Voya Employee Benefits | COVID-19 Resource Center

Frequently asked questions

General/Employee Support

The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for declaring whether a disease is a pandemic. They are currently providing daily situation briefings via their website. Additional resources are also available through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our Employee Assistance Program provider, ComPsych, has made the following tools available to all Voya Employee Benefits customers, including those who had not previously purchased EAP services:

  • This digital toolkit will help keep employees informed about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as offer guidance on how to remain healthy, work effectively from home, and deal with the emotional impacts of the outbreak.
  • A dedicated phone line has been established to connect employees and their families with a ComPsych representative that can walk them through this toolkit. To access, call 833‑515‑0759 Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 CDT, and identify as calling the Voya General Support and Resources line.

If a group currently has EAP services available through Voya Employee Benefits, employees can continue to access additional information by logging on to guidanceresources.com or calling 877‑533‑2363 for 24/7 support, resources, and information.

Our Travel Assistance provider, Europ Assistance USA, through Generali Global Assistance, is publishing regular updates specific to the COVID-19 outbreak, outlining the current state of the outbreak, public health regulations, recommendations for those traveling to affected regions, and keys to preventing infection. Access the updates through this link: https://us.generaliglobalassistance.com/media/news/. If a group currently has Voya Travel Assistance services in place, employees can continue to access the Voya Travel Assistance website or call 800‑859‑2821 any time for alerts and up-to-date information about specific locations to which they may be travelling.

At Voya, we are committed to investing in the communities where we live and work. In addition to our normal charitable giving efforts to support K-8 Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, K-12 STEM teacher training and educator engagement, and financial literacy programs for high school students, we have engaged in several different ways during this time of need. For example:

  1. Through the Voya Foundation — Voya’s charitable giving arm — we are collaborating with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) to provide multiple $5,000 grants to science and technology museums across the country. Funding will be utilized by each recipient to develop distance learning programming via videos and lesson plans, with the ultimate goal of maintaining STEM learning as our children and educators adapt to a new normal. The Voya Foundation Announces Distance Learning Funding for COVID-19 Relief press release outlines the details we have communicated.
  2. Additionally, we are continuing to provide financial assistance to our own Voya employees who have experienced loss due to/been affected by a government-declared disaster/emergency through an internal Voya Community Fund.
  3. Finally, Voya collaborates with Americares on emergency response efforts. Americares COVID-19 response focus is on the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection prevention and control (IPC) supplies to outbreak hotspots as well as training for frontline health workers. Americares has sent and continues to send shipments of PPE and IPC supplies to support partners across a growing majority of U.S. states with significant volume (more than 23 tons of supplies as of mid-April).
    • Americares is prioritizing shipments to facilities providing direct health care services and is coordinating with health facilities as well as federal, state and city officials to ensure PPE is distributed to facilities in need.
    • Americares has and continues to train healthcare workers to make enhanced, more-informed decisions when thinking about preparedness and response during the COVID-19 pandemic and future infectious disease outbreaks.
    • In Connecticut, where Americares has the largest network of free and charitable clinics in the state, we are preparing to provide surge medical staff to support a local hospital, if the need arises.

At Voya, we remain committed to supporting our employees, clients and communities as we work through these extraordinary times and will continue to evaluate new avenues that help drive the broadest positive impact.

Voya has instituted business continuity plans, including work from home capabilities for all employees, including our call-center and claims employees. We are making every effort to maintain our service levels, keeping in mind any agreed-upon service guarantees. We have not yet considered the performance guarantee impact and hope our clients will work with us during this unprecedented time and as we strive to continue to provide excellent service to our customers.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on workplaces around the world, and a key part of Voya culture is striving to “do the right thing” for our customers. In this environment, that means continuing to look for ways to ease our clients’ workload and administrative efforts during these uncertain times. With this in mind, we’re pleased to share that Voya Employee Benefits is renewing all life and disability customers with less than 500 employees with renewal dates between 5/1/20 and 8/1/20 with no change to the in force rates.

For supplemental health insurance products, a significant portion of our policies renew on January 1. Our underwriting area has already released offers on the vast majority of these policies, so we do not anticipate any impact on the delivery of renewals at this time.

We have suspended all onsite audits at this time. Audits will be accommodated once the current period of social distancing has subsided.

