On January 31, 2020, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency (PHE) in the United States. The President declared a national emergency (NE) on March 13, 2020. Both emergencies resulted from the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
An NE can only be ended by the President or by an act of Congress. The House of Representatives issued H.J. Res. 7 on January 9, 2023, calling for the end of the NE. On January 30, 2023, the President stated his plan to end the NE would be May 11, 2023, and expected the secretary of HHS to end the PHE on the same date.
On March 30, 2023, H.J. Res. 7 was agreed to in the Senate. With both parties of Congress in agreement, the resolution is sent to the President for signature. Although the President opposed H.J. Res. 7, he signed the joint resolution on April 10, 2023, establishing the NE’s end date. HHS has provided notice of the intention to end the PHE on May 11, 2023, with a publication in the federal register. The 60-day transition period for the NE begins April 11, 2023.
The quickly approaching end of the emergency will require plan sponsors to act quickly to make decisions on changes in coverage from the PHE regarding COVID-19 testing and related services and out-of-network vaccines. The end of the NE provides a 60-day transition period (i.e., end date plus 60 days) to resume timelines for COBRA continuation, HIPAA special enrollment requests, claims processing, and appeals.
Read more on the End of COVID-19 Emergencies Chart.