In dealing with rapidly shifting circumstances due to COVID-19, employers naturally have concerns regarding their employee benefits programs. Below is some guidance to assist Peel & Holland clients as they navigate through a variety of situations.
Insurance Carrier Resources
Insurance carriers are scrambling day-to-day to provide information to employers and insureds. We encourage you to visit the links below for the most up-to-date information they are providing to us, direct from the source.
Questions Regarding Employee Status
Many of you are making some very tough business decisions that impact your workforce. Concerns may stem from a reduction in hours, and unfortunately, from terminating, furloughing, or laying-off employees – at least temporarily. The Peel & Holland Employee Benefits team is fielding numerous questions that you may also have in mind. Here is some guidance for employers on dealing with changes in employment status.
Can we continue to pay for health insurance even if an employee has been laid off?
Normally the answer would be no. However, insurance carriers are taking drastic steps to ensure employees have coverage. They are altering traditional rules making it easier for employers to provide coverage. Each carrier is approaching this differently and in many cases, the employer can continue to pay premiums and keep coverage in place for laid off employees. If you have questions, please contact your Peel & Holland Account Manager or Risk Advisor.
When does coverage end for an employee that has been laid off?
Coverage will end either the day of separation or the end of the month. This is a choice employers make when setting up their plan. For most Peel & Holland clients, coverage ends at the end of the month. If you are not sure, please contact your Account Manager or Risk Advisor.
When we bring employees back, will they need to meet the waiting period again?
The answer is determined by the length of the separation. In general, if the employee is rehired within 13 weeks, the waiting period is waived.
What is the difference between COBRA and State Continuation?
When an employee is a laid off and the employer chooses not to continue paying for coverage, the employee will have the option to elect COBRA (groups with 20 or more employees) or State Continuation (groups under 20 employees) for plans domiciled in Kentucky. In both cases, the employee pays the full amount of the premium to continue their coverage.
What about the new Anthem Chamber Advantage Plan?
Anthem’s Chamber Advantage Plan is a self-insured plan with its own rules. For employers with more than 20 employees, COBRA will apply. For employers with under 20 employees, COBRA does not apply, and there is no State Continuation and employees will need to seek other forms of coverage.
Where can people learn about an individual health insurance policy?
Employees may want to explore purchasing an individual health policy or a short-term policy. Please refer employees to Cheryl Fauth at AgentLink (ten.knil-tneganull@lyrehc | 844.305.5073).
What options are available to low-income employees?
Based on income, employees may qualify for Kentucky Medicaid. For more information: www.HealthCare.gov
What options are available to employees over age 65?
Employees over age 65 are eligible for Medicare. However, most would only have Part A. These employees may contact Peel & Holland’s Licensed Agent Jill Lewis (moc.dnallohleepnull@siwelj | 270.527.6168) to discuss options.
Are there other alternatives to traditional health insurance?
Some employees might consider alternatives such as Sedera Health or Medi-Share. These are cost-sharing communities, and it is important to understand this is not insurance. For Medi-Share information: Cheryl Fauth at Agent Link (ten.knil-tneganull@lyrehc | 844.305.5073). For Sedera Health information: sedera.com
As a partner with Benefit Advisors Network, we are providing this Whitepaper as an additional resource: COVID-19 and Employee Termination and Benefits Consideration.
We Are In This Together
We understand these are trying times. While our offices are closed to visitors, please know that we are still in full operations and the Peel & Holland Benefits team is here to help you.
Please reach out to your Account Manager or Risk Advisor for assistance.
UPDATES on Coverage
UnitedHealthcare: Understand coverage and care for COVID-19