On February 18, 2022, President Biden formally extended the COVID-19 National Emergency that was set to expire on March 1, 2022. The national emergency was first declared by President Trump in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Biden announced the latest extension in a letter to Congress which was subsequently made public by the White House. The National Emergency is set for another full year unless the President announces an earlier termination. This extension affects health and welfare and retirement plan deadlines.
Until the end of the pandemic is announced, employees continue to have an additional year to meet certain deadlines. Specifically, for purposes of determining certain benefit deadlines, periods are disregarded until the earlier of (a) one year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency (the end of the Outbreak Period). The deadlines are determined on a person-by-person basis.
Deadlines for the following continue to be extended:
- COBRA election notice, enrollment, and payment
- COBRA notifications for divorce, legal separation, child aging out, or disability
- HIPAA special enrollment notifications for adoption or birth, placement for adoption, marriage, dependent loss of health coverage, or termination of Medicaid or CHIP, or eligibility for employment assistance under Medicaid or CHIP
- Claims procedure and appeals
- External review process (and perfecting a request for external review)
Employers should speak with their service providers and benefits attorneys to ensure that they will comply with tolling periods for this additional extension of the National Emergency.
Employers and service providers have been complying with these extended deadlines for two years. At this time, there is no indication of when the President will declare the end of the pandemic. Until such time, TRI-AD will continue to incorporate these deadline extensions and notifications into our operational processes. Once the end is announced, TRI-AD will provide additional compliance information and be ready to inform affected individuals of the new deadlines.
TRI-AD and our Associates’ suggestions or recommendations shall not constitute legal advice. No content on our website can be construed as tax or legal advice and TRI-AD may not be considered your legal counsel or tax advisor. Clients are encouraged to consult with their tax advisor and/or attorney to determine their legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities. This includes the interpretation of any statute or regulation, federal, state or local; and/or its application to the clients’ business activities.