If you have lost health insurance coverage or are currently uninsured you may be eligible for Medicaid or enrollment in a qualified health plan. Please call Vermont Health Connect at 1-855-899-9600 to learn more. Information is also available at https://info.healthconnect.vermont.gov/QualifyingEvents.
In response to the pandemic, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has filed rule changes to avoid any adverse impact that COVID-19 claims might have on an employer’s Workers Compensation premiums. The Department of Financial Regulation has approved these changes so that COVID-19 claims will not be used in experience rating and merit rating plans. In making these revisions, the NCCI recognizes that COVID-19 claims do not provide a reliable measurement for predicting a safe workplace or future claim costs for an employer. These changes reflect the fact that pandemics are generally considered to be catastrophes, like terrorism or earthquakes. Claims caused by these catastrophic perils are also excluded from experience rating.
COVID-19 modeling continues to indicate that Vermonters are significantly slowing the spread of the virus by adhering to the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe guidelines. While the order remains in effect, the Administration is taking a phased, cautious, and evidence-based approach to putting Vermonters back to work.
Accordingly, the Department of Financial Regulation is providing insurance guidance for businesses affected by COVID-19, and for those that remain closed or operating with limited capacity.
Governor Phil Scott and the Department of Financial Regulation announced an emergency regulation requiring commercial insurers to waive cost-sharing requirements, such as co-payments, coinsurance or deductible requirements, for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. The emergency regulation is retroactive to March 13, 2020, the date that Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency.
Numerous auto insurance companies have filed plans to return premiums, pay dividends, or reduce their rates for Vermont policyholders due to reduced driving during the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans will amount to about $15.4 million in savings for Vermonters.
This guidance covers Workers Compensation in the time of COVID-19 as it pertains to Payroll, Furloughed Workers, Change in Operations, and Reduced Payroll.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, insurers have proposed various plans to reduce rates, return premiums or issue premium credits or dividends to their insureds. These plans should be filed on SERFF, and DFR will expedite their review, usually within one day.
Commissioner Michael Pieciak today announced the approval of a plan submitted by Allstate and its affiliate insurance companies to reduce their auto insurance premiums for Vermont policyholders by approximately 15% due to reduced driving during the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will amount to over $500,000 in savings for Vermonters.
March 30, 2020
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation issued a new emergency regulation regarding COVID-19 and Telehealth Services.
The emergency rule requires health insurers and workers' compensation insurance carriers to provide coverage for clinically appropriate health care services delivered remotely through telehealth or audio-only telephone on the same basis as in-person consultations. It also requires health insurers to cover telephone triage calls without member cost sharing, and temporarily waives compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) consistent with federal guidance.
Read Regulation H-2020-02-E, Coverage of Health Care Services Delivered Through Telehealth, Telephone, or Store and Forward Means.
March 19, 2020
On March 19, 2020, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation issued a memo regarding COVID-19 and Telemedicine Services urging health insurers to expand coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine services, including audio-only telephone, email, or facsimile where clinically appropriate. Telemedicine services are an important tool in practicing social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
March 23, 2020
On March 13, 2020 Governor Phil Scott today issued an executive order to declare a state of emergency in Vermont in response to COVID-19, commonly known as the new coronavirus. Accordingly, the Department of Financial Regulation requests that all insurance companies provide their policyholders with a reasonable grace period to pay insurance premiums to avoid policies being cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
March 20, 2020
DFR filed emergency rule H-2020-01-E in response to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor of the State of Vermont on March 16, 2020 regarding the outbreak of COVID-19. The purpose of this emergency rule is to relax provider credentialing requirements in order to facilitate the reimbursement through commercial insurance during the State of Emergency for health care services provided by physicians or other health care professionals who hold an equivalent license in another State.
March 20, 2020
On March 20, 2020, DFR issued guidance regarding Commercial Lines Premiums related to mandatory closures due to COVID-19. This includes encouraging insurance carriers to be flexible with premium payment plans and premium deposit requirements for businesses that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation actions, along with other provisions.
March 18, 2020
Effective immediately, the department is directing insurers to suspend all routine provider audits. Insurers remain able to conduct audits to prevent and detect ongoing fraud or other current activities that may violate Vermont statutes or regulations. Insurance Bulletin #211 serves to ensure that healthcare providers are able to focus attention on providing care to Vermonters during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than responding to routine audits.
March 17, 2020
The Department of Financial Regulation has developed COVID-19 and Business Income Insurance guidance to address numerous questions from the business community in Vermont.
The NAIC has also posted an Insurance Brief: COVID-19 and Insurance which provides a good overview of how different types of policies respond to losses related to COVID-19, including Travel, Health, Life, Annuities, Business Interuption, Workers' Compensation, and other insurance.
March 16, 2020
On March 16, 2020, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation issued Insurance Bulletin #210 regarding COVID-19 Prescription Drug Refills. The purpose of this bulletin is intended to ensure that health insurance plans regulated by the Department of Financial Regulation continue to provide access to prescription drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This bulletin applies to health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.
March 13, 2020
For any Workers’ Compensation Adjuster, who was granted a continuing education extension, that was planning to attend the workers compensation adjuster CE program in May 2020 but is now unable to travel due to COVID-19, that individual should contact DFR as soon as possible, but no later than March 31, 2020 and request another extension to attend the next available program.
March 6, 2020
The purpose of Insurance Bulletin #209 is to instruct all health insurers that provide comprehensive health care coverage, including non-profit hospital and medical service corporations, health maintenance organizations, association health plans, multiple employer welfare arrangements, student health plans, and governmental plans, to take action related to the potential impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Vermont.
On March 13, 2020 Governor Phil Scott issued an executive order to declare a state of emergency in Vermont in response to COVID-19, commonly known as the new coronavirus. Accordingly, the Department of Financial Regulation has requested that all insurance companies provide their policyholders with a reasonable grace period to pay insurance premiums to avoid policies being cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
If you are having trouble paying your premium due to loss of income because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Vermont Health Connect website at healthconnect.vermont.gov. You may be eligible for additional premium subsidy for your qualified health plan, or to enroll in Medicaid and Dr. Dynasaur, part of a family of low-cost and free health coverage programs for Vermonters available at no cost to you.