Coronavirus Virus (COVID 19) Resource Page

As the situation is rapidly changing, OAHU has created this resource page that will provide a variety of resources for our industry and will be updated several times a day with the latest information regarding COVID-19.

We will continue to work for our industry and will keep you informed as best we can during this time.

OAHU PAHU WVAHU Board of Directors

COVID-19 Upcoming Webinars
Carrier FAQs

A Message from Health Equity

On April 28, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced compliance guidance and further relief for employee benefit plans, qualified beneficiaries, and other plan members impacted by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.[1]

Under new guidance jointly released by the DOL and the Internal Revenue Service (collectively, “the Agencies”)[2], the time periods in which participants can submit claims for coverage, elect and pay for COBRA continuation coverage, enroll in group health plan coverage, and file appeals for adverse benefit determinations are extended. The EBSA also provided guidance allowing additional time in which a group health plan sponsor or plan administrator can provide certain notices, disclosures, or other documents.[3]

Specifically, the guidance provides that the “Outbreak Period” (defined as the period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the date on which the federal government declares the COVID-19 national emergency has ended, which has yet to be determined) will be disregarded with respect to certain plan deadlines.

While there has yet to be any end date to the national emergency period announced, it uses – for purposes of illustration – an assumed national emergency period of March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020, with the Outbreak Period ending June 29, 2020 (i.e., 60 days following the national emergency end date contemplated in the guidance).

This extension relief provides additional time for impacted participants and beneficiaries when calculating:

  • the date by which members may file claims for benefits under the plan’s generally applicable claims procedures (essentially extending the run-out period for reimbursement by health plans, healthcare flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) until the end of the COVID-19 outbreak);
  • the 60-day election period for electing COBRA coverage;
  • the date by which COBRA premium payments must be made;
  • the 30-day period to exercise special enrollment rights under HIPAA (or the 60-day period, in the case of the special enrollment rights added by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009) for major medical plans and other non-excepted benefits (e.g., following the addition of a spouse through marriage or the addition of a child through birth, adoption, or placement for adoption);
  • the date by which an individual must notify the plan of a qualifying event (e.g., a divorce or legal separation) or a Social Security disability determination; and
  • the date by which claimants may file an appeal of adverse benefits determinations or request external review after receipt of an adverse benefit determination or a final internal adverse benefit determination.

This guidance includes several helpful examples to illustrate the application of this timeline extension with respect to the plan deadlines listed above. It is noteworthy, however, that this relief does not seem to allow changes or revocations to cafeteria plan salary reductions (e.g., an election of pre-tax contributions under a healthcare FSA). Additional guidance or clarification from the Agencies is welcome.

The DOL also published FAQs for plan participants and beneficiaries[4] to address directly many of the concerns undoubtedly facing those affected by COVID-19. These FAQs include options available to those who have – or may soon – lose their employment-based health coverage due to the outbreak (e.g., special enrollment under a spouse’s employer health plan, COBRA continuation coverage, enrollment in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan), what to do if an employer did not pay the insurance premium for its group coverage, the potential termination or amendment of retiree coverage, and clarification of notification timeline relief.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also published documentation to assist employers – and their employees – with understanding their coverage options in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Please see the CMS Tip Sheet on Health Coverage Option for Employers Helping their Employees During the COVID-19 National Emergency and Marketplace Information for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 for more information.

The Agencies will continue to monitor the effects of the outbreak and may provide additional relief “as warranted.”

Current guidance does not impose specific notice requirements (e.g., furnishing a dedicated notice to plan participants advising of timeline extensions). It is recognized that there are many logistical considerations and ambiguities with respect to good-faith application of this guidance.

HealthEquity will continue to stay abreast of this topic and, as additional guidance is available, will advise accordingly.

1. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ebsa/ebsa20200428

2. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-04/pdf/2020-09399.pdf

3. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ebsa/ebsa20200428

4. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/covid-19.pdf


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Oregon's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, to provide unemployment compensation to those not eligible for regular unemployment, like gig and contract workers, began accepting applications this morning.

Please view the following three documents for more information and procedures:

  1. Employment Dept. press release with program details
  2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ
  3. Application "how to"

Message from Metlife

April 30, 2020

In recognition of the tremendous work our healthcare customers do, MetLife is offering employees of healthcare employers online estate planning services from May 4 through June 30 at no cost. These services will be available at MetLife.com/Heroes and will be provided by Willing, a MetLife company.

After answering a few questions, employees will be able to create:

  • Healthcare Proxy1 Make decisions about your own medical care and/or appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Power of Attorney – Delegate someone you trust to manage your financial affairs.
  • Estate Planning Documents (Last Will and Testament) – Choose who should receive your assets and name beneficiaries for minor children. 

This service is one way we can demonstrate our gratitude for the tireless work of doctors, nurses, technicians and so many other professionals within the healthcare industry who deliver peace of mind to us.

Please let us know if you’d like to discuss offering this to any of your clients, or if there is anything else we can do during this time to help.

Thank you,
MetLife

We are in this together. As families, businesses, and communities unite to tackle the global pandemic, we stand together. Click here for resources, benefit coverage and answers to common questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

1 Healthcare Proxy not available in Oregon.


Update from Business Oregon

April 27, 2020

At the direction of the Governor’s office, Business Oregon has established a Small Business Resource Navigator to assist with business questions and provide help accessing existing resources. We have staff available to respond to emails and calls Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm via the resource hotline at 833-604-0880 or [email protected].

Last week, 40 identifiable businesses called the navigator with questions or seeking guidance about resources. We also emailed out information to nearly 600 businesses who have contacted us in the past several weeks with guidance about preparing for an additional infusion of federal resources, which begins Monday am. http://www.oregon4biz.com/assets/docs/CARESActUpdate0420.pdf.

Please consider making your business constituents aware of the Resource Navigator so we can continue to support small businesses and the families and communities that depend on them. If you have questions about Business Oregon’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/.


State Extends Emergency Order for Insurance Deadlines

April 24, 2020

Salem – The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has extended its emergency order on insurance deadlines. The order requires all insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and nonrenewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused widespread business closures, job losses, and social distancing measures. This severe disruption to business in the state includes some Oregonians’ ability to make insurance premium payments, report claims, and communicate with their insurance companies. 

“Many of our insurers are stepping up in several ways to help their customers through this crisis. We appreciate those that are issuing auto refunds and credits, providing access to telehealth services, and waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner. “Extending the emergency order ensures Oregonians can continue to get relief from these insurance policy terms and continue to focus on staying healthy and caring for their families.” 

Insurance companies must continue to do the following until the order is no longer in effect:

  • Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in the state
  • Suspend all cancellations and nonrenewals for active insurance policies
  • Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
  • Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards 

If Oregonians have questions or concerns about their insurance company or agent, they can contact the department’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit dfr.oregon.gov for more information or to file a complaint. 

Visit the department’s COVID-19 consumer page for insurance and financial services information. Insurance companies and professionals are encouraged to visit the COVID-19 regulated businesses page for more information about the order and other guidance issued by the department. 

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx.


Small Group Carrier Credit Card Payment Info

April 13, 2020

Click HERE to view the Small group carrier credit card payment info. Thanks to Cathy Merz and her team for sharing this information on carriers that are accepting credit card payments on small group plans.


Webinar Series on Medical Health During the Crisis

April 13, 2020

This is an unprecedented time for everyone, and the situation is changing daily. Join us for our ongoing series on emotional support and organizational resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Click HERE for more information.

