Gov. Evers and Insurance Commissioner Urge Insurers to Allow Small Employers to Keep Furloughed Employees on Health Insurance
Madison, Wis. – At the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable called on Wisconsin health insurers to give small employers the option to keep employees who are furloughed or working fewer than 30 hours per week on employer-sponsored health insurance. Health insurers often have contracts with small employers to only insure employees who are considered “active status,” meaning they work 30 or more hours per week. With the COVID-19 public health emergency requiring non-essential businesses to close, many employees working for small employers may be furloughed or work fewer than 30 hours per week. Insurers should allow small employers to continue paying the insurance premium for impacted employees if they can do so during Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order.
“We want every Wisconsinite to be able to access the care they need during this public health emergency,” said Gov. Evers. “Insurers can help make that possible by giving small employers the flexibility they need to keep employees on their health insurance. It’s going to take all of us working together to slow the spread of this disease and to keep our communities safe.”
The 30-hour workweek provision under Wisconsin’s small employer law is a minimum standard. Insurers and employer policyholders can agree to offer coverage to employees working fewer than 30 hours if the offer is made to all employees of the employer and is not made in an unfairly discriminatory manner. The bulletin is effective for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is also urging insurers to work with small employers to provide the option of continuing dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits when those are offered as separate policies.
Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI’s mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.
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