DOL Offers Post-COVID Guidance For Employer Health Plans

What does the end of the COVID public health emergency on May 11 mean for health benefits?

The expiration of COVID-19 era public health benefits, including COVID-19 coverage mandates for health insurance and the suspension of Medicaid dis-enrollments, means many workers and employers need to reorient themselves in the health care marketplace. Now, the U.S. Department of Labor has released a blog by Lisa M. Gomez, the Assistant Secretary to the Employee Benefits Security Administration, offering tips on how experts can adapt to the new landscape.

Gomez identifies key changes coming to the marketplace, which are:

  • COVID tests, vaccines: Employers will no longer be required to provide certain COVID-19 coverage to employees free of charge, including testing and out-of-network COVID vaccines.
  • Medicaid: With Medicaid dis-enrollments restarting, some employees who are currently covered under Medicaid or CHIP may have already become uninsured March 31, 2023 and need to join their employer’s health plan. Many states are beginning to unwind this continuous enrollment and some state agencies have not terminated coverage for any beneficiary who was covered at any time on or after March 18, 2020. The DOL has also developed a flyer that employers can use to provide employees with information about these options.
  • COBRA: Multiple deadlines have been suspended or extended during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the deadlines for enrolling in COBRA and paying COBRA premiums. These extensions will end July 10, 2023.

“I urge employers and other plan sponsors to keep in mind the best interests of their workers and their families, who rely on their health benefits for their physical and mental wellbeing,” Gomez writes in the blog. “It is critical to communicate with your participants as we enter the next chapter of the COVID-19 experience. What health benefits are changing? When? Can they still receive free COVID-19 tests? If not, what will the new benefits be? What are the new deadlines by which participants and their families need to make key health decisions? These are all important questions for workers and their families.”

She adds, “We need to work together to ensure that individuals in your health plan are informed about changes to their benefits and continue to have access to COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and treatment, when at all possible.”


Source Link

Recommended Articles

AI in Healthcare: Calls for Stricter Standards Amid OpenAI Leadership Shuffle

Recent disruptions in OpenAI’s top brass have sparked intense dialogue within the healthcare sector, emphasizing the urgent need for robust standards governing the implementation of generative AI technologies. With Microsoft recruiting former OpenAI executives Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, concerns are growing that few corporations may soon dictate the trajectory of healthcare AI, potentially molding ...

Read More

2024 FSA, HSA, and HDHP Plan Limits

A health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows eligible employees to save pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses. Employees can elect a specific dollar amount, up to a certain limit, to set aside annually.

Read More

Proposals On PBMs And Medical Devices Advanced By House Subcommittee

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce health subcommittee pushed forward 21 proposals on Tuesday, some of which will restrict the power of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Democrats supported many of the proposals put forward by Republicans, including legislation reining in PBMs that had support from 60 organizations representing patients, providers, pharmacists, small businesses and ...

Read More

CMS Tightening Network Adequacy Standards For Exchange Plans

Beginning in 2025, health plans sold in state-run insurance exchanges would be required to meet time and distance standards that are at least as adequate as mandated on federal marketplaces, according to a rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday. Time and distance standards would be calculated at the ...

Read More