Cascade is committed and prepared to address the evolving risk posed by COVID-19. We will continue to post new materials in our new COVID-19 Resource Center to help you as we all move forward though this unique time together. Resources can be found here: https://cascadecenters.com/Covid19-Resource-Center


Coronavirus Emergency Loans

Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
Prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
March 31, 2020

The information below is a great resource for your clients with under 500 employees.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to eligible organizations.

Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help organizations understand what to expect and prepare to file for a loan.

Click HERE for more information.


NAHU Updates

May 26, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

May 18, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

May 12, 2020 - Breaking News COVID-19

May 11, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

May 8, 2020 - NAHU New COVID-19 Relief Program

May 4, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

April 27, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

April 20, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

April 13, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

April 6, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update

March 30, 2020 - Weekly COVID-19 Update


Insurance Updates

May 5, 2020

State issues emergency order for health insurance companies

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a new emergency order for health insurance companies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order requires health insurance companies to:

  • Provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past due premiums
  • Pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period
  • Extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications, and provide members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards

The order is in effect through June 3 and will be extended in 30-day increments during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read the complete health insurance order


April 23, 2020

From the Division of Financial Regulation of Consumer and Business Services

State extends emergency order for insurance deadlines

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has extended its emergency order on insurance deadlines until at least May 23.

Insurance companies must continue to do the following until the order is no longer in effect:

  • Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in the state
  • Suspend all cancellations and nonrenewals for active insurance policies
  • Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
  • Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards

The order is effective through at least May 23. If necessary, the department may extend the duration of this temporary order.

For more information: 

Read the extension of the emergency order

Read the emergency order FAQs

View the COVID-19 regulated businesses page



March 26, 2020

From the Division of Financial Regulation of Consumer and Business Services

Business interruption insurance and COVID-19

Business interruption insurance coverage protects against losses sustained due to periods of suspended operations. It pays for the loss of revenue that would have been earned if business was not interrupted. While there are many different types of policies, coverage is typically triggered only by property damage or loss. Many policies may have specific exclusions for viral infections, such as COVID-19.

To help clarify questions regarding business interruption insurance and COVID-19 the Division of Financial Regulation has developed an informational fact sheet.

Learn more: Business interruption fact sheet 

Division of Financial Regulation COVID-19 site


Coronavirus (COVID-19) OAHU Legislative Updates

April 27, 2020 - Update from Business Oregon

April 23, 2020 - Link 1

April 23, 2020 - Plans for restarting non-emergency medical procedures

April 10, 2020 - Link to COVID-19 Statistical Report for Oregon

April 3, 2020 - Link 1

March 25, 2020 - Link 1

March 24, 2020 - Link 1

March 23, 2020 - Link 1

March 21, 2020 - Link 1Link 2


Update from Regence

We hope the information conveyed was useful to you and your business. For reference, we've included a recording of today's session. 


Additionally, Regence’s website, regence.com/go/covid-19, is being regularly updated with the latest information, including how to prevent the spread of disease and care options for members. Regence has been highly engaged with provider partners and local, state and federal public health officials to offer help and resources in responding to community needs and ensure out-of-pocket costs are not a barrier to people seeking testing for, and treatment of, COVID-19.

Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: [email protected].

Watch Recording


 

Oregon releases health care system action plan to fight COVID-19

New projections show social distancing must be maintained to protect health care system

(Portland – March 26, 2020) The fight against the coronavirus depends on Oregon hospitals having enough beds to treat the coming surge in patients who will become seriously ill with the virus. Today, Oregon health officials and hospitals announced a joint statewide action plan to dramatically bolster the state’s ability to treat people with COVID-19 illness who need hospital care.

The plan was developed by the “Governor’s Joint Task Force for Health Care Systems Response to COVID-19,” convened by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). It includes a broad range of health systems, health care providers, human services organizations, public health and public safety agencies, insurers and other organizations needed in the battle.

