Update Regarding the End of the COVID-19 National Emergency & Outbreak Period
As detailed in our last Client Alert, the Biden Administration previously announced that the COVID-19 National Emergency would end on May 11, 2023, which would operate to end the Outbreak Period on July 10, 2023 (i.e., 60 days after the end of the National Emergency).
Despite these previously announced end dates, earlier this week, President Biden signed a bill that ended the National Emergency earlier than anticipated on April 10, 2023. Accordingly, the Outbreak Period will now end on June 9, 2023 (i.e., 60 days after the end of the National Emergency on April 10, 2023). As a result, any deadlines and time periods that were extended as a result of the Outbreak Period (e.g., the 60-day COBRA election window, the 30-day grace period to make COBRA premium payments, the 30-day HIPAA special enrollment window), will start to run again following the end of the Outbreak Period on June 9, 2023.
Below is an example of how the end of the Outbreak Period (now on June 9, 2023) will apply in a COBRA election context:
Employee is terminated and loses his coverage under the employer’s health plan. He receives his COBRA election notice on March 1, 2023. Under normal deadlines, he has 60 days to elect COBRA continuation coverage following receipt of his COBRA election notice. However, while the Outbreak Period is ongoing, his 60-day election period does not begin to run until the earlier of (1) one year after the date that the election period would have begun (i.e., March 1, 2024) or (2) the end of the Outbreak Period (i.e., June 9, 2023). In this case, the end of the Outbreak Period (on June 9, 2023) will come first, which means that Employee’s 60-day COBRA election period will begin to run on June 9, 2023, and Employee will have until August 8, 2023 (i.e., 60 days following the end of the Outbreak Period on June 9, 2023) to elect COBRA.
Notably, the early end of the National Emergency and Outbreak Period does not impact the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) (relating to the COVID-19 testing and vaccine mandate), which is still scheduled to end as announced on May 11, 2023 (as detailed in the linked Client Alert). There is separate legislation currently pending before Congress that, if enacted, would terminate the PHE immediately upon President Biden’s signature (which could be earlier than May 11, 2023); however, it has not yet been passed or signed into law. Maynard Nexsen is monitoring the status of this bill and will provide updates if the PHE’s end date changes.
If you have any questions or would like additional information about anything discussed in this Client Alert, please contact a member of the Maynard Nexsen’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice group.
This Client Alert is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information in this Client Alert is not intended to create and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
About Maynard Nexsen
Maynard Nexsen is a full-service law ﬁrm with more than 550 attorneys in 24 offices from coast to coast across the United States. Maynard Nexsen formed in 2023 when two successful, client-centered firms combined to form a powerful national team. Maynard Nexsen’s list of clients spans a wide range of industry sectors and includes both public and private companies.
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