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April 2023: Biden Ends COVID-19 National Emergency

27 Apr

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Update Applicable to:
All employers.

What happened?
On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed H.J. Res. 7, ending the COVID-19 National Emergency on that same day.

What are the details?
Although H.J. Res. 7 ended the COVID-19 National Emergency on April 10, 2023, it did not also accelerate the end date of the nationwide Public Health Emergency, which, as of now, is still May 11, 2023. However, this date may be accelerated if the U.S. Senate were to approve and the President were to sign a U.S. House-approved bill, H.R. 382, the “Pandemic Is Over Act.”

On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a set of FAQs, which among other things, described how specific normal timelines under COBRA, HIPAA, and ERISA would resume under employee welfare benefits and retirement plans immediately after the anticipated July 10, 2023, end-date of the COVID-19 Outbreak Period (July 30, 2023, being the 60th day after the then-anticipated May 11, 2023, end-date of the COVID-19 National Emergency).

According to some employee benefits commentators, sources within DOL have stated informally that the DOL presently intends to stick with its previous FAQs guidance and continue to toll COBRA, HIPAA, and ERISA deadlines during a COVID-19 Outbreak Period ending on July 10, 2023, with normal deadlines resuming on July 11, 2023, despite H.J. Res. 7’s acceleration of the end-date of the COVID-19 National Emergency to April 10, 2023, from May 11, 2023. All we can say at this point is that formal clarifying guidance from the DOL would be most welcome.

For more information, please see the links below:

H.R. 382

DOL FAQs

Article 1 – Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and continue to do their best to protect their employees.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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