Supporting you during the COVID-19 pandemic
We understand how truly difficult these times are, whether you are a business owner managing cash flow or an employee needing support with their benefits plan. Our top priority is ensuring that as you focus on your business, we are here to respond to your questions since now, more than ever, you need helpful tools and resources for employees and business owners.
- Reduced Working Hours
- Emergency Travel Assistance
- Suspension of Benefits
- Premium Payments
- Prescription Drug Coverage
- Disability Coverage
- Claims Services
- Additional Benefit Coverage
- Our Business Hours
- Resource Links
Reduction of Work Hours
Q: I’ve had to reduce the number of hours my employees work which fall below the minimum eligibility hours – can I continue offering them benefits?
A: Yes. Existing employees no longer need to meet the minimum weekly hours requirement to be eligible for benefits.
Q: If I must temporarily lay off employees, what are my options?
A: There are several options to depending on your insurer – you may want to consider one of the following:
- Lay off with continuation of all benefits. Coverage can continue, for up to 6 months for the health and dental benefits provided the premiums continue to be paid. Certain benefits may be excluded or have shorter extensions – Life, Short-Term Disability (STD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD). Give us a call and let us know your plans before making a decision.
- Termination of all benefits. We know that finances may be tight but continuing benefits may be the only sense of security your employees have at this time.*Depending on the specific insurance carrier, there may be certain limits or exclusions. Contact us and let us know your plans before making any changes to the benefits plan.
Q: Do I have to inform the insurer if I have to lay off employees?
A: Most insurers need to be notified. Let us know how we can help.
Q: What if my policy does not have a layoff provision?
A: No worries – many insurers will consider adding it to your policy.
Emergency Travel Coverage
Q: If a member is travelling and unable to return home due to unavailable flights, what is their coverage?
A: If the travel coverage is about to expire (trip limit has been reached) and unable to return home due to circumstances directly beyond their control, some insurance carriers have extended their coverage duration. Please contact us for more information as some extension are up to 14 days or a set date.
Suspension of Benefits
Q: I have reduced revenue and can’t afford the plan but don’t want to terminate the policy. Can I hit the Pause Button?
A: Many insurers will consider suspending your benefits for up to 60 or 90 days by:
- Suspending all benefits, or
- Suspending some benefits
Premiums and coverage will cease as of the date provided, with reinstatement being available as an option. All coverage will be restored to the existing levels at time of reinstatement.
Q: I can’t pay the premium this month?
A: Contractually, your policy has a 30-day grace period to pay your premium. Most insurers are extending the grace period up to 60 days before there are any ramifications to your policy status.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Q: Will I have problems getting my prescription drugs at the pharmacy?
A: Pharmacy regulators, associations and health ministries are recommending that pharmacists provide a 30-day supply to Canadians. This is being done to ensure there are enough medications available for all Canadians during the pandemic. An employee might receive only a 30-day supply for their medication, even if their prescription is for more.
Disability during Lay Off period
Q: If I continue disability coverage for my employees, what happens if one of them becomes ill or injured while they are laid off?
A: Most insurers will allow for continuation of disability coverage but they all have different methods in dealing with how and when a claim can be submitted. Let us know and we will sort out the details with your insurer as each insurance company is handling differently.
Q: My employees have claims that have not been submitted yet. When can they submit them?
A: Insurer claim departments continue to be fully operational. The easiest, safest and fastest way to submit claims is through the insurer website. If you are not currently set up, information on how to register is on the Plan Member website for those employees. If you need assistance please let us know.
Additional Benefit Coverage
Q: I need some information on ways to help my employees on their wellness. Can you offer some suggestions?
A: That’s what we are here for. Your benefit plan may already have some great resources built into your program but there are some additional benefit add-ons that you may want to consider, especially in light of the current crisis. You may want to consider these:
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Best Doctors
- Virtual Health Care
Business as Usual
Q: How can I make changes to our benefit plan during the physical isolation period?
A: Our industry is listed as an essential service. As your advisors, we are working remotely along with insurance carriers and continue to work for you and your employees. Insurance carrier websites are recommended to be used to submit claims, as well updating employees information – for Plan Administrators. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you are not registered and would like to have access.