Federal Government Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

In early January, the federal government extended the COVID-19 public health emergency through April 11, 2023. This action impacts group health plan coverage requirements related to testing and related services.

Effective March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires group health plans and insurers to provide benefits for items and services related to the testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 through the end of the public health emergency. This coverage must be provided without cost-sharing requirements, such as deductibles, or prior authorization.

Shortly after, on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act amended the FFCRA to include a broader range of covered items and services, including approved COVID-19 vaccines. Per this legislation, coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine must be provided by non-grandfathered group health plans without cost sharing, regardless of whether the vaccine is administered by an in- or out-of-network provider. However, once the public health emergency ends, the coverage mandate will only apply on an in-network basis.

Notably, the public health emergency is separate from the national emergency still in effect, which provides an extension of certain deadlines impacting group health plan administration. While employers are not required to take additional action at this time, it is important to keep updated on these developments.

For more information, please visit:
HHS 1/11/2023 Renewal Announcement
HHS 10/13/2022 Renewal Announcement
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)


Pacific Federal is a Zenith American company and subsidiary of Harbour Benefit Holdings, Inc.