PBI consultant Avinash Maniram’s article examining the benefits sector’s early responses to address the challenges presented by the pandemic was published in Plans & Trusts magazine.
Members of the IFEBP and ISCEBS can view the complete article here:
Strategies adopted by trusteed benefit plans
Benefit plans likewise had to tweak policies and take other novel steps in response to the changes wrought by COVID-19. They made temporary adjustments to coverage, for example by extending benefits during layoffs and work shutdowns. They also worked with insurance providers to maintain coverage for members who fell below the minimum number of hours to be eligible for benefits. Some plans introduced one-time Health Care Spending Accounts (HCSAs). Many also increased their focus on mental health coverage. Out-of-country provisions, however, generally stayed the same.
Plans generally worked to extend their coverage. One way was to maintain coverage for members eligible as of a certain date (the mechanisms varied depending on the plan’s eligibility criteria and the mechanics of how the eligibility is administered). In many cases, the extension of coverage was instituted as a short-term measure, through the end of May or June 2020, when it was unclear how long the pandemic would go on. The plans would revisit these plans based on their own circumstances and the labour outlook.