The plan addresses 4 urgent actions necessary to expand the health care system’s capacity and maintain its capability as Oregon braces for a projected spike in new coronavirus cases:

  1. Procure and distribute critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and ventilators.
  2. Optimize hospital capacity to be able to treat COVID-19 cases.
  3. Mobilize the health care workforce to respond to COVID-19.
  4. Maintain a unified, coordinated and transparent emergency response to COVID-19.

New projections of COVID-19 cases in Oregon show the state is at a critical moment in the fight against the disease. Social distancing measures could alter the trajectory of new infections, which gives Oregon’s health care system the chance to ramp up to meet the coming surge. But the state has little margin for error. A return to “business as usual” or slight differences in actual infection rates (compared to projected ones) could swamp hospitals with more coronavirus cases than they could treat.

Governor Brown said, “Hospital leaders and health officials are doing their part to find beds, secure supplies and protect health care workers. Oregonians can make a difference too: stay home and save lives. We all have a role to play in an unprecedented, unified effort across Oregon to stop the coronavirus from taking the tragic toll we’ve seen it claim elsewhere.”

State agencies, hospitals and health care providers have already begun to implement the plan.

  • The state is collecting PPE for re-distribution to facilities in need.
  • Regional hospitals have signed mutual aid agreements to shift equipment, workforce and patients from overburdened facilities to others with adequate capacity.
  • The state is working with providers to stand-up alternate care locations (such as the Oregon Medical Station), identify and develop new alternate care sites, enable ambulatory care centers to house patients and re-purpose long-term care facilities.
  • The state and hospitals are sharing hospital bed utilization data so hospitals can manage the use of beds and equipment across their region.
  • The state is developing childcare options for health care workers, so their work isn’t interrupted by school closings and family responsibilities.
OHA Director Patrick Allen said, “Oregon’s health care system began preparing for a pandemic years ago, which gave us a head start on this plan. From expanding testing to securing more ventilators for Oregon hospitals, we are united by a set of common strategies to save lives in every corner of the state.”

The latest models state health officials released today forecast the following outcomes for 3 different scenarios:

  • Return to business as usual: If Oregon lifted all the social distancing measures state leaders have instituted in recent weeks, there will be an estimated 15,000 cumulative infections by May 8th (within a range of 5,900-26,000). Approximately 1,100 people would need inpatient beds (850 AAC/250 ICU) across Oregon.
  • Maintain bans on large gatherings and indefinite school closures: There would be an estimated 6,100 cumulative infections by May 8th (within a range of 2,000-12,000) and 340 people will need inpatient beds (260 AAC/80 ICU).
  • Maintain aggressive interventions put into place on Monday, March 23rd (i.e.., Stay Home, Save Lives) with high public adherence: There will be an estimated 1,000 (within a possible range of 700-3,800) cumulative infections by May 8th. Under this scenario, hospitals would have to boost capacity by a smaller number of beds.
The models show that only aggressive interventions, like the Stay Home, Save Lives executive order Governor Brown issued on March 23rd, are predicted to decrease the number of active infections.

The models state health officials released today were prepared by the Institute for Disease Modeling. While similar to projections completed earlier by researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), these newer models from IDM take into account the impact of community-level social distancing interventions, which were not incorporated into the OHSU study. Researchers from OHSU and other hospitals are collaborating with OHA to forecast the COVID-19 burden for their specific hospitals based on this information.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer at OHA, said: “These projections tell us the sacrifices Oregonians are making right now can save lives. At the same time, they paint a dark picture of what could happen. We can’t afford to drop our guard.”

March 25, 2020

The Oregon Health Authority released interim COVID-19 guidance. Click here.


March 25, 2020

New Emergency Order Issued By the Oregon Dept. of Consumer and Business Services

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order today in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It requires all insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and nonrenewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims.