The Department of Labor has issued new guidance pertaining to COVID-related ERISA requirements. Their document announces the extension of certain timeframes under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code for group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, and participants and beneficiaries of these plans during the COVID-19 National Emergency. Voya has adjusted our claimant communications to reflect this new guidance and intends to comply with all requirements.

Premium Grace Periods

We are actively monitoring state emergency guidelines for premium grace period extensions and will implement state-specific mandates as we become aware of them.

  • For Life, Fully Insured Disability, ASO STD fees only (not including claims reimbursement),* Supplemental Health and Stop Loss products:
    For employers who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, unless we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, we will extend the premium grace period to the greater of:
    • 90 days; or
    • the grace period that is stated in your Policy; or
    • the length of time of your state’s specific guidance.
    This extended grace period also applies for insureds currently on direct billing, as well as our earlier generation supplemental health and individual life insurance products such as Premier Whole Life and Premier Universal Life, for which premiums are paid through payroll deduction.

In this rapidly changing environment, we are continually monitoring state guidelines. In the event states require a longer grace period, it is our intent to always adhere to the state’s guidance. Additionally, if you anticipate having any issues with being able to remit your premiums due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we ask that you please contact your client representative.

*Reimbursement of paid claims are billed and expected to be paid within our standard agreement terms. Please refer to your service agreement and refer any questions or concerns to your client representative.

Yes. An Executive Order was issued by Governor Cuomo on March 30 2020, together with recent amendments to the insurance and banking regulations (Emergency Regulation 216) issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services, that extends grace periods and gives individuals other rights under their life insurance policy/certificate if they have been experiencing hardship as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In response, we have sent this letter to our group policyholders sitused in New York, insureds covered under those group policies and to non-NY sitused policyholders for distribution to their NY resident employees. We have also sent this letter to all NY residents on direct billing for their life insurance.

In this rapidly changing environment, Voya is continually monitoring all state guidelines and will communicate to our policyholders and insureds as appropriate. In the event states require a communication or other accommodations, it is our intent to always adhere to the state’s guidance.

We realize this is a stressful time for you and your employees, and as such have extended our premium grace periods (refer to the question on Grace Period). This would apply to each invoice due and will be in place unless Voya determines such accommodation is no longer necessary.

As a self-administered plan, it is at the employer’s discretion as to how they collect premium due on behalf of their employees within the time frame described above.

If an employer needs to work directly with Voya on additional specifications of a payment plan, they should contact their Voya client representative.

Furlough/Workforce Reductions

If an employee experiences a furlough, temporary layoff, leave of absence, temporary reduction in hours or reduction in pay due to circumstances related to COVID-19, Voya will administratively extend a period of continuation.* This applies to all impacted employees on all inforce Voya Group Life, Disability and Supplemental Health insurance coverages to the earlier of:

  • 90 days or
  • the end of the period when an employee
    • is unable to work,
    • is working reduced hours
    • is not working from their usual work location, or
    • is receiving reduced pay

Due to the unique circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Voya is applying this administrative exception to all inforce policies without requiring individual amendments or contract changes. During this COVID-19 current environment, until Voya determines the accommodation is no longer necessary, for employees that are administratively impacted by COVID-19, Voya will treat furloughed employees as if the furlough is an approved continuation even if the Certificate does not explicitly state that furlough is an approved continuation event. The furloughed employees will remain eligible under the policy pursuant to the terms described herein. This administrative exception is being applied uniformly at the employer level.

For Disability Insurance where the benefit is dependent upon earnings:

  • For a furlough, layoff or leave of absence, Voya will utilize the higher of the employee’s gross salary or wages on the last day of Active Work before the furlough or leave began.
  • For a temporary reduction in hours or pay, Voya will utilize the higher of the employee's most recent gross salary or wages before the reduction in hours began.

For Group Life and Supplemental Health Insurance, Voya will utilize the amount of insurance in effect on the employee on the last day of Active Work before the furlough, temporary layoff/leave of absence/temporary reduction in hours/reduction in pay.

Premium payment is still required, subject to the policy’s premium grace period. Premiums should be based on the benefit levels in place before the furlough/layoff/leave of absence, reduction in hours/pay. If an eligible claim occurs while coverage is continued, the benefits will be payable in accordance with the Policy and Certificate.

Premier Whole Life and Premier Universal Life Insurance do not have a continuation of coverage provision, as they are life insurance policies individually owned by the employee, with premiums paid through payroll deduction. The extended grace period applies to the premiums for this insurance. See the separate FAQ for Grace Period for details.

