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Florida Blue Offering Resources During COVID-19If you’re feeling a little stressed or anxious about COVID-19, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel nervous when you’re experiencing the unknown. Below are free Florida Blue resources to support you and help you get the care you need during this time.

Someone to lend an ear: Talk to a specially trained counselor about any stress or anxiety you may be feeling. They are available to you 24/7 at no extra cost. Counselors can be reached at (833) 848-1762 or visit their website at ndbh.com.

Feeling under the weather? Stay safe at home and take advantage of a virtual visit: Avoid the doctor’s office and other possibly sick patients when you have a non-emergency illness like a sinus infection, sore throat, allergies or upset stomach. Check with your employer to see if Teladoc is included in your benefits. Medications, except controlled substances, can be prescribed.

Please note: If you’re seeking a referral for the coronavirus test, keep in mind that you cannot get a referral for the coronavirus test through Teladoc. You must consult your local doctor by phone.

COVID-19 Well-being Assessment: You can now check for COVID-19 symptoms and related risk factors on floridablue.com. Use the new interactive symptom checker located at the bottom right-hand side of your device. In addition to checking your symptoms, the tool will recommend next steps and provide valuable resources for you.


Next Steps:

Visit the Florida Blue COVID-19 page to stay up-to-date on the latest information about COVID-19, including:

  • Ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting and spreading the virus.
  • Options for avoiding doctors’ offices by using virtual care for non-emergency illnesses.
  • Links to valuable websites, helpful videos and an evolving list of current COVID-19 testing sites.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation: Guidelines on Payroll Record-KeepingThe NCCI, other state workers compensation regulatory bureaus, and state governments are still working to develop payroll handling and reporting guidance as it applies to the COVID-19 crisis. As we all navigate the COVID-19 crisis and its potential impact to the exposure basis on both in-force and future Workers’ Compensation policies, we felt it important to share the following guidance on keeping payroll records.

  • Payroll given to employees for time not worked related to the COVID-19 crisis should be separately identified in your records. This exposure should be captured to a unique payroll category.
  • You should maintain payroll records for employees who continue to work, but have taken on different duties in a manner that the payroll is identified, and split based on the applicable workers compensation and general liability class codes. Employers are responsible for maintaining separate payroll records for the change in operations or the wages earned for an employee whose occupation has changed. If these records are not maintained, then all payroll would be assigned to the highest rated applicable class code.

 

The above guidelines will enable an auditor to identify COVID-19 associated payrolls when conducting the audit. Those payrolls will be handled as determined by NCCI, the appropriate Workers’ Compensation bureaus, state governments, or ISO.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Client Advisor who can offer assistance. We are here to help.

What You Need to Know About the Look-back Measurement Method and COVID-19The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or possibly pay a penalty. This employer mandate is also known as the “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

ALEs can use one of two methods to determine whether employees are full time under the employer shared responsibility rules:

  • The monthly measurement method determines full-time status for each calendar month based on the employee’s hours of service in that month.
  • The look-back measurement method determines full-time status for a longer period of time based on average hours of service during a prior period.

 

The evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused some confusion and uncertainty in applying the look-back measurement method during periods of layoff, furlough, and COVID-19 related periods of paid and unpaid leave.

This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides information for employers regarding how the look-back measurement method applies to COVID-19 related absences.

Download the Compliance Update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please reach out to your Account Manager.Compliance Bulletin – Look Back Measurement

On March 27, 2020, the President signed a $2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act) that included $349 billion for new, partially forgivable small business loans to cover certain payroll costs, mortgage interests, rents and utilities payments. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans will charge interest at no more than 4% and will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). As the program’s name implies, PPP Loans are designed to provide cash to small businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued the following guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

Small Business Guide to Emergency Loans


We have compiled the highlights of this new program below and recommend consulting with your legal and/or financial advisers regarding this matter.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans for Small Businesses

  • This new program provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance to small employers, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. Employers who maintain their payroll can get the loan forgiven for the portion of the loan that is used for payroll, rent, and utilities.
  • Businesses can borrow 2.5 times what their average monthly payroll was during the period of 2/15/20 to 12/31/20. While your business can spend your loan on any expenses, it will only be forgiven later if you spend 75% of it on payroll and 25% of it on the other approved items during the 8-weeks after you receive the loan. Any portion of your loan that is not forgiven will be converted to a loan that has a .5% interest rate and must be repaid within 2 years.
  • Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying this Friday, April 3rd. Self-employed and independent contractors can begin applying Friday, April 10th.
  • These new Paycheck Protection Program loans will be handled through private banks and lenders. If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, you should contact your local banker to ask if they are approved to handle PPP loans. If your bank is an authorized 7a lender, you will be able to apply for these loans through them.

Download the PPP Factsheet

Download the PPP Application


Additional Loan Tools

Do you qualify as a small business?

Here is the Small Business Administrations guide to size standards. This is a quick reference for quickly checking eligibility. We recommend also reviewing the SBA guidelines for eligibility.

Small Business Administration Loan Application

For more details, visit the U.S. Treasury Department’s new website at home.treasury.gov/cares.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Client Advisor who can direct you to the appropriate resources.

Florida Blue Offering Special Enrollment Period in Response to COVID-19To assist in accessing care in light of COVID-19, your medical provider, Florida Blue, is providing employers a special COVID-19 opportunity to enroll employees who previously did not enroll in coverage. This opportunity is limited to those employees who previously did not elect coverage for themselves (spouses or children) or waived coverage.

The special enrollment opportunity is from April 1, 2020 through April 15, 2020, with an effective date of April 1. Dependents, such as spouses and children, can be added if they are enrolled in the same coverage or benefit option as the employee.

If you have employees that have inquired whether or not they can enroll now for coverage, this may be an option. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you would like more information. We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.