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If an employer group remains open and temporarily reduces the hours for certain employees because of coronavirus, are its employees still considered actively at work?
Reliance Standard will allow the employee to maintain insurance coverage during the time period that the temporary reduction in hours occurs. The employer must maintain the employee’s same employment status as prior to the work hour reduction [e.g. active, full time etc.]. Additionally, at this time, Reliance Standard has determined that a temporary hour reduction is one that occurs for up to 30 calendar days. This means that if the employee continues to work a reduced scheduled on the 31st calendar day from the date the reduced schedule began, the employee will need to meet the eligibility requirements in the applicable policy to maintain coverage. As the pandemic situation develops Reliance Standard will evaluate the 30-day time frame to determine if modification is warranted.
Please note that all other policy provisions still apply, including the standard policy requirement that all income related changes are effective on the date that change occurs. For example, this means that if an employee’s income is reduced and the employee files a disability claim, the employee’s income immediately prior to the employee’s date of disability will be used to determine the employee’s benefit amount.
Employer groups should check their policy: certain policies may not allow this extension of coverage or certain policies may allow changes in income to be effective on dates other than the date the change occurred; if so, that information will be specifically listed.
Reliance Standard Coronavirus Response page, with links to general FAQs and Dental and Vision FAQs.
There may be a more recent answer to this question. Contact Claremont for an update.