In order to provide you the best possible service, please contact your client representative with the details of your workforce adjustments if you expect a change in your insured employee population due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

*Voya will provide the administrative extension of the continuation timeframe unless it determines the accommodation is no longer necessary. If the employer's policy already includes a provision that is more generous, the employer's policy will prevail. Voya will continue to monitor the current situation and will provide additional guidance as it becomes available.

**For Supplemental Group Life Term Insurance and Supplemental Health products only - Voya will allow up to 6 months of Continuation for furlough, temporary layoff/leave of absence, temporary reduction in hours/reduction in pay, as long as the employer is funding all employee-paid premium and remitting to Voya during the continuation period. This applies to groups where the furlough, temporary layoff/leave of absence, temporary reduction in hours/reduction in pay, began prior to January 1, 2021. Group Disability insurance continuation period remains at 90 days and the extension must start and end before January 1, 2021, unless the group's contract provisions otherwise allow. For example, if the furlough begins 12/1/20, the furlough extension will only extend through 12/31/20.

For Stop Loss Insurance, it is ultimately the employer’s responsibility to determine eligibility requirements for medical coverage. If medical coverage is still being continued and paid for, specific to individuals who have been put on furlough, lay off, temporary leave of absence, or other hourly reductions as a result of COVID-19, those individuals will also remain covered under the employer’s Stop Loss policy. However, to the extent such changes in eligibility result in a change in the number of covered persons under the Stop Loss policy, it may constitute a material change as defined under the stop loss policy.

As stated in our Policy, Voya must be notified of any Material Changes within 31 days. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted, but does require written notification of such changes.

Our position surrounding COBRA has not changed:

  • If the plan sponsor did not elect coverage for COBRA participants, no coverage would be provided under the stop loss policy.
  • If the plan sponsor elected to cover COBRA participants under the stop loss policy and there are covered persons newly eligible for COBRA benefits under the plan sponsors health benefit plan, those newly eligible who elect COBRA would be covered under the stop loss policy.

Please note to the extent the employer enacts changes that result in a change in the number of covered persons under the Stop Loss policy, it may constitute a material change as defined under the stop loss policy.

In order to provide you the best possible service, please contact your client representative with the details of your workforce adjustments if you expect a change in your insured employee population due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

For example, if an employee is currently not working but is being paid, will coverage still become effective on the initial effective date?

For Disability, Supplemental Health Insurance, and Group Life Insurance, the time that passes during an employee’s temporary layoff, furlough or leave of absence/reduction in hours is counted towards satisfaction of the eligibility waiting period. Employees must be actively at work for insurance to become effective.

For employees that are administratively impacted by COVID-19, while our contract language would typically require an employee be actively at work for insurance to become effective, employees who initially elected coverage while actively at work but were later placed on furlough, layoff or saw a leave of absence/reduction in hours that extended beyond their original anticipated effective date, will still be considered actively at work for the purpose of allowing coverage to become effective as intended. All other contract provisions and guidance applies.

For employees who elect coverage during a furlough, layoff or leave of absence/reduction in hours and are not actively at work, their coverage effective date will be the date they return to active work status. All other contract provisions and guidance applies.

Many policies include a rehire provision that provides that previous active employment accrues towards meeting the eligibility waiting period. Please review your current policy and reach out to your Voya client representative if you have any questions or concerns.

During this COVID-19 current environment until Voya determines the accommodation is no longer necessary, for employees that are administratively impacted by COVID-19, Voya will consider the time that passes during an employee’s temporary layoff, furlough or leave of absence/reduction in hours to be counted towards satisfaction of the Supplemental Health insurance plan’s benefit waiting period. All other contract provisions and guidance apply.

See the separate FAQ on Eligibility Waiting Period for additional details on accommodations for when insurance becomes effective during this COVID-19 environment.

If employers are not payroll-deducting premium for employees with voluntary coverages such as employee-paid Group Supplemental Life, Disability or Supplemental Health Insurance, coverage may be cancelled for these employees.

For Group Supplemental Life and Group Supplemental Health insurance, benefit cancellation is a trigger for Portability and/or Conversion, which gives employees the option to continue their coverage by paying premiums directly to the insurer.

Portability or Conversion does not apply to Premier Whole Life and Premier Universal Life. These products are individually owned plans which contain specific options for policy continuation as well as contractual nonforfeiture options available to insureds. Employees should refer to their policies for additional information on these options.

