The number of people infected with coronavirus is doubling every three days in the state of New York. As more workers are being infected, the relationship between insurance companies and coronavirus in NYS gets deeper.
Additionally, the New York State continues to give stricter directives every day regarding the businesses that should stay open or closed. To this effect, the surge of newly unemployed New Yorkers is rising.
Last week alone, 1.7 million calls were made to the New York State Labor Department to apply for unemployment insurance. As a tsunami of layoffs lays in the horizon, what are insurance companies doing to help?
Insurance Companies and Hospitals
Following the coronavirus outbreak, insurance companies and coronavirus NYS hospitals are expanding insurance eligibility. Thus, more people impacted by the pandemic can claim health insurance benefits. Typically, claiming insurance benefits is met with eligibility rules and numerous application processes.
But The Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance to the insurers. Now, every insurance company in the New York State is to suspend any pre-authorization and administrative requirements.
This will help hospitals treat and discharge other patients leaving more room for the care of the coronavirus patients. The insurance guidance letter orders insurers to suspend some of their requirements for 90 days.
Third-party administrators are also required to apply the directives in the letter. The DFS is also monitoring the COVID-19 situation loosely. Any developments will lead to the evaluation of the guidance letter.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Last week, President Trump signed into law a coronavirus relief package of 100 billion dollars. The money is intended to provide free testing for COVID-19 as well as increasing unemployment and paid leave.
Usually, unemployment assistance is offered to individuals who are actively seeking work, able or available for work, or laid off involuntarily. However, these terms are not sensible following the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreaks.
As a result, the NYS has relinquished the seven wait period necessary for unemployment benefits for people who are unemployed as a result of coronavirus business closures or quarantines. Now, any insurance company can offer unemployed New Yorkers benefits immediately.
Paid Sick Leave
Companies with more than 500 employees usually offer paid sick leave. Hence, insurance companies are making this eligible to coronavirus NYS benefactors. One the other hand, companies with fewer than 500 employees rarely offer paid sick leave.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, individuals affected by the coronavirus can now benefit from paid sick leave. This means that any employee who works in a business with less than 500 employees can currently get 80 hours of paid sick leave.
This applies to cases where an individual is unable to work because they are under COVID-19 medical treatment, medical quarantine, or ordered home quarantine. Any person that is at home taking care of a coronavirus patient or a child that is not in school is also eligible for paid sick leave.
Insurance companies in NYC are offering family leave to individuals covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The rate is being offered at two-thirds of an individual’s pay. However, the maximum fee per day is set at 200 dollars.
This makes a total of 1000 dollars every week. Considering this is more than the amount offered for unemployment benefits, individuals affected by the coronavirus outbreak are set to benefit more from the family leave claims.
Additionally, insurance companies are releasing the family leave quicker than they are the unemployment benefits. This makes it prudent for any employee whose company is eligible for family leave.
Insurance companies are rarely meant for gig workers. This is because most of the employment insurance is offered to businesses. However, gig workers in NYC are encouraged to apply for insurance benefits.
FEMA offers disaster unemployment insurance that mirrors the unemployment insurance for business employees. Hence, this is one option being delivered to New York gig workers. Nevertheless, gig workers might have to wait a little longer for the disaster unemployment insurance to kick in.
It’s no secret that the coronavirus has caused a storm in the American economy. The state of New York is especially feeling the heat as infection cases increase and more businesses close down. Nevertheless, insurance companies are working to ensure that people get some aid through this pandemic.
For instance, insurance companies are working with hospitals to expand insurance eligibility. This opens up more space for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Also, with the release of the coronavirus relief package by President Trump, more insurance companies are open to offering unemployment, sick paid leave, and family leave benefits.
Now, NYS employed, unemployed, and gig workers can claim these benefits freely.