Instant Insights / How the Coronavirus Affects HR, Benefits, and Retirement Professionals

Dealing with COVID-19's massive impact on employers, employee benefits, 401(k) and pension plans, health insurance, and more.


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The looming U.S. business shutdowns stands to affect the paychecks of 82 million Americans who are paid hourly; that is 60 percent of the entire workforce.  In the past few weeks, key industries for voluntary benefits such as restaurants, hotels, public schools, and other service sectors have shuttered for an indeterminate period of time.  And unfortunately, voluntary benefits are disproportionately skewed towards these hourly workers and sectors.

Given this “new normal,” payroll deductions of voluntary benefits for hourly workers are in jeopardy due to reduced hours and business closures.  Think about it: What percent of your business will be disrupted if just one full payroll cycle is missed; much less the eight weeks being recommended by the CDC for any gathering of 50 or more (which would be most restaurants, schools, etc.)? Even a few weeks can create a billing and payment issue for your business clients and policyholders.

Especially during this health care crisis, policyholders need to be able to retain their valuable STD and hospital coverages that cover expenses associated with the coronavirus.  Most carriers have already published their COVID-19 responses in terms of coverage, and the good news is many plans will cover coronavirus issues.  And because of the current environment, businesses are actually calling VB agents and brokers requesting any plans that cover coronavirus-related issues. And that can be great for sales!

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