See the separate FAQs on Portability and Conversion as well as the FAQ on how to populate the ongoing eligibility/ participant files for details. Please reach out to your Voya client representative if you have additional questions.

For Group Term Life insurance, an employee who is terminated due to circumstances related to COVID-19 and who, within 6 months returns to work from an approved temporary lay-off, furlough/leave of absence/reduction in hours, will be enrolled or be able to enroll in the full amount of coverage they maintained prior to the event with no evidence of insurability required, unless Voya determines this is no longer necessary. This process would be managed by the Employer based upon their standard method of enrollment.

The 6 months begins on the date of the initial layoff. However if, the furlough/temporary layoff starts, stops and restarts, we will extend an additional 6 month period as long as the last leave begins prior to January 1, 2021. Exceptions past this date will be considered on a case by case basis.

For Group or Voluntary Disability insurance, if a pre-existing condition limitation (pre-ex) applies to the coverage, and the employee re-enrolls in disability insurance within 6 months, the pre-ex provision is based upon the employee’s original earlier effective date.

To implement this change at the customer level, it must first be confirmed that the employer's benefit administration provider can administer according to these rules.

For Premier Whole Life and Premier Universal Life, this 6 month exception for evidence of insurability upon reinstatement does not apply. These products are individually owned, with premiums paid through payroll deduction and do not have continuation provisions. Voya has extended the grace period for the payment of premiums. See the separate Grace Period FAQ for details on this extended premium grace period. If coverage lapses due to non-payment of premiums, these policies allow for reinstatement with satisfactory evidence of insurability with payment of back premiums that were due during the lapsed period.

Please note for any period of time, while coverage is lapsed, the employee is not eligible for benefits under any life or disability insurance group policies.

Voya’s Supplemental Health insurance products do not have a reinstatement provision. If the employer considers a return from temporary lay-off, furlough*/leave of absence/reduction in hours or reduction in pay as newly eligible for coverage or a qualified life event, employees who return to work will be able to re-enroll in Supplemental Health insurance coverage. No evidence of insurability is ever required for our supplemental health products. If a pre-existing condition limitation (pre-ex) applies to the coverage, and the employee re-enrolls within 6 months, the pre-ex consideration is based upon the employee’s earlier original enrollment effective date. Any additional coverage amount over the original benefit amount is subject to the pre-existing condition limitation.

Employees have the option to re-enroll at any future open enrollment periods as well as during a new hire/newly eligible period or upon a qualified life event. If the employee enrolls after the 6 month exception period, any pre-existing condition limitation, if applicable, will begin at the new updated coverage effective date.

This process would be managed by the Employer based upon their standard method of enrollment.

Please review your contract and contact your Voya client representative if you have questions.

For employers who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, unless we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, Voya has extended both the policy premium grace periods and continuation of coverage periods. See the separate FAQs for Premium Grace Period and Continuation of Coverage for details and timing of these administrative extensions. Voya is also continually monitoring state guidelines on extensions during this rapidly changing environment.

Employers or their designated benefits administrator are responsible for sending Voya an ongoing file outlining employees eligible for Supplemental Health coverage. During this time of extended continuation of coverage and grace periods, employees on furlough, temporary layoff, leave of absence or reduction in hours should remain on the ongoing file as eligible for coverage as long as premium is anticipated to be paid during this continuation period.

If an employee’s termination is permanent, the employee’s “Employment Termination Date” should be entered in the benefits administration system and sent on the eligibility file. Voya will cancel coverage as of that date, which will trigger a portability offer to be sent to the employee's address listed on the file. Employment Termination Dates should only be sent on the file if the employee's termination is permanent.

Employees may continue to voluntarily cancel their coverage during this time. See the separate FAQ regarding coverage cancellations. Voluntary cancellations of coverage are reported in the “Benefit Termination Date” field. Voya will cancel that employee’s coverage as of this voluntary cancellation date reported on the file.

If the employer has determined that they will not be collecting premium for the extended continuation and grace periods, coverage should be reported as “Terminated” in the “Benefit Termination Date” field. Employers should contact their client representative to discuss portability options in this situation.

Voya will work with employers to determine the best course of action after the extended Continuation of Coverage and Premium Grace Periods for updating eligibility files. If you have additional questions or concerns on the administrative handling of files, please contact your Voya client representative.

