United Agencies Supporting You: IMPORTANT Special Open Enrollment News
As the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we know the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses of all types and sizes. As a result, most Insurance Carriers are providing special open enrollment options for both Employers and Employees.
United Agencies is here and committed to doing everything we can to support you and your business, and alleviate any concerns you may have during this time. To be of help to you, we have included a list of COVID-19 Special Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your United Agencies Team team member with questions or if you require assistance:
Q: What if we want to switch to a leaner plan offering?
A: Employers may make a one-time, “mid-plan year” change to downgrade from the current plan they are on to lower cost plan to reduce their premiums and maintain coverage for the balance of the contract year under the below parameters. There are restrictions and limitations- please speak with your United Agencies representative with specific questions.
Q: Can we enhance an existing plan temporarily due to fear of out-of-pocket expenses for employees?
A: Probably not. All Carriers already provide 100% coverage for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 has been reduced to zero dollars ($0.00) for all plans. In addition, some Carriers are providing additional coverage for treatment of COVID-19 as well.
Q: Can I add a low option plan and keep an existing plan, with the option to switch plans for currently covered employees and dependents (only)?
A: Yes, most Carriers are making provisions to allow employees to make a one time, “mid-plan year” change to downgrade from the current plan they are on to a lower cost plan to reduce their premiums and maintain coverage for the balance of the contract year. There are restrictions and limitations - please speak with your United Agencies representative with specific questions.
Q: If an employee declined coverage in the past, can they enroll now during Special Open Enrollment?
A: Yes, with most Carriers. Enrollment applications must be received quickly (as early as 4/3 with some Carriers), and be sure to let all Employees know this special enrollment is available in order to avoid discrimination.
Q: Can I delay the dates of our regular open enrollment to follow our contract effective date due to COVID-19 business impact?
(For example: A July 1 renewal would typically offer open enrollment before July effective date. Due to business impact, we cannot offer an open enrollment until later in the year.)
A: Yes, some Carriers will allow a delayed open enrollment when it was not offered prior to the contract effective date and is offered to all eligible employees and all carriers are offered.
Q: Can an employee who loses eligibility (e.g. hours reduced, furloughed employee, etc.) retain eligibility if I (the employer) still pays employer contributions?
A: Currently, yes:
- As long as the group and employee are current on their monthly payments, Carriers will allow employees that would otherwise have lost eligibility to remain on the plan.
- Carriers reserves the right to change this policy at any time.
Q: Can an employee who no longer works full time stay on the Medical insurance if I (the employer) will not pay employer contributions?
A: If the Employee is no longer working and the Employer will not cover the employer contribution, the employee is encouraged to explore COBRA, their state based exchange, or the federally facilitated marketplace, based on a qualifying life event. (They should be terminated from the policy.)
Q: If I hire employees back after a layoff, can they waive the waiting period when they return?
A: Most Carriers are deferring to the Employer’s policy at this time, although some are still sticking to individual contract wording. Employers are encourage that whatever they choose, they implement the same policy with all employees.
Q: What happens if I can’t pay due to finances — including an extended grace period?
A: Carriers understand the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on our customers, members, and communities. They continue working with regulators and, at this time, will not terminate coverage for non-payment of premium through the month of April. Some Carriers are also adding credit card payment options.
For more information or if you have questions about Special Open Enrollment and Your Carrier, please reach out to your United Agencies Representative.
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