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IRS, Other Agencies Issue COVID-19 FAQs in Response to Impending End of Public Health Emergency

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Apr 19, 2023

With the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency scheduled to end on May 11, the IRS, along with the U.S. departments of Labor (DOL) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have jointly issued frequently asked questions about how coverage and payment requirements will change after that date.

The FAQs address issues related to the Affordable Care Act Implementation, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Implementation Part 58 and Affordable Care Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Implementation Part 59.

The FAQs added Parts 58 and 59 to detail how coverage and payment requirements under the FFCRA and the CARES Act will change. Under both laws, plans and issuers are not required to cover for items and services related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided after the end of the Public Health Emergency, Accounting Today reported. If they provide such coverage, they may impose cost-sharing requirements, prior authorization or other medical management requirements for the items and services.

Part 58 also addresses questions about rapid coverage of preventive services and vaccines for COVID-19, stating that “plans and issuers are required to provide coverage for COVID-19 vaccines and their administration after the end of the PHE.” It also extends certain time frames for employee benefit plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the tax code, and participants and beneficiaries affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It also addresses special enrollment in group health plan and group or individual health insurance coverage after loss of eligibility for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage or after becoming eligible for premium assistance under Medicaid or CHIP; and benefits for COVID-19 testing and treatment and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)/High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).

Part 59 answers questions about coverage of preventive services; high deductible health plans and safe harbor for preventive care; rapid coverage of preventive services and vaccines for coronavirus; and the federal employees health benefits program.

Previously issued FAQs are available on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Fact Sheets & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage.

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