For employers who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, Voya has extended both the policy premium grace periods and continuation of coverage periods. See the separate FAQs for Premium Grace Period and Continuation of Coverage for details and timing of these administrative extensions. Voya is also continually monitoring state guidelines on extensions during this rapidly changing environment.

As self-administered plans, employers or their designated benefits administrator who send Voya an ongoing termination file, are responsible for noting those individuals who have terminated employment and are eligible for portability or conversion.

During this time of extended continuation of coverage and grace periods, employees on furlough, temporary layoff, leave of absence or reduction in hours should not be added to the portability and conversion termination file while they are covered under an approved Continuation of Coverage period.

Once an employee’s termination is permanent, the employee’s “Employment Termination Date” should be entered in the benefits administration system and sent on the portability and conversion termination file. Voya will cancel coverage as of that date, which will trigger a portability offer to be sent to the employee’s address listed on the file.

Employees may continue to voluntarily cancel their coverage during this time. See the separate FAQ regarding coverage cancellations.

If the employer has determined that they will not be collecting premium for the extended continuation and grace periods, coverage should be updated in the benefits administration system as “Terminated”. Employers should contact their client representative to discuss portability options.

Voya will work with employers to determine the best course of action after the extended Continuation of Coverage and Premium Grace Periods for updating eligibility files. If you have additional questions or concerns on the administrative handling of files, please contact your Voya client representative.

We will consider these circumstances on a case by case basis; please notify your Voya client representative as soon as possible if you have questions.

These terms are standardly addressed in your policy termination of coverage and continuation provisions. See the Continuation of Coverage FAQ for additional details. Please review your contract and contact your Voya client representative if you have questions.

Voya must be notified of any changes in your employee population within 31 days. Voya will extend the policy to allow for notification of any change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes.

Voya standardly reserves the right to rerate the policy due to any material changes. This includes, but is not limited to, an increase or decrease in the number of Employees that exceeds standard percentages noted in your policy. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes. Voya will review employer specifics and determine if any rating impacts are necessary on a case-by-case basis.

Portability and Conversion

If Voya is handling the Portability and Conversion notifications using a regular data feed from the employer or a third-party “benefits administration” vendor, we do not expect there to be an issue with providing timely notification of Portability or Conversion rights. Our standard policy language allows for 31 days following insurance termination or change in eligibility in order to apply for Portability and Conversion.

For employers who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, Voya is extending the late notice period to apply for Portability and Conversion to 90 days for Group Term Life insurance products.

For Group Life Insurance, if the insured person dies during the initial contractual 31 day timeframe, a death claim is payable whether or not an application for Portability or Conversion was received.

After that initial 31 days, we are granting the insured person more time to apply, but no coverage is in force until an application is received. This extension of the late notice period to apply for Portability does not extend the time in which an insured person is covered under the group policy, unless a state requires otherwise.

In this rapidly changing environment, we are continually monitoring state guidelines. In the event states require longer periods for late notice or claims payment, it is our intent to always adhere to the state’s requirement. For specific questions on state guidelines, contact your Voya client representative.

Additionally, if you anticipate having any issues with being able to manage the Portability and Conversion process due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please contact your Voya client representative.

If Voya is handling the Portability notifications using a regular data feed from the employer or a third-party “benefits administration” vendor, we do not expect there to be an issue with providing timely notification of Portability rights for Supplemental Health products. Our standard policy language allows for 31 days following insurance termination or change in eligibility in order to apply for Portability.

For employers who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, Voya is extending the late notice period for Portability applications to 90 days for Supplemental Health insurance products.

If an insured person experiences a covered event during this extended 90 day late notice period for Portability applications, a claim is only payable if Voya has received an application for Portability and premiums are paid within the extended 90 day Portability late notice period.

In this rapidly changing environment, we are continually monitoring state guidelines. In the event states require longer periods for late notice or claims payment, it is our intent to always adhere to the state’s requirement. For specific questions on state guidelines, contact your Voya client representative.

Additionally, if you anticipate having any issues with being able to manage the Portability process due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please contact your Voya client representative.

Premier Whole Life Insurance or Premier Universal Life products do not have portability or conversion provisions, as they are life insurance policies individually owned by the employee, with premiums paid through payroll deduction.

See the separate FAQ on the Grace Period extension for details and timing of the collection of premiums for Premier Whole Life or Premier Universal Life plans. These policies also contain specific options for policy continuation as well as contractual nonforfeiture options available to insureds in the event of non-payment of premiums. Refer to the policy for additional information regarding these options.

