In January 2020 when COVID-19 was first becoming a part of our daily vocabulary, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a national public health emergency (PHE). What does that mean? The website PHE.gov explains how they work, what authority they give Secretary Azar, and the effects they can have on government programs. It also maintains a list of current PHEs.
Employer group benefits are affected by PHEs as insurance carriers and retirement plan administrators temporarily modify their processes to accommodate the emergency. Since PHEs can be extended as the need arises, employer groups have the added responsibility of keeping up with changes that happen faster than handbooks can be updated.
See a list of PHE extended deadlines here.