Keenan Briefings

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Special California Rules for End of Public Health Emergency

May 09, 2023

This spring, the federal government is in the process of winding down the National Emergency and the Public Health Emergency associated with COVID-19. As noted in our previous briefing, the end of these emergency declarations has an impact on all group health plans—self-insured, fully-insured, and in every state.

However, the impact of the end of the Public Health Emergency will be delayed for fully-insured group health plans in California, because of a bill passed in 2022. SB 1473 (Chapter 545, Statutes of 2022) added six months to the federal COVID-19 public health emergency requirements regarding coverage of testing, vaccines, and treatment for the coronavirus.

Under this law, fully insured group health plans must continue to cover COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatment from any licensed provider (in-or out-of-network) with no prior authorization or enrollee cost sharing through November 11, 2023.

The Department of Managed Healthcare issued a Fact Sheet outlining California’s six-month extension of the federal rules. Additionally, some health carriers in California have issued bulletins explaining the extension to employers.

This extension does not impact the end of the National Emergency or the Outbreak Period as discussed here.

Keenan is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Clients are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the clients’ business activities.