The federal government ended the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, 2023.
The end of this federal emergency period means changes to certain Alliance Coal benefit plan provisions established during the pandemic. These changes will take effect July 11, 2023 (approximately 60 days after the end of the federal emergency).
Here is a summary of the benefit changes taking effect on July 11:
During the emergency period, certain deadlines or timeframes have been extended or tolled for the Alliance Health Care Program (including medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, and Health Care FSA), Long-Term Disability Plan, Life and Disability Plan, and the Alliance retirement plans. These extensions are known as the Outbreak Period relief. This gave members more time to take certain actions, such as: requesting HIPAA special enrollment rights to elect health benefit coverage, electing COBRA continuation coverage and paying COBRA premiums, and submitting certain claims and appeals. However, the Outbreak Period relief in no instance would apply for a time period longer than 1 year.
The Outbreak Period relief ends the earlier of (a) the maximum 1-year extension period after the original deadline, or (b) July 10, 2023. Effective July 11, 2023, these extensions will no longer apply. Once the Outbreak Period relief ends, the benefit plans’ regular deadlines or timeframes will apply. To see the regular deadlines or timeframes, refer to the summary plan descriptions (SPDs) contained in the benefits handbook.
During the emergency period, the Alliance Coal Health Plan covered certain COVID-19 tests, vaccinations, and treatments at no cost to participants, regardless of whether you used Alliance Direct or Non-Direct providers.
Effective July 11, 2023, over the counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests (OTC COVID-19 Tests) will no longer be a covered benefit under the Alliance Coal Health Plan. Therefore, an OTC COVID-19 Test purchased on or after July 11, 2023, will not be eligible for reimbursement under the Alliance Coal Health Plan. Please note that, in certain instances, an employee with a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (separate from the Alliance Coal Health Plan) could elect to seek reimbursement from their Health Care Flexible Spending Account for the cost of an OTC COVID-19 Test.
In addition, effective July 11, 2023, changes will be made to the following benefits and, depending on whether you use Alliance Direct or Non-Direct providers, regular cost-sharing will apply (including applicable deductible, coinsurance, and potential balance bills) for the Plan’s medical coverage and prescription drug coverage:
|Alliance Direct Provider
|Preventive Care – including certain COVID vaccinations* and their administration
|You pay $0
|Plan pays 100% of AC** (no deductible)
|Office Visits, Urgent Care Visits, and Most Hospital Services – including COVID in-person diagnostic tests and treatment
|You pay $0
|Deductible, then you pay 20% of AC**
|Approved Preventive – including certain COVID vaccinations*
|You pay $0
|Plan pays the amount it would have paid to an In-Network pharmacy, and you pay the balance
* COVID-19 vaccinations that have received certain recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
** All benefits shown are determined based on Allowable Charges (AC). Some Non-Direct providers might “balance bill” you for amounts above the Plan’s Allowable Charges.
For a more complete description of benefit provisions, see the summary plan descriptions (SPDs) contained in the benefits handbook at www.CoalBenefits.com. If you have questions, refer to the SPDs, contact your local HR representative, or call Member Services at (855) 979-5192. A printed copy of the SPDs is available upon request from local HR. If there are any differences between the information in this communication and the official plan documents, the plan documents govern. Benefit plans may change or end at any time. Nothing in this communication provides an offer or guarantee of continued employment.
Date of notice: May 11, 2023