In this rapidly changing environment, we are continually monitoring state guidelines. In the event states require longer grace periods for premium payments, it is our intent to always adhere to the state’s requirement. For specific questions on state guidelines, contact your Voya client representative.

Voya will accept electronic signatures on forms necessary to effectuate an insurance transaction. The use of electronic signatures during this time will be given the same legal effect as a handwritten signature and deemed to be the signing party’s intent to execute the agreement. This includes typewritten signatures in the applicable fields, so long as the document is provided in a manner which will allow Voya to retain a copy of the record reflecting the application of the electronic signature.

Policy Administration

Outside of the administrative exceptions we have already outlined, our standard requirement is that plan changes are validated by the employer by either a signed amendment or email confirmation. If you feel there could be disruption in your ability to confirm in either of these ways, please reach out to your Voya client representative.

Voya will accept electronic signatures on forms necessary to effectuate an insurance transaction. The use of electronic signatures during this time will be given the same legal effect as a handwritten signature and deemed to be the signing party’s intent to execute the agreement. This includes typewritten signatures in the applicable fields, so long as the document is provided in a manner which will allow Voya to retain a copy of the record reflecting the application of the electronic signature.

Leave

Voya's business continuity plan provides the detailed steps necessary during a catastrophe to be functional within four hours with a recovery point objective of no data loss, and to enable manual processes to occur in the meantime. Outlined below is a brief description of the steps we take to ensure that our customers' employees do not experience a disruption in service in the case of such an event:

  • Invoke the predefined call re-routing process to immediately route all calls to backup locations. This process is in place and is tested on a monthly basis to ensure reliability.
  • Relocate any required incremental staff to backup locations, including their homes, to handle the call volume.
  • Execute the technology and facility management business continuity plans.

If an eligible employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they would qualify for FMLA and State leave.

If an eligible employee's child, spouse or parent has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee would qualify for FMLA and State leave.

If an employee has no symptoms, but is in quarantine, he or she would not qualify for FMLA leave. It does not meet the Department of Labor's definition of a serious health condition.

Disability Income Insurance - General

We are practicing reason and applying appropriate leniency for extension of benefits when doctor visits are delayed due to COVID-19 precautions.

As with all claims, we rely on the submitted claim forms and medical data and/or a physician's medical certification to determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. We are practicing reason and applying appropriate leniency for allowing additional time for submission of claim documentation.

We rely on medical data and/or a physician's medical certification to determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Eligibility is dependent upon the contract/policy language, including the Policy/Certificate's definition of disability. We will evaluate suspected cases of COVID-19 the same as any other medical condition to determine if the severity of symptoms precludes the individual from performing his/her occupational duties.

Short Term Disability Income Insurance

If an employee is quarantined, but does not have symptoms, or symptoms allow them to work, they would generally not be considered to meet the definition of disability.

Closure of an office would generally not be considered to meet the definition of disability under an STD or LTD contract.

If an employee is unable to work during a period of medically required confinement due to sickness, they could be considered to meet the definition of disability. As with all claims, we rely on medical data and/or a physician's medical certification to determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Eligibility is dependent upon the contract/policy language, including the contract/policy's definition of disability.

At this time, we are not waiving required substantiation, including the need for a medical certification. We have a proactive claims model and will continue to do physician reach outs to facilitate claim decision. If we are able to approve with medical information over the phone, we seek to do that whenever possible. We will continue to monitor the situation, including any change in state requirements, and discuss alternatives during this time of uncertainty with COVID-19 and will communicate to our clients, should this position need to change in the future.

Group Life Insurance

Claims that are submitted for Life Insurance death benefits related to COVID-19 would be payable to beneficiaries subject to the provisions in the policy and the certificate of coverage. Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefits would not be payable under the group's AD&D rider. The diagnosis of COVID-19 is an illness, which is excluded from AD&D coverage. Standard limitations and exclusions (if any) would apply.

Critical Illness/Specified Disease Insurance

The insured is able to file a claim anytime they feel they have a covered event. Under Critical Illness Insurance, the Infectious Disease Benefit requires that the insured individual be diagnosed with a severe infectious disease on or after their coverage effective date and that results in the insured being confined in a hospital or a transitional care facility for a specified number of consecutive days in order for the benefit to payout. The Infectious Disease benefit is offered under the Quality of Life Module for CI2 and Module B under CI1 if the employer has elected to offer those modules. Under CI1, "Infectious Disease" is selected at the group-level and either included or not included in the module. We encourage insured persons to file a claim should they feel they are eligible for a benefit and ask that you refer to the policy and/or certificate for additional information.

