Articles

  • Some Insurers Step Up Group Health Plan Assistance

    May 19, 2020
    Some health insurers are helping business workers in group plans maintain employee benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey has found. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have put the hurt on hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, which has forced them to reduce employees' hours, furlough them or lay them off. Besides all those employees seeing their pay drastically curtailed or disappear altogether, it also affects their employee benefits, with health coverage topping the list. With so many people concerned they may lose coverage and business owners equally worried about their employees, some insurers are stepping up by extending coverage for affected group plan participants. The survey by insurance research organization LIMRA found that ...
  • 10 Potential Causes of Employee COVID-19 Lawsuits

    May 12, 2020
    The novel coronavirus that broke out in the winter has caused immeasurable suffering, both physical and economic. For employers struggling to stay in business, this is a fraught time where mistakes in managing their workforces could lead to employee lawsuits. Here are 10 potential trouble spots to watch for. Workplace safety - Businesses that still have employees working on-site run the risk that a single infected worker may send the virus ripping through the entire workforce. While workers' compensation laws may prevent employees from suing, their family members who become ill or suffer through a worker's illness face no such constraints. Sick time and paid leave - Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March, guaranteeing full-time employees of ...
  • COVID-19 Changes to Health Plans Must Be Documented, Circulated

    May 6, 2020
    A number of plan sponsors have made changes to their group health plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as covering testing and sometimes treatment without any cost-sharing by the plan enrollee. But any changes that are made must be followed up by amending the plan and communicating the changes to the enrollees. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, all health plans are required to deliver a Summary Plan Description (SPD) to enrollees to inform them of the full spectrum of coverage and their rights under the plan. Whenever a plan sponsor makes a material modification to the terms of the plan or the information required to be in an SPD, they must amend the plan and let participants know about the change through a Summary of Material Modification ...
  • Medicare Advantage, Part D Plans Get COVID-19 Leeway

    April 28, 2020
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued new guidance regarding how Medicare Advantage and Part D plans can respond to enrollees affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the guidance, the plans are authorized, but not required to waive out-of-pocket costs for testing, treatment and other services related to the coronavirus. The rules come on the heels of many of the country's largest insurance companies announcing that they would be treating at least COVID-19 testing as covered benefits and would waive cost-sharing for tests. The CMS made the announcement in light of the fact that COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus, has the most severe effects on the elderly population, as well as people with pre-existing health conditions like heart disease, ...
  • Tips for Successful Telecommuting During Outbreak

    April 21, 2020
    As the coronavirus spread ramps up and more people are being asked to self-isolate, many employers are scrambling to put systems in place to allow their employees to telecommute. Many companies are not set up for telecommuting arrangements, and they have legitimate concerns about productivity, communications ― and even the possibility of workers' comp claims stemming from home hazards that may not be typical in the workplace. But there are steps you can take to make sure that you keep your employees engaged and on task. 1. Make sure they have the right technology If you don't already have one, you may want to consider setting up a company VPN so your employees can access their company e-mail and databases. Any employee working from home should also be ...
  • IRS Allows HDHPs to Pay for COVID-19 Testing, Treatment Pre-Deductible

    April 13, 2020
    The IRS has issued new emergency guidance that allows insurers to waive the cost of coronavirus testing and treatment for individuals who are enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Major health insurers report they've been concerned that if they can make the change to their high-deductible plans without breaching IRS regulations regarding such plans. Specifically, the new guidance states that HDHPs will not lose their plan status if they provide medical care services and items related to coronavirus testing or treatment even before an enrollee has met their deductible. While the regulation does not require HDHPs to cover the testing and treatment without any out-of-pocket expenses by the enrollee, the plans can do so ― and without breaching the rules regarding ...