SCMA MIT Emergency Plan Amendment and COVID-19 Update
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Dear MIT Participating Employers,
As many of you are aware, many healthcare practices around the state are facing closure/business interruption due to various reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting late last week, SCMA MIT began receiving inquiries from our participating employers regarding the potential impact that temporary layoffs, terminations, furloughs, or reductions in hours may have on their workers’ rights to continue their SCMA MIT coverage.
The SCMA Members’ Insurance Trust Board of Trustees has approved the following emergency plan amendment effective immediately:
“Employees of SCMA MIT Participating Employers who normally would experience a loss of coverage due to layoff, termination, reduced hours, or furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be allowed to maintain their health plan coverage thru the SCMA Members’ Insurance Trust until May 31, 2020 provided that premiums continue to be paid by the participating employer.”
Because we are a plan that is led by physicians serving the medical community in South Carolina for nearly 40 years, we want to do our part to assist our employer groups as much as we can during this difficult time. We hope this measure will allow your business to ramp down operations on a temporary basis without triggering a loss of important health insurance coverage for your employees. SCMA Members’ Insurance Trust is here for our physicians, the medical community in our state, and their families. We are trying to do everything we can to support our participating employers and your employees during this unprecedented time in history.
Thank you for your patience as we work through the various complexities around this global pandemic. Please know that we are here to continue providing updates on COVID-19 and how it affects your health coverage under our plan. Our sponsoring association, SCMA, continues to be in constant contact with the Governor’s office, various state agencies and the American Medical Association to ensure the interests of physicians are protected and continuously evaluated. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you in the coming weeks.
SCMA Members’ Insurance Trust
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Question: Can employees who are furloughed or experience a temporary layoff due to COVID-19 keep their SCMA MIT health plan coverage if premiums are paid by their participating employer?
2. Question: My practice is reducing staff hours to under 30 hours a week as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do my employees get to keep their SCMA MIT health plan coverage during this temporary reduction of hours?
Answer: Yes, the emergency plan amendment approved by the SCMA MIT Board of Trustees allows employees who experience a reduction in hours to not lose coverage until 5/31/20 so long as premiums continue to be forwarded to us by the participating employer.
3. Question: How should premiums be collected from the affected employees during this temporary interruption in business operations?
Answer: SCMA MIT invoices premiums at the group level. As long as the participating employer continues to forward premiums to us in full as billed, there will be no interruption in coverage for the group or its employees.
4. Question: For employees who experience a layoff, termination, reduced hours, or furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic, do these employees need to be entered in a termination status in my Jet Health Employer Portal?
Answer: NO. As long as we continue to receive premiums from participating employers in a timely fashion, these employees do not need to be placed in a termination status in Jet Health. SCMA MIT simply asks that administrators notify SCMA MIT of any employees whose coverage is extended pursuant to this emergency amendment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please notify Kathryn Harris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Question: Will COBRA be affected by this change?
Answer: No, unless otherwise instructed by the group administrator, COBRA will continue to be available to any employee who loses coverage due to a qualifying event. This means that if an employee who has a qualifying event remains on layoff, termination, reduced hours or furlough after June 1, 2020, the employee will be able to elect COBRA at that time (subject to any earlier expiration of COBRA rights that may apply under the law).
6. Question: Will affected employees have to fulfill my group’s waiting period upon reinstatement?