Updated March 1, 2021
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:
- The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
- The 60-day election period for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage;
- The date for making COBRA premium payments;
- The date for individuals to notify the plan of a COBRA qualifying event or determination of disability;
- The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan’s claims procedure;
- The date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims procedure;
- 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
- 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 until the earlier of: (a) 1 year from the date the individual became eligible for the extension relief; or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency. On the applicable date, the timeframes with periods that were extended will resume. In no case will the extension of time exceed 1 year.
Since the duration of the extension of time is currently unknown, we strongly encourage you to comply with the timeframes set forth in any documents you receive from us 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 your applicable deadlines for any of the above matters, 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.