In an effort to help protect its members and their families from losing health care coverage, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey said Wednesday it is waiving the “actively at work” requirement for group policies for the next 60 days.
The change will enable employers to maintain coverage for employees who have been furloughed, temporarily laid off, or whose hours have been dramatically reduced.
The modification is effective immediately and applies to any of the approximately 1.7 million Horizon BCBSNJ members with coverage from their employer through a group plan whose job is impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
“Protecting the health and well-being of our members are Horizon’s top priorities, and this change supports employers that are forced to implement workforce reductions to continue providing vital health coverage for impacted employees,” said Christopher Lepre, Horizon BCBSNJ’s executive vice president, Commercial Business, in a statement.
“By giving our customers added flexibility to react to this unprecedented situation, we continue to respond to this rapidly evolving public health emergency. Over the past two weeks, Horizon has taken steps to protect our members and remove barriers to care. We are honored to have earned the trust of New Jersey’s businesses, big and small, and will continue to stand with them to overcome the challenges this pandemic is producing,” said Lepre.
According to Horizon, health insurance contracts require that employees covered by group plans be continuously active at work, employed full time and perform the normal and customary duties of their job.
The company said that it would re-evaluate the situation and may extend this waiver as warranted.
BCBSNJ continues to work with employers to develop plans that provide uninterrupted coverage for impacted employees that give struggling businesses the best chance to fully recover. Options include COBRA; individual Health Coverage plans that are eligible for the Affordable Care Act’s federal premium subsidies which can result in low or no-cost health coverage; and comprehensive, high-quality Medicaid plans for those who qualify based on their year-to-date earnings.