally anticipated. The new legislation does not change the date for the end of the Public Health Emergency issued by the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS). HHS has not announced plans to change the end date for the Public Health Emergency from the previously declared May 11, 2023 date.
As a reminder, these two emergency declarations affect health plans in different ways:
Once President Biden signs the legislation ending the National Emergency, the 60-day clock determining the end of the Outbreak Period will begin running. Depending on the actual date the legislation is signed into law, the Outbreak Period will end sometime near the end of May 2023.
The DOL, HHS and Treasury also recently released FAQs clarifying how the end of the National Emergency will impact employee benefit related delayed deadlines. In short, for affected events that occurred less than 12 months before the end of the national emergency, participants will have their normal deadline imposed beginning the day after the end of the outbreak.
Stay tuned for additional guidance and details on National Emergency-related benefit changes as soon as the exact date of the end of the Outbreak Period is determined. Employers must also understand that issues related to the Public Health Emergency may still be subject to change effective with the original May 11, 2023 deadline announced by the Biden Administration unless HHS changes that timeframe.
The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.