By Ashley Snodgrass, Employee Benefits Analyst
The end of COVID has been up for debate. Some people feel as though the pandemic was over when the mask mandates went away, while others think the pandemic ended as soon as vaccines were available. And then there are some super rosy people who say the pandemic will never be over! What is the truth?
One way to look at the end of COVID-19 is to recall the start of the pandemic. On January 31, 2020, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, declared a public health emergency due to confirmed cases in the United States of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This official order stated the public health emergency has existed since January 27, 2020. After a long and interesting three years, the Biden Administration is ready to end the public health emergency on May 11, 2023. Even though life has resumed some semblance of a “new normal” for many people, the end of this public health emergency will still have some meaningful impacts for health plans.
For example, health plans will no longer have to cover COVID-19 testing with no member cost sharing. Also, health plans will only be required to cover in-network COVID-19 vaccines, similar to other preventive services requirements. Health plans that offer COBRA coverage must ensure that regular deadlines resume too – such as the 60-day election period for COBRA.
I would recommend that you review this handy document from Zywave for a detailed account of all the changes that will be triggered by the end of the public health emergency. Don’t let these end-of-pandemic changes catch you as off guard as the start of the pandemic.
For questions about what this could mean for your organization, please contact your RISQ Employee Benefits Consultants or Account Executive, or firstname.lastname@example.org.