Earlier this week, President Biden informed Congress that he plans to end the two COVID-19 national emergencies on May 11, 2023. From an employee benefits and COBRA perspective, this would mean that temporary extensions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic will also expire. The end of the national emergencies also would mean other changes regarding your healthcare costs. We’ve compiled a few things you need to know.
The end of the COVID-19 national emergency will end the extensions first announced in EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01, which provided qualified beneficiaries and COBRA members with more time to send certain notifications about COBRA coverage, to elect COBRA, and to make premium payments. The temporary extensions were retroactive to any deadline occurring March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the COVID-19 national emergency is declared over or until one year has passed, whichever occurred first.
You can learn more about the election period extension, grace period extension, and second qualifying event/disability notifications announced through that notice in this blog post.
FSAs and HRAs
EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 also granted a temporary extension to run-out periods for flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). The extension gives participants additional time to submit claims for any active plan year they are enrolled in that has a run-out period ending between March 1, 2020 and 60 days after the COVID-19 national emergency is declared over , whichever occurred first.
You can learn more about the FSA and HRA run-out extension in this blog post.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare enrollees in the most rural areas were the only ones who could use Medicare to cover telehealth appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in additional flexibility so all Medicare enrollees could, in many cases, receive coverage of telehealth costs as they would in-person appointments. The $1.7 trillion spending bill that President Biden signed into law in December 2022 included an additional two-year extension of these provisions, so Medicare telehealth coverage provisions will remain in place through 2024.
The $1.7 trillion spending bill also extended a provision that provided relief to health savings account (HSA) participants. HSA-qualifying health plans may continue to cover telehealth services on a pre-deductible basis through 2024. This flexibility was first provided as part of the 2020 CARES Act.
The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own legal counsel, tax and investment advisers.
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