Continuing Health Coverage during the COVID-19 Situation

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently extended the National Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 to October 23, 2020. As a result, HMAA’s extended grace period for payment of insurance premiums and waived fees for late payments or reinstatements will continue.

  • The grace period for payment of monthly premiums remains extended to forty-five (45) days until further notice. Example: August 2020 premiums normally due August 1 may be paid until September 15.
  • Fees normally charged by HMAA for late payments or reinstatements will be waived starting with coverage for March 2020. This waiver will continue through the end of 2020.

Please keep in mind that Hawaii employers can continue to provide company-paid healthcare benefits to their eligible employees under certain circumstances. Employers will need to continue notifying HMAA when their employees are on an approved leave of absence; this includes furlough, sick leave, FMLA, and FFCRA. They must also continue to pay the monthly premiums for their affected employees and dependents who remain covered. Due to the fluidity of the situation and complexity of the requirements, please consult with your legal or other advisor to determine how the rules apply to your business.

HMAA continues to monitor the situation closely and is prepared to make further adjustments to help employers provide quality healthcare benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I continue to pay for my employees’ health coverage if they are placed on furlough or no longer meet the eligibility requirements for hours worked due to COVID-19?2020-06-05T01:01:13+00:00

If your employees are placed on furlough or any other type of approved leave of absence (either paid or unpaid), or are not meeting eligibility requirements (e.g., not working at least 20 hours per week), you can continue to pay their health insurance premiums for up to 6 months. If you decide to do this, applicable laws may require you to do this consistently across your employee population or by division. If any employees are on an approved leave of absence, you will need to notify HMAA of their absence.

Can I temporarily change my group’s medical plan offering to help reduce costs?2020-07-31T19:44:18+00:00

Yes, you may change your medical plan offering. If your health plan is in Grandfathered or Grandmothered status, keep in mind that reducing your medical plan offering may cause your plan to lose such status. If you are interested in other plan options, please contact your HMAA Account Manager.

Can I temporarily change my group’s drug, vision, and dental rider offerings to help reduce costs?2020-07-31T19:44:59+00:00

Yes, you may change or remove your drug, vision, and dental rider offerings. If your health plan is in Grandfathered or Grandmothered status, keep in mind that reducing your drug rider offering may cause your plan to lose such status. If you are interested in other plan options or a drug discount card, please contact your HMAA Account Manager.

Can I unbundle my group’s drug, vision, and dental offerings so they are no longer employer-sponsored and instead offer these as voluntary coverage whereby my employees would be responsible for paying the premiums?2020-06-05T01:01:35+00:00

No, you may not unbundle your rider offerings and offer these as voluntary coverage to your employees. However, HMAA provides the following options to help mitigate the loss of employer-provided coverage:

  • Optum Perks is a prescription drug savings program where your employees can obtain a free discount card online and instantly save on select prescription medications. Learn more.
  • VSP Individual Vision Plans are direct, non-employer-sponsored vision plans where your employees can enroll and pay the premium online through VSP’s website. Learn more.
If I close my business today due to COVID-19 and rehire employees a few weeks or months later, can HMAA waive the 4-week waiting period to re-enroll those employees?2020-06-05T01:01:01+00:00

If you rehire an employee who was previously covered under your plan, HMAA can waive the 4-week waiting period as long as they are re-enrolled within 6 months of being terminated during the COVID-19 situation. Otherwise, newly hired employees will be subject to the 4-week waiting period and must meet the eligibility requirements for hours worked in order to enroll.

Is my group’s COBRA Continuation Coverage status still active?2020-06-05T01:00:42+00:00

Your group’s COBRA Continuation Coverage status is still active if you employed at least 20 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) for at least 6 months during the preceding calendar year and informed HMAA of this by providing your company’s UC-B6 or Quarterly Wage Report for the preceding year. Your COBRA coverage will remain in active status while your policy remains in effect.

Will HMAA grant leniency if I do not pay my premiums by the first day of the month for which coverage is expected during the COVID-19 situation?2020-07-31T19:43:19+00:00

HMAA expects timely premium payments in order to continue health insurance coverage. However, HMAA has extended its grace period for payments to forty-five (45) days. This extension will continue until further notice. In addition, fees normally charged by HMAA for late payments or reinstatements will be waived through the end of 2020.

Please reach out to our Account Management Team at (808) 791-7654, toll-free at (800) 621-6998 x301, or via email if you have questions about any of the above. While this is a difficult time for everyone, we are thankful for the opportunity to service you.

This notice was last updated on July 31, 2020.

2020-07-31T20:01:15+00:00