On January 11, 2023, the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency (PHE) was extended for 90 days. The PHE was scheduled to expire on April 11, 2023.
Update: On January 31, 2023, the Biden Administration announced their intent to end the Public Health Emergency on May 11.
Effects of the PHE Extension
With the extension, the temporary rule changes regarding COBRA, HIPAA, and group health plans (including FSAs and HSAs) continue. (Click here for more detailed information on these rule changes.)
The public health emergency extension also enables millions of Americans to continue receiving free vaccinations, testing, and certain treatments related to COVID-19. Further, the extension also continues the government’s temporary powers in areas such as the relaxation of Medicare and Medicaid coverage requirements.
In part a response to the anticipated winter surge in COVID cases, the extension also provides the government with more time to transition payment responsibility for COVID-related products and services provided at federal expense during the PHE.
Impact of the Omnibus Spending Bill
The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Biden on December 29 affected several relief measures that had been available during the PHE:
- States could not disenroll Medicaid recipients in exchange for an enhanced federal match. This requirement is phasing out as many recipients no longer meet income requirements.
- Enhanced food stamp benefits will scale back after February 2023.
- Starting in April 2023, states may begin processing Medicaid redeterminations, as many no longer qualify.
The federal government had extended the public health emergency every 90 days since its original declaration in 2020. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has committed to giving state governments and healthcare providers at least 60 days’ notice before lifting the PHE.
The above is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. Consult your third-party administrator (TPA) or qualified benefits counsel for more information.
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