Covid-19 Response

The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused a new array of problems unseen by employers in the history of our country. Here you will find the employer resources for understanding how you can help your employees and your business in these difficult times.

For COBRA and NJ State Continuation info, Click Here

COVID-19 Stimulus Package – The CARES Act Explained

LEGISLATION UPDATES: 3/23/2020

As I type this summary, the government is still debating over a stimulus package.  Rumors indicate that it could be substantial and provide significant coverage for lost wages.  If it passes, it is expected to go into place effective 4/2/2020, the same date as the new expanded sick leave laws.  Based on conversations with experts, if your company can afford to hold off on employment decisions until after 4/2, this may enable you and your employees to qualify for additional government funded benefits.  Once we all know what the government is offering, then a more educated decision and more accurate accounting (more math!) can be done to figure out the best course of action for the company as well as your employees.  Attached is an excellent summary of the new leave laws.  All of these leave laws will be 100% reimbursed by the government.  Challenge is the employer needs to front the money and then get reimbursed.   

CARRIER UPDATES:

Below is the most recent news in our industry from AmeriHealth and Independence Blue Cross.  Both have announced that they will waive the actively at work provision on the group health plan.  This is great news.  Normally to be eligible for the benefits your employees needed to be working a minimum of 25 hours.  For the time being, that is no longer the case.  Many of our clients don’t want to lay off employees and hit them with insurance termination as well. Good employees are hard to find.  Even though you may have to furlough some or all your employees you can now allow them to continue on the group health benefits.

If you do lay off employees and want to allow them to continue coverage under COBRA or NJ/PA State Continuation, we have established a COVID-19 and COBRA resource center on our website with all the sample notification letters, instructions and applications. 

Also, all of the carriers have now waived all co-pays and deductibles for expenses related to COVID-19 testing.  Should an employee be diagnosed with the virus, then normal co-pays and deductibles will apply.     

AmeriHealth, Independence Blue Cross Provide Clarification Related to Employee Eligibility Exception for Furloughed or Temporarily Laid Off Employees

AmeriHealth & Independence Blue Cross

In response to the pressure placed on businesses and their employees as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak, AmeriHealth New Jersey will honor employer requests to continue coverage for employees furloughed or temporarily laid off as a result of impacts of COVID-19.
This exception applies to fully insured and self-funded business, and is contingent upon the following:
  • Full premium payments continue to be made by the employer
  • Self-funded employers must continue to remit invoiced amounts in full.
  • The employer is responsible for collecting employee contributions, if applicable.
  • No reductions to employer contributions will be allowed.
  • Only actively at-work employees can be added to the plan as new enrollees.
  • Our preferred Stop Loss partner, HM Insurance Group (HMIG) HMIG will honor coverage in accordance with the above conditions.
  • Self-funded employers who do NOT contract with HMIG for Stop Loss/Reinsurance, should contact their Stop Loss carrier or broker/consultant for information on how these benefits will be covered under their policy related to the specific Stop Loss contract terms and Plan documents.

This Underwriting Guideline exception is in effect until June 30, 2020. This exception will not be valid on or after July 1, 2020.

Please note: Employers should consult with their legal counsel and/or tax advisor to determine if their benefit offerings meet applicable state and federal requirements.

Visit https://amerihealthnj.com/covid19 for more information

Visit https://www.ibx.com/htdocs/custom/covid19/index.html for more information.