We recognize that some companies may be adjusting to better support their employees during this unusual time. We also know there are a lot of questions surrounding the benefits that are offered to teams and what effects the COVID-19 pandemic could have on those. We hope this helps you understand and navigate through some of the top concerns we’re seeing.
1. Will Florida Blue be extending grace periods beyond 30 days for premium payments?
• Yes. Florida Blue has committed to payment flexibility and no cancellations for nonpayment of premium through May 31, 2020. There will still be past due amounts on invoices that will be due at the end of this period but no coverage will be terminated.
2. Some insurance companies are offering a one-time special enrollment opportunity which will allow employees to come onto the plan or add dependents. Will Florida Blue be offering a special enrollment opportunity to mirror a qualifying event? If yes, does this also allow an employee to drop their plan during this special enrollment period too? Will this allow them to change between plans?
• Yes. For groups that renewed on March 1, we are extending the open enrollment period to April 15. All other groups have 30 days beyond the effective date to enroll their employees. (example: March 15 effective date will have until April 15 to complete open enrollment, April 1 effective date has until April 30, etc) Also, Florida Blue is implementing a special enrollment period from April 1–April 15, 2020 for employees that previously refused coverage or are adding dependents to a contract. Only groups enrolled with Florida Blue prior to March 1, 2020 are eligible for this special enrollment period. It is limited to employees who did not elect coverage or waived coverage prior to March 1, 2020. Dependents (such as spouses and children) can be added if enrolled in the same coverage or benefit option as the employee.
3. If a company is reducing hours and/or laying off staff due to the COVID-19 crisis, are they able to keep their employees covered on the plan?
• Florida Blue has adopted a non-enforcement policy that will apply to currently enrolled eligible employees that will allow them to retain coverage as if they were active employees, even if they are furloughed or drop below the normal minimum hours required to be worked for full time employees (25 hours/week for small employers and generally 30 hours/week for large employers). This non-enforcement policy will apply until April 15, at which time it will be reevaluated. If terminated altogether, the former employee can either elect to continue coverage through COBRA or will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to purchase an individual plan. If the terminated employee is rehired at a later date, there is no standard waiting period to re-enroll in group coverage but they will still need to meet the normal eligibility requirements.
4. If a company is being forced to shut down by state or government orders, can they keep their Small Group Insurance?
• In order for a group to remain active during this period up to May 31, 2020, the group must retain at least one active employee. Failure to retain at least one active employee will result in the group’s cancellation. The group may make the decision to furlough or lay off employees during this time as well. Ultimately, the group will owe premiums through May 31 for any active employee that remains on the active roster for coverage.