UnitedHealthcare’s Oxford updates coronavirus insurance policies for employers

Fully insured employers will be able to continue to offer benefits to furloughed employees

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Health insurance group Unitedhealthcare’s Oxford on Tuesday released updated guidelines for employers amid the growing coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

The updated guidance says that fully insured employers will be able to continue to offer benefits to furloughed employees.

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Employers can buy down their benefits plan one time during the course of the next 90 days – which won’t change the original plan renewal date. Employers will be unable to add an additional plan option, only buy down an existing plan.

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Additionally, they are relaxing “actively at work” requirements through the end of May. They will not allow credit card payments but will waive the waiting period for rehires.

There will be a special COVID-19 Enrollment Opportunity that will extend from March 23 to April 6, with coverage effective as of April 1.

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UnitedHealthcare is one of the country’s largest insurers. Oxford, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth, insures half of New York’s small-group market – where coronavirus has hit residents particularly hard.

On Tuesday New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the rate of cases in the state was doubling every three days. Overall, there were more than 50,000 cases in the U.S. as of Tuesday afternoon – and more than 600 fatalities.

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