The IRS and the Employee Benefits Security Administration are extending certain timeframes during the Outbreak Period for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency. The beginning of the Outbreak Period is March 1, 2020. The end date is yet to be determined.
Under the relief, all group health plans, disability and other employee welfare benefit plans, and employee pension benefit plans subject to ERISA or the IRC must disregard the period from March 1, 2020, until sixty days after the announced end of the National Emergency.
Affected Deadlines for Plan Participants
The following periods and dates for all plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants:
- The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment into any group plan under Code Sec. 9801(f) and ERISA Sec. 701(f);
- The 60-day election period for COBRA continuation coverage under Code Sec. 4980B(f)(5) and ERISA Sec. 605;
- The date for making COBRA premium payments under Code Sec. 4980B(f)(2)(B)(iii) and (C), and ERISA Sec. 602(2)(C) and (3);
- The date for individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event or determination of disability under Code Sec. 4980B(f)(6)(C) and ERISA Sec. 606(a)(3);
- 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 pursuant to 26 Reg. §54.9815–2719(d)(2)(i) and 29 CFR 2590.715–2719(d)(2)(i), and
- The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan’s claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503–1, and the date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503–1(h).
Affected Dates for Group Health Plans
With respect to group health plans, and their sponsors and administrators, the Outbreak Period shall be disregarded when determining the date for providing a COBRA election notice under Code Sec. 4980B(f)(6)(D) and ERISA section 606(c).