Health Insurance During COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know
As a business owner, you have a lot of issues to balance right now and we understand it can be overwhelming. Health insurance coverage is a valuable asset to employees during this time. Maintaining coverage is no easy task while you struggle with a downturn in the economy and lost revenues. However, you have resources available to help.
"We understand our employers are going through some tough times right now," said Jordan Anderson, Vice President of Sales & Account Management for Avera Health Plans. "While it may feel like you’re on your own as a small business owner, we encourage you to ask for help and take advantage of existing programs."
Here’s what to do:
Look for federal and state resources. This includes the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program as part of The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act also provides an Employee Retention Tax Credit. Some states also have resources available, including South Dakota.
Contact your health insurer. At Avera Health Plans, customer relations experts can help employer groups consider their options. This may include extended grace periods for premium payments on your group plan.
"We’re here to work with employers because we want them to succeed and come through this difficult time," Anderson said.
Encourage employees to get individual insurance. If you need to lay off or place employees on temporary furlough, the Federal Marketplace can help them stay insured.
"Losing a job does not mean employees need to lose their insurance coverage," Anderson said. "The one option I wouldn’t recommend is going without coverage."
A loss of employment is considered a qualifying event and offers a special enrollment period. If employees qualify, they could be eligible for significant premium reductions as well as cost-share reductions. These programs can help families and individuals keep – or regain – coverage they need. People have 60 days after their change of employment to enroll in a Federal Marketplace plan.
Check with our business resources page for more information about managing through the COVID-19 pandemic.