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Yes, an insured is able to file a claim anytime they feel they have a covered event. Hospital Indemnity Insurance provides benefits for insured individuals who may experience a hospital confinement. The diagnosis does not factor into their benefit eligibility as it is based on the confinement. When eligible, we would pay out the total number of days the insured is continuously confined up to the maximum allowed based on the plan design. In the event an insured person dies, under HI1, the benefit would be paid to the estate.

Accident Insurance

An insured individual may always file a claim if they feel they are eligible for benefits and a determination will be made through the claims review and based on provisions of their coverage. In general, however, our Accident Insurance provides benefits for a covered accidental event that occurs on or after their coverage effective date. The diagnosis of COVID-19 would not be considered an accident, but instead an illness, which is excluded from coverage.

Some employers may have an Accident policy that includes a Sickness Hospital Confinement Rider, which provides benefits for insureds who experience a hospital confinement due to an illness, which would include COVID-19. After satisfying any applicable waiting periods, Voya will pay daily hospitalization confinement benefits for the total number of days of continuous confinement, up to the plan’s daily maximum. Please review your Group Policy or Certificate of Coverage and any riders for additional information.

Yes, under Voya’s Accident plan, both the Initial Doctor Visit and Follow-up Doctor Treatment benefits would be eligible for payment if covered services were received via a virtual or telemedicine visit. These benefits do not specify that the insured has to physically be in a hospital or a physician’s office to be eligible for benefits.

For employers and employees who are administratively impacted by COVID-19, until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary, if an insured receives treatment via a virtual visit for covered Physical or Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy benefits, these claims will be eligible for benefit payment.

Emergency Room and Urgent Care Facility would not be eligible for benefit payments for virtual or telemedicine visits, as both require services or treatment to be received in those locations, as defined in the policy.

For all benefits, the accidental injury must occur while the insured is covered under the policy. Appropriate documentation confirming the telemedicine services must be provided with the claim submission, including confirmation that the treatment sought for the accidental injury occurred within the plan’s benefit timeframes. See the separate FAQ for Accident treatment timing during this COVID-19 environment.

Note that this communication does not confirm eligibility for a benefit. Filing a claim may require any necessary medical records or proof of claim as determined during the review process.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefits would not be payable under the group’s Accident Insurance plan for a death from the COVID-19. The diagnosis of COVID-19 is an illness, which is excluded from Accident coverage.

During this COVID-19 contagion period, hospitals and healthcare professionals are focusing on providing appropriate care for those infected with the virus. Insureds may discover that elective, non-emergency surgeries have been put on hold.

During this COVID-19 period, Voya will not require that claims meet the treatment timing limitations under the Accident Care and Common Injury benefits provisions. In addition, the time period to file claims will be extended to allow a reasonable timeframe for submission. The accidental injury must have occurred while the insured is covered under the policy and all other plan exclusions will continue to apply.

We encourage insured persons to file a claim should they feel they are eligible for a benefit and ask that you refer to the policy and/or certificate of coverage for additional information.

Supplemental Health - General

For those administratively impacted by COVID-19, the claim proof of loss filing periods will be extended by 30 days from what your certificate states unless we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. The covered condition diagnosis, sickness or injury must have occurred while the insured is covered under the policy and all other plan exclusions will continue to apply.

We encourage insured persons to file a claim should they feel they are eligible for a benefit and ask that you refer to the policy and/or certificate of coverage for additional information.

If you anticipate your employees having any issues with being able to provide timely proof of loss due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please contact your client representative.

Supplemental Health coverages may also include a Wellness Benefit, which pays an annual benefit if an insured undergoes a covered health screening test. A COVID-19 screening test would be considered a covered health screening under this benefit, regardless of the result of such test. During this COVID-19 current environment, until Voya determines the accommodation is no longer necessary, Voya will consider virtual telemedicine wellness examinations as eligible for wellness benefits.

If the insured is covered under multiple Supplemental Health products offered by Voya that include the wellness benefit, they are eligible for an annual wellness payment under each coverage. Please review your Group Policy or Certificate of Coverage and any riders for additional information.