Insurance companies must take steps immediately to do the following until the order is no longer in effect:

  • Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in the state
  • Suspend all cancellations and nonrenewals for active insurance policies
  • Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
  • Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards

Read the complete order here


March 24, 2020

DCBS Telehealth Guidance

Telehealth Guidance With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is vitally important for Oregonians to be able to receive health care services without visiting their provider in person. Health plans across the state have been moving toward telehealth for years and already understand the value of many telehealth delivery models (including via two-way video, telephone, email, and text). However, the urgent need to contain the spread of this new virus means we must act quickly to increase the availability and use of telehealth (including telephone) services.

For the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, or until otherwise directed by the directors of the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority, the state expects health plans of all types to provide increased access to health care services through telehealth delivery platforms and to encourage patients to use telehealth delivery options to limit the amount of in-person health care services they seek.i This includes commercial health plans regulated by DCBS and Medicaid health plans regulated by OHA.

Click HERE full details on the DSBS Telehealth Guidance.


As of March 23, 2020

Join NAHU for a Special Edition of their Compliance Corner Webinar Series
COVID-19 and Employee Benefits
Friday, March 27 | 1:00 p.m. Eastern 

NAHU is hosting a series of webinars in the coming weeks updating you on what is happening with COVID-19 from the regulatory, legislative, and compliance perspectives.
 
Join us this Friday, March 27, for a presentation by Stacy H. Barrow, J.D., partner at Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP and expert on all matters related to employee benefit plans. Barrow will review everything we know about COVID-19 thus far, the responses from federal agencies, and the employee benefits issues that these recent developments have created.
RegisterButton.jpg
 
The session is limited to 1,000 participants. If you can't make it or it fills up, the session will be recorded and the slides and webinar recording will be posted online.

 


 

As of March 19, 2020

Dear OAHU members:

In this time of uncertainty we wanted to let you know that our Legislative Committee is meeting weekly, each Friday at 9 am to discuss questions and concerns. Our lobbyist Doug Barber has reached out to the Oregon Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response with some questions that we have received from our customers and we will provide you with those details as soon as we have a response.

Additionally, on our call this morning we learned that the carriers have been meeting with DFR (Department of Financial Regulation) to see what options are available for our clients. We expect that carriers will start releasing some of that information the first part of next week and we will communicate those to you in our weekly update as well.

Below is a great resource to send to your clients:  https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/

Be Well,

Your 2020 OAHU Leg team


 As of March 18, 2020 

For a Corona Virus Update  provided by OAHU's Lobbyist, Lobby Oregon click here.

As of March 12, 2020

Given the continued concerns around COVID-19, as well as Governor Kate Brown’s proclamation this morning, the OAHU, PAHU and WVAHU Board of Directors have decided the following for the events scheduled for March and April.

Cancelled

  • WVAHU Spring CE – March 17, 2020
  • PAHU Spring Forum – April 14, 2020

The health and well-being of our members, fellow industry professionals and staff are our top priorities. We will continue to monitor COVD-19 and will communicate to you when these events will be rescheduled.

If you have immediate questions, please contact Stacey Barrett, OAHU PAHU WVAHU Association Manager, at 503.542.0924 or [email protected]

Thank you.

OAHU PAHU WVAHU Board of Directors


As of March 5, 2020

Dear Industry Professionals,

The New Coronavirus (COVID-2019) has been a persistent worldwide news topic for some weeks, and understandably has many concerned.  The health, safety, and well-being of our members, fellow industry professionals and staff are our top priorities.  

All currently scheduled live events will proceed as planned. In light of this decision, we invite attendees to take the following precautions at events:

  • Be mindful of your physical condition before an event. If you have a fever, cough or cold symptoms, or feel otherwise unwell, please stay home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Please leave the venue if you become unwell during an event. Be aware that staff may advise attendees to leave if they seem unwell.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and updates come in frequently. We encourage you to monitor the CDC and Oregon Health Authority  on COVID-19 for the latest information. 

We have a lot of fantastic events scheduled for the upcoming months and we look forward to seeing you!

Sincerely,
OAHU PAHU WVAHU Board of Directors