Protecting Your Employees from COVID-19
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 things develop.
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
What is the definition of an eligible employee for health care coverage with Quartz?
An eligible employee is one who works 30 or more hours per week. Or, if less than 30 hours, at least as many hours as specified by Quartz in the Group Application.
What’s the difference between a layoff and a furlough?
In simple terms, a furlough is a mandatory, temporary, unpaid leave. A layoff is a full separation from the company. Please consult your human resources or legal advisor for more information.
If employees are placed on temporary leave with no pay or have their hours temporarily reduced to part time (often referred to as furlough), can they remain on our Quartz group plan?
Yes, as long as you keep paying your premium on time and they are considered an active, eligible employee.
Is there anything else we need to keep in mind regarding temporary leaves or reductions in hours?
Quartz will allow continued coverage for employees on temporary leave or reduced hours through December 31, 2020. As of January 1, 2021, the employee will need to either elect COBRA, state continuation coverage, or an ACA plan to remain covered. Employees in the probate period at the time of temporary leave or reduced hours will be allowed to join the plan per the group’s probate rules.
If our layoff ends and we rehire employees who were laid off, can they restart their coverage?
Yes, under these terms — Quartz will allow the following reinstatement provisions for employees returning to work after a leave of absence due to layoff: Employees rehired within 12 months of being layoff do not need to re-satisfy the group’s probate period. Their effective date will be the first of the month following their rehire date or per the group’s current probate rules (if different). Employees rehired after 12 months are required to re-satisfy the group’s probate period.
Our office is closed. How can I remit payment to Quartz?
We recommend employers set up automatic payments. Download our recurring payment form and return it by fax or mail, or call Customer Service at (800) 362-3310 for help.
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 whose hours are permanently reduced, making them 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 HealthCare.gov, 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, making them 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 or 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 in part by employers.
Is the federal government offering any COBRA subsidies?
Yes. COBRA premium assistance is now available to some workers and families under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Learn more here.
If our group is having trouble making our premium payment, who can I talk to?
Please contact Customer Service at (800) 362-3310 to explore options that might be available to you.
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