COVID-19 outbreak extensions

Friday, May 22, 2020

Important Notice: Extension of certain timeframes for members and beneficiaries affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Federal agencies have announced an extension for a number of deadlines so plan participants and beneficiaries have additional time to make critical health coverage and other decisions affecting benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, effective March 1, 2020, participants and beneficiaries of health and welfare and retirement plans are provided with additional time to meet the following deadlines:

  1. The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
  2.  The 60-day election period for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage;
  3. The date for making COBRA premium payments;
  4. The date for individuals to notify the plan of a COBRA qualifying event or determination of disability;
  5. The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan’s claims procedure;
  6. The date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims procedure;
  7. The date within which claimants may file a request for an external review after receipt of an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination; and
  8. The date within which a claimant may file information to perfect a request for external review upon a finding that the request was not complete.

The Federal agencies have stated that the extension of time for the above will last from March 1, 2020 until the earlier of: (1) sixty (60) days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency or such other date announced by the agencies in a future notice or (2) March 1, 2021.

So even though the enclosed document states that you must act within a certain period of time, the relief provided by the Federal agencies has actually extended the time period. Nonetheless, since the duration of the extension is currently unknown, we strongly encourage you to comply with the timeframes set forth in the enclosed document so that you do not inadvertently exceed the time extension. Please note, COBRA coverage will not be provided until payment is received for the entire period of coverage.

If you have any questions regarding the enclosed document, including your applicable deadlines, please call us at 1-800-TEAMCARE (832-6227). Additionally, if you would like to review the federal agencies’ notice regarding the extensions of time, please visit www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-04/pdf/2020-09399.pdf.