Horizon letting employers maintain furloughed workers’ health coverage

By Eric Strauss
Newark | Mar 25, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is taking steps to help employees furloughed due to the coronavirus shutdown maintain their health insurance coverage.

The Newark-based company, the state’s largest health insurer, said in a news release Wednesday that, for the next 60 days, it is waiving the “actively at work” requirement for group policies. Horizon said that will mean employers can maintain coverage for workers who have been furloughed, temporarily laid off or had hours dramatically reduced.

The change is effective immediately and applies to any of the 1.7 million Horizon members who have coverage through an employer’s group plan and have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, Horizon said.

“Protecting the health and well-being of our members are Horizon’s top priorities, and this change supports employers that are forced to implement workforce reductions to continue providing vital health coverage for impacted employees,” Christopher M. Lepre, Horizon’s executive vice president, commercial business, said in a prepared statement. “By giving our customers added flexibility to react to this unprecedented situation, we continue to respond to this rapidly evolving public health emergency.”

Horizon said it will reevaluate the coronavirus situation going forward and may extend the waiver if appropriate.

Health insurance contracts normally require that employees covered by group plans be continuously active at work, employed full-time and perform the normal and customary duties of their job, Horizon said.

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Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | @acerimrat