On Monday, April 10, President Biden signed a resolution that immediately terminated the national emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For employers, the end to the national emergency means that group health plans will no longer be required to allow extended time for special enrollment following certain qualifying events, like losing coverage or having a child. Typically, employees who wished to enroll in an employer-based plan following one of these events had 30 days to do so, the national emergency extended that time limit to one year. Also ending are the COBRA-related reliefs, under which employees were allowed extra time to pay their COBRA premiums or to decide whether they wanted to use the coverage. As of June 9, sixty days after the end of the national emergency, these deadlines revert back to their pre-pandemic norms.
While the signing of the legislation immediately ends the national emergency, the public health emergency (PHE) remains in effect, until May 11. The PHE, mandated that health insurance plans fully cover COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccinations. Once the PHE ends, that requirement changes, meaning medical plans, including employer sponsored plans, do not have to pay for the COVID-19 testing or vaccinations.
The end of both of these federal emergencies does NOT affect, at this time, the NYS Paid Covid Leave Law. Employees may be eligible for paid leave, up to a maximum of three times, for testing positive for COVID-19.
Employers with questions about this leave should reach out to PMP for assistance. PMP is monitoring this leave and will provide updates if the situation changes.