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What You Need to Know Before Making Coronavirus Related Health Plan Updates

health plan

1 minute read

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some public sector employers may be considering making changes to their group health plans. Before making any changes, employers should check with their agent/broker, health insurance carriers (for fully insured plans), and flexible spending accounts (FSA) vendors. In some cases, carriers may already be initiating some of these changes. Changes may include:

  • Waiving certain eligibility requirements for those who are furloughed, laid off, or had hours reduced
  • Allowing a High Deductible Health Plan to cover COVID-19 treatment and telehealth without a deductible
  • Offering a special mid-year enrollment window for employees who didn’t elect coverage during the last enrollment period
  • Allowing an FSA or HRA (health reimbursement arrangement) to reimburse over-the-counter drugs and feminine hygiene products

Contact your NIS Consultant if you’re thinking of making changes. For eligibility and plan changes, written approval may need to be obtained from the carrier. Plan documents may need to be reviewed and updated. Employers would need to communicate plan changes to their employees through a summary of material modifications. For those thinking about a special mid-year enrollment, tax rules for premium payments must be considered.

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This blog is intended to be a compilation of information and resources pulled from federal, state and local agencies. This is not intended to be legal advice. For up to the minute information and guidance on COVID-19, please follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health organizations.


National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Bill Enright

Bill Enright

Bill Enright is Director of Consulting Services at National Insurance Services (NIS). He’s responsible for the management, fulfillment, and strategic direction of the full benefit consulting clients and services and the professional development of NIS full benefit consulting personnel. Bill is a 29+ year veteran in the employee benefits industry, from insurance carrier, benefit consultant, and now director. He has been published on the topics of health care reform and has served on the advisory committees and insurance lobbying groups at the state and local level. Bill served in the U.S Army Reserves as a non-commissioned officer for 11 years. He’s also involved with Special Olympics, youth sports coaching, and is a small group leader at his church.