How The End Of The COVID-19 Emergency Effects Your Benefits Strategy

On April 10, 2023, President Biden officially signed to end the COVID-19 Emergency. This takes us out 60 days to the end of the Outbreak Period which falls on June 9, 2023. The emergency protocols allowed extended time periods for HIPAA enrollment, COBRA continuation, payments, and appeals related to the Flexible Benefits Plans. With the emergency order ending, what are the implications for these programs?

COBRA Updates

With the Outbreak Period ending in June, COBRA participants have an additional 60 days before deadlines revert to federal guidelines, or August 8, 2023, to make all payments and elections. After that, all payments and elections will use the standard federal guidelines:

  • 30 days to elect special HIPAA enrollment
  • 60 days to elect
  • 45 days to pay a retroactive initial payment
  • 30 days grace period for monthly payments
  • 60 days to report disability
  • 14 days for plan sponsors to provide a COBRA election notice

Flexible Benefit Plans Updates

The following are the changes that will take place at the end of the COVID-19 Emergency:

  • The date within which individuals may file a benefits claim under a plan’s claims procedures.
  • The deadlines for requesting internal and external appeals for adverse benefits determinations.
  • Plan requirements for certain disclosure documents, such as Summaries of Material Modifications.

This also affects the temporary extension periods for Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. The extension provided additional time to submit claims for an active plan that has a run-out period ending between March 1, 2020, and June 9, 2023. This allows until August 8, 2023, to submit claims since it is 60 days beyond the end of the emergency.

Note: Plans with final filing dates of 3/31/2020 through 4/10/2022 would not be eligible for any filing extension as it would exceed the 365-day cap.

With so many changes coming up, it can be easy to get confused. If you need help with your benefits regarding the end of the COVID-19 emergency, don’t hesitate to call the team at Eli Advisors. We are happy to walk you through it!

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Eric Thieringer President
Eric Thieringer is president of Eli Advisors, an HR, payroll and employee benefits firm focused on serving small to mid-size organizations. Eli's services and support address the frustrating gaps that challenge employers and their employees. By solving these problems, Eli Advisors creates financially sustainable programs and services that help organizations attract, retain, and engage the talent needed to succeed.