In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting national emergency declarations, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service issued rules and guidance that mandate extensions of certain timeframes for participants covered under group health plans and allow plans to ease restrictions on some Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) plan regulations.
The Departments recognize that plan participants may encounter problems, such as exercising rights to COBRA continuation coverage or difficulty filing or perfecting claims, and extend timeframes for certain activities. This is accomplished by excluding the “Outbreak Period” when calculating plan deadlines for the specified activities. The Outbreak Period is identified as the period beginning with the declaration of national emergency (March 1, 2020) and ending 60 days after the national emergency ends.
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