Archived Insight | July 30, 2020

HHS Extends National Public Health Emergency

The federal government has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for an additional 90 days, until October 23, 2020. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services initially declared the emergency on January 31, 2020 (retroactive to January 27, 2020). The public health emergency was extended in April for an additional 90 days (until July 25, 2020). The latest 90-day extension is the second such extension. Unless the secretary terminates the public health emergency earlier or extends it again, it will end on October 23, 2020.

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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.

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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.