Compliance News | October 6, 2020

Another National Public Health Emergency Extension

The federal government has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for an additional 90 days, until January 21, 2021.

This is the third extension of the emergency, which the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services initially declared on January 31, 2020 (retroactive to January 27, 2020). The secretary could terminate the public health emergency earlier than January 21, 2021 or extend it again.

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This public emergency declaration is important to health plan sponsors because it determines the period of time during which group health plans and insurers must pay for COVID-19 tests and related services without charging cost sharing.

Other plan requirements, most notably the requirement to extend certain deadlines related to COBRA, special enrollment, and claims and appeals, are pegged to a different COVID-19 emergency declaration — the national emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020, retroactive to March 1, 2020. That emergency declaration does not expire automatically.

Have questions about how the emergency declarations affect your health plan?

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.

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