As of today, here’s what we can safely tell you about Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, Workers Comp, and business interruption insurance.
Please Note: The following information is general. Specific circumstances may impact how your insurance works. If in doubt about claims related to Coronavirus, contact your insurance agent.
Most if not all insurance companies are waving first-dollar (co-pay, deductibles, co-insurance) for diagnostic testing. Other costs will likely apply depending upon your plan and needs. We will update you if any significant changes occur.
If you are sick and unable to work for more than the number of days specified in your policy (typical terms are 0,1,7,14 or 30 days), a Short-Term Disability claim will be approved and paid. But, if you are quarantined for more than the number of days stipulated in your policy – quarantine typically lasts two weeks – but do not contract the virus, your Short-Term Disability insurance would not pay.
The important number here is, like Short-Term Disability, the number of days specified in your policy (the shortest is 30 days but it can be 60, 90 or more). If you contract the virus and are unable to work for longer than the number of days stipulated in your policy, you will most likely be eligible for compensation.
Filing a workers compensation claim if you are unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or actual illness is tricky. You would have to be able to prove you actually contracted the virus at your place of work. Since it is similar to a flu, insurance companies are likely to treat it as such and your claim would most likely not be approved.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance is designed to replace income that is lost due to an event that causes business to be halted or interrupted due to damage to the business physical property, such as a fire or hurricane or other natural disaster. Policies differ but most specify what kind of event would trigger coverage. Additionally, most policies have coverage for when a civil order prevents access to the property. Many policies “contingent business income coverage” if business cannot continue due to a loss experienced by a third party, such as a critical supplier. None of these triggers or policy coverage language specifically address an event like we are experiencing now with COVID-19. Ultimately, coverage will depend on how the facts are applied to the policy language.
What’s next indeed! We know physicians, clinicians and health systems are on the frontlines in this battle. That’s why we are doing everything we can to make sure we are here for you. We are actively monitoring our teams’ health and updating plans to provide best service possible if they can’t come into work. All of our staff has the ability to work from home.
We are also actively monitoring coverage policies and watching for any changes from our insurance company partners.
Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI,
To address any questions or concerns, please contact Christopher A. Noffke, GBDS
Director of Group Benefits.
PS: The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center hosts a website dynamically tracking cases around the world. Despite the increase in cases worldwide, a visit to the site shows how China was able to relatively quickly “flatten the curve” by enacting public health and safety measures. I think this is a very good indication of how quickly we will be able to eliminate this threat.