On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden administration released a statement announcing that it plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and national emergency on May 11, 2023. By ending the COVID-19 emergency periods, the White House is signaling that the crisis stage of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Timeline for Ending COVID-19 Emergency Periods
The COVID-19 PHE and national emergency were declared in early 2020 and are currently set to expire on March 1, 2023, and April 11, 2023, respectively. The Biden administration intends to extend the emergency periods until May 11, 2023, and then end both periods on that date. According to the White House, this timeline supports an orderly wind-down of emergency measures and aligns with its commitment to give at least 60 days’ notice before the termination of the PHE.
Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed legislation, such as H.R. 382, that would immediately end the PHE and national emergency. The Biden administration opposes these bills, stating that an abrupt end to the emergency declarations would “create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.”
Impact on Health Plan Coverage
The end of the COVID-19 emergency periods triggers the end of numerous emergency measures related to the federal government’s pandemic response, including some requirements for employer-sponsored health plans. For example, when the PHE ends, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. Non-grandfathered health plans will still be required to cover recommended preventive services, including COVID-19 immunizations, without cost sharing; however, this coverage requirement will be limited to in-network providers.
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