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COVID-19 - How to Help Protect Your Employees

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In our continuing effort to provide timely and accurate information in the wake of COVID-19, we are responding to frequently asked questions from our employer groups. We’ll continue to update this page as developments occur.

Questions about COVID-19 vaccines? The rollout of vaccines is happening in a phased approach. Guidelines may vary due to availability. Information changes rapidly. Here is a resource with links to access current information: COVID-19 Vaccines: General Information for Employer Groups

Please contact your sales or account representative with further questions or call Customer Service at (800) 362-3310. Remember, we’re here for you.


Furloughs & Layoffs

  • What options are available to employees who are laid off or have a permanent reduction in hours that changes their eligibility status?
    Quartz coverage for employees who are laid off or have hours permanently reduced to be no longer benefit-eligible would end as specified in the group’s termination provision (i.e., date of termination or end-of-month termination).

    This is a qualifying event for COBRA (for employers with 20 or more employees) or state continuation coverage (for employers with fewer than 20 employees).

    Employees also have the option to purchase an individual plan either directly through Quartz or through the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM), since this circumstance creates a Special Enrollment Period. With a HIM plan purchased through, a premium tax credit might be available to help lower their monthly bill.

    If someone was in their waiting period and was laid off or had a reduction in hours to be no longer benefit-eligible, they no longer meet eligibility requirements for Quartz coverage. They are also not eligible for COBRA through their current employer. They may be able to secure COBRA coverage through their previous employer if they are still in the COBRA election period window. HIM may also be an option if they are still in a qualifying event window.
  • If an employee chooses COBRA, can they later get a HIM plan and vice-versa?
    No and no. Once they enroll in COBRA, they are not eligible for a HIM plan until either the next open enrollment period or until they’ve exhausted their COBRA coverage, whichever comes first. If they enroll in a HIM plan first, they cannot later enroll in COBRA. 
  • If I am required to offer COBRA to employees that are laid off, can I pay a portion of the premium?
    Yes. COBRA premiums can be paid either in full or partially by employers. 
  • Is the federal government offering any COBRA subsidies?
    No. At this time there are no federal COBRA subsidies available.

Billing & Payments

Additional Resources

We've compiled links to some information and sites that may be helpful to you in dealing with your business and COVID-19. Included are links to important guidance, UW Health and Gundersen care options, posters for your workforce, and specific information for health plans.