We know that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind. On this page, you’ll find resources to help employers, employees, and individuals. We will continue to update these documents to make sure they are as up to date as possible. As always, at Benafica, we believe we’re stronger together—so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.
Keep Your Work Place Safe and Healthy
- U.S. Chamber guide to healthy habits – Background on COVID-19 and best practices to stay healthy and deal with employee diagnosis.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates – Ongoing updates on the disease, how it is spread, where is exists and testing.
- Minnesota Department of Health resources – Updates on cases in Minnesota, best practices to prepare and prevent spread in workplaces.
If employee eligibility changes due to hours, furlough or layoff what happens to their coverage?
Employers will have the option to keep currently enrolled employees on their plans as active employees, even when hours are reduced below the average hours worked eligibility requirement or they are furloughed. Insurance carriers are providing flexibility in eligibility definition if premium payments continue as usual. If your group is terminating/laying off employees, COBRA applies.
What are the insurance carrier’s coverage commitments for COVID-19 testing and treatment?
Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive costs for treatment of COVID. Minnesotan’s with commercial insurance including individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses are now eligible for the following benefits: expansion of telemedicine visits to include visits from a member’s home, utilization of additional technologies such as FaceTime or Skype, no cost-sharing (copay, coinsurance, and deductible) charges for COVID testing, prior authorization requirements and cost-sharing have been waived for hospitalization related to COVID.
Does the Coronavirus Act (CARES) apply to my business?
There are two types of loans that business owners can take advantage of from the CARES Act. The Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Paycheck protection will enable eligible companies can apply to borrow up to 2.5 times their average eligible monthly payroll costs, up to $10 million, and interest rates on the loans will not exceed 4%. Depending on how much a business borrows and how it uses the funding, all the loan or a portion of it may be forgiven. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program has historically offered disaster relief assistance to businesses, homeowners and renters in specific areas where federally declared disasters occurred. However, due to COVID-19, companies in all 50 states can apply for a disaster loan. They also can receive a $10,000 advance on the loan.
Resources for Businesses
- Benafica Employer FAQ
- Minnesota Department of Revenue details on business tax changes – Details on the sales tax payment extension for eligible businesses.
- Minnesota Department of Economic Development resources for employers – Information on staffing, hours, unemployment insurance and assistance for small businesses.
- Coronavirus and unemployment insurance – Specific details on mandatory or voluntary quarantines, changes in hourly work or layoffs, and COVID-19 related costs.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guidance for employers – Links to information on small business products and loans, guidance on access to capital and the local assistance directory.
- Department of Labor and Industries’ “worker protections” – A summary of FMLA, sick leave, unemployment insurance.
- Minnesota Department of Commerce Licensing Unit guide – Information for Minnesota licensees, regulated entities and consumers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- List of Executive Orders from Governor Tim Walz
- U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application – Minnesota businesses now eligible as of Saturday, March 21.
Responding to Slowdowns during Coronavirus
- Responding To Slowdowns Caused By Coronavirus
- Handling Employee Terminations
- Furloughs Vs. Layoffs During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Sample Agreement to Pay Insurance Premiums
- Sample Furlough Notification Letter
- Sample Layoff Notification Letter
Considerations for employers, employees
- U.S. Chamber guide for employers – Outlines how to work with and communicate to employees, make a business continuity plan before and after employees become sick.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for business – Health and workplace details and suggestions for COVID-19 impacts on different types of businesses and employee activity.
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) travel advisories – Ongoing updates on travel advisories within the United States and abroad.
- Minnesota Council – Society of Human Resource Management (MNSHRM) – Resources for HR professionals (login required).
- U.S. Department of Labor guide to FMLA in public health emergencies
- U.S Chamber Summary of Latest Congressional Action on Coronavirus Response – March 17
- IRS guidance on 90-day payment delay for April 15 payment
- Information about business interruption insurance – A FAQ developed by the Insurance Federation to provide answers on business interruption coverage.
Minnesota Department of Insurance Response
1. Requests carriers to waive prior authorization for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for insureds if diagnosed with COVID
2. Requests carriers to cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 at no cost to the insured
3. Requests carriers, where appropriate, to make expedited formulary exceptions
Holding Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured?
Yes, Gov. Tim Walz announced on Friday a special 30-day MNsure enrollment period for those currently without insurance in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.The enrollment period begins Monday, March 23 and will run through April 21.