Welcome to the COVID-19 Resource Center


Q. What’s the difference between a furlough and a lay-off?

A. Laid-off employees are considered terminated, even if only for a short period of time. As such, they must be offered COBRA. On the other hand, furloughed employees are not considered terminated. They remain on their employer’s benefit plans. The employer must continue to pay its share toward the cost of these benefits but may collect the balance, if any, from the employee.

Q. If my childcare needs have changed due to the “lock down”, can I alter or suspend my contribution to my Dependent Care FSA?

A. Yes.

Q. Can funds that have already been contributed to dependent care or health care FSA be returned?

A. No.

Q. Will my carriers grant me some extra “grace” to pay premiums during this crisis?

A. Many carriers are allowing employers an extra 30 days to make premium payments. However, most carriers are granting this on a case-by-case basis. Contact your Account Service Executive (ASE) if you need extra time to pay a premium.

Q. Do I still need a doctor’s prescription in order to use FSA or HSA money to pay for Over the Counter (OTC) medications?

A. No. The recently signed CARES act removes that restriction for plan years beginning before 1/1/22. In addition, menstrual products are now eligible items under healthcare flexible spending accounts.

Q. If an employee loses Group Life benefits because of a furlough or lay-off, do I have to notify them of their right to convert that coverage to an individual policy?

A. Yes. All group life contracts by law include an option to convert to a whole life policy. Some contracts also allow a terminated employee to “port” their term insurance coverage

Q. My plan offers a telehealth benefit. If I take advantage of that benefit, will I still be eligible to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

A. Yes. The CARES Act changed the law so that “first dollar” telehealth services do not violate the minimum deductible requirement for an HSA qualified plan.

Q. If an individual receives multiple diagnostic tests for COVID-19, are plans and issuers required to cover each test, as well as other applicable items and services?

A. Yes. The coverage required under section 6001 of the FFCRA for items and services described in section 6001(a) of the FFCRA is not limited with respect to the number of diagnostic tests for an individual, provided that the tests are diagnostic and medically appropriate for the individual, as determined by an attending health care provider in aQ4. Are plans and issuers required to cover COVID-19 tests intended for at-home testing under section 6001 of the FFCRA?

Q. Are plans and issuers required to cover COVID-19 tests intended for at-home testing under section 6001 of the FFCRA?

A. Yes. COVID-19 tests intended for at-home testing12 (including tests where the individual performs self-collection of a specimen at home) must be covered, when the test is ordered by an attending health care provider who has determined that the test is medically appropriate for the individual based on current accepted standards of medical practice and the test otherwise meets the statutory criteria in section 6001(a)(1) of the FFCRA. ccordance with current accepted standards of medical practice.

Q. Is COVID-19 testing for surveillance or employment purposes required to be covered under section 6001 of the FFCRA?

A. No.

Q. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, may a large employer offer coverage only for telehealth and other remote care services to employees who are not eligible for any other group health plan offered by the employer?

A. Yes.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact your Account Service Executive (ASE).