Health Benefit Update as of 3-24-2020

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Information provided by Lone Star Benefits, Inc. Employee Assistance Programs: Because anxiety and worry is at an all-time high due to the Coronavirus outbreak, both Cigna and UnitedHealthcare are making emotional support lines available at no cost to any individual that could benefit from the service. Feel free to forward these resources to your employees. Non-Cigna Clients & Customers Impacted | Communities in Need For individuals who do not have health benefits or employee assistance program benefits through Cigna but could benefit from talking with a qualified representative, the toll-free number, 866.912.1687, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is open to anyone and free of charge to help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. Non-UnitedHealthcare Clients & Customers Impacted Free service for members and non-members. Emotional support line with specially trained mental health professionals. Available 24/7. Can speak with individuals to help work through fears and can provide referrals to community resources to assist with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. The number is 866.342.6892. Below are guidelines released to date and are subject to change!!! BCBSTX Updates: Lay-offs / Furloughs / Reduced Work Hours? - From now through April 30, 2020, employers can maintain employees on their plan even without meeting eligibility definitions. This includes reduction in work hours, furloughs, leaves of absence or layoffs. - This only pertains to employees enrolled in the plan as of March 20, 2020. It does not create as scenario where employees who previously waived coverage can be added to the plan. - Premium payments are still required on a timely basis. - No paperwork or email is needed for these eligibility issues. What is the difference between a Furlough and a Layoff? - A furlough is an alternate to a layoff. Work less hours or take a certain amount of unpaid time off. Generally, these employees return to work. Benefits continue. - A layoff is a temporary separation from payroll and COBRA, or State Continuation will be offered due to this being a Qualifying Event. These employees are less likely to return to work. Special Open Enrollment for Employees to Switch Plans? - If an employer is not changing their existing benefit plans offered, but instead is providing employees with another opportunity to change their individual plan selection, a special open enrollment period will be accommodated. We are waiting for the dates that BCBSTX will allow for a special open enrollment period. UnitedHealthcare Updates: Fully-insured clients can continue to offer medical benefits to employees furloughed due to COVID-19 as long as the employer continues to pay its share of premiums and offers the option to all furloughed employees on an equal basis. Employees can remain eligible for coverage if they remain an active employee during periods of temporary layoffs or reduction in hours as a result.

Special Enrollment Opportunity for fully insured Small Business

To assist employees in accessing care, UHC is providing fully insured Small Business clients with a Special COVID-19 Enrollment Opportunity to enroll employees who did not previously enroll in coverage. The opportunity will be limited to employees who previously did not elect coverage for themselves (spouses, children) or waived coverage. The enrollment opportunity will extend from March 23 to April 3, 2020. UHC will provide a “Notice of Special COVID-19 Enrollment Opportunity” to inform employees of this opportunity to enroll in their group health plan.   Coronavirus Response Act: Lone Star Benefits, Inc and Simon | Paschal PLLC has provided a chart that our agency put together that outlines the new Coronavirus Response Act in a more simple to digest document. If you would like to print this out, it is set to print on 11 x 17 paper.  

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