It is highly unlikely that a pre-existing limitation exclusion would preclude us from paying a COVID-19 infectious disease benefit under a CI or HI policy. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms alone would not necessarily exclude benefit payments under the pre-existing condition limitation exclusion if the insured did not seek medical treatment for the condition prior to the effective date of their plan. If a customer's plan includes a pre-existing condition limitation, infectious disease claims submitted during the limitation period will be reviewed and paid according to the certificate language.

We encourage insured persons to file a claim should they feel they are eligible for a benefit and refer them to the policy and/or certificate of coverage for additional information.

Stop Loss

Stop Loss Insurance is offered by Voya Employee Benefits. This coverage is underwritten by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company and ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York, members of the Voya® family of companies (the company):

Yes. If any testing fees or expenses related to COVID-19 are considered eligible expenses under the employer's plan due to COVID-19, they will be considered eligible under the Stop Loss policy.

Yes. Any expenses will be considered eligible under the company’s Stop Loss policy as long as those expenses are eligible under the employer’s plan. This also includes waiving health plan deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, virtual visits, and telemedicine and, early refills of medication to ensure participants have a 30-day supply will also apply.

If these expenses were not covered under the plan at the time of underwriting and the employer is making a mid-year plan change, this does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes.

As stated in our Policy, Voya must be notified of any Material Changes within 31 days. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes. We will not rerate or change aggregate factors, premium or coverage under the stop-loss policy solely as a result of this change.

Voya will allow the following to apply under the stop loss coverage. No prior notification to Voya is required.

  • Waiver of health plan deductibles, co-pays and cost sharing on covered participants for COVID-19 testing.
  • Waiver of cost sharing for virtual visits or telemedicine.
  • Early refills of medication to ensure participants have a 30-day supply.

For all other COVID-19 plan changes and as stated in our Policy, Voya must be notified of any Material Changes within 31 days. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes.

Stop Loss policies include clearly stated Exclusions & Limitations along with any plan mirroring that will apply via the Plan Mirroring endorsement in your policy. You will continue to be reimbursed in accordance with your plan document.

We understand and are sensitive to the fact that this situation may arise. As we have done in the past, we will work closely with our clients and do our best accommodate requests for expedited claims processing. Please note: any requests for expedited processing should be clearly stated within the claim submission and we will require complete claim information before the claim can be expedited.

Claim proof of loss filing periods will be extended by 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary.

For example: for a policy effective 10/1/2018 with a paid contract period, normally proof of loss would be required by 3/31/2020. We will extend the proof of loss period to 4/30/2020.

If you anticipate having any issues with being able to provide timely proof of loss due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please contact your client representative.

Voya will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis. In addition, claim proof of loss filing periods will be extended by 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary.

For example, for a policy effective 10/1/2018 with a paid contract period, normally proof of loss would be required by 3/31/2020. We will extend the proof of loss period to 4/30/2020.

If you anticipate having any issues with being able to provide timely proof of loss due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please contact your client representative.

Voya standardly reserves the right to rerate the policy due to any material changes. This includes, but is not limited to, an increase or decrease in the number of Covered Persons and Covered Dependents that exceeds 15%. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes. Voya will review employer specifics and determine if any rating impacts are necessary on a case-by-case basis.

As stated in our Policy, Voya must be notified of any Material Changes within 31 days. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes.

No, we will not introduce or, change minimum premium requirements or floors. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes.

Yes. As stated in our Policy, Voya must be notified of any Material Changes within 31 days. Voya will extend the Material Change provision in the policy to allow for notification of any material change by an additional 30 days for those administratively impacted by COVID-19 until we determine such accommodations are no longer necessary. This does not require an amended plan document to be submitted but, does require written notification of such changes. Please review your policy for additional information and notify your client representative of any material changes.

No. If the insured person is working from an alternate location at the direction of (or approved by) the employer, that would be considered actively-at-work.

Voya has reviewed the temporary and permanent guidance related to Section 125 Cafeteria Plans issued by the IRS on May 12, 2020. Voya will support mid-year plan changes for those already enrolled or for those that have a qualified life event. We do not view this as a material change and therefore, there will be no impact to the current Stop Loss rates. As it relates to allowing new enrollees that previously declined coverage, Voya will consider requests on a case-by-case basis and determine if any rating impacts apply. The employer should notify Voya if they intend to amend their section 125 cafeteria plan to provide for mid-year election changes for employer-sponsored health coverage.