Comprehensive and continued medical and disability coverage is vital in wake of the pandemic. Without it, employees could go into debt and bankruptcy as they face treatment or become hospitalized due to coronavirus.
“We do not know what COVID-19 is entirely, but people want to know that if they contract it, they’re covered,” Gimbel says.
Though it’s important for all employees, continued health coverage is essential for workers who are temporarily suspended from their jobs as industries and businesses temporarily shut down. Employers would be wise to continue coverage for them, experts say.
“Obviously, income continuation due not only to illness, but also for employees who are healthy but unable to work is critically important,” explains Rich Fuerstenberg, senior partner in Mercer’s life, accident and disability national practice. “Some employers won’t be able to continue income for the latter group for an extended period of time, if at all, especially for hourly employees in low-margin industries. For those employees, continuation of health benefits–likely without employee contributions since there may be no pay from which to take contributions–will be valuable at a time when those with a COVID-19 diagnosis may need to access care.”