The last three years have been increasingly challenging for the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To combat the situation’s effects, two legal emergencies were put in place:
- the National Emergency (NE)
- the Public Health Emergency (PHE)
Both President Trump and Biden periodically renewed the NE, which began March 1, 2020, while PHE originated from The United States Department of Health and Human Services in March 2020 and renewed every three months since then.
The NE and PHE had multiple impacts on employee benefit plans through a combination of legislation, agency action, and guidance. The legal adjustments included temporary suspension of certain legal deadlines, mandatory coverage of particular COVID-19 related products and services and the relaxing of certain legal rules that indirectly impacted employers’ plans.
However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: these emergencies are both scheduled to end in Spring 2023. While some of the legal adjustments will end immediately after the emergencies, others will take a bit longer to go into effect.
It’s essential to understand what changes will continue to impact employer benefit plans and what you should do. Our article is an effort to catalog the most significant changes and provide practical steps employers can take in response.