For more of our coronavirus coverage, visit epicbrokers.com/coronavirus
Viewpoints from Craig Hasday
Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I’ve been stretching to do what I have always sought to do – be an indispensable partner to my clients. I’m fortunate that my universe has expanded and along with that, the resources that I can provide.
This is truly a new frontier for all of us, as we wrestle with this interim stage between the old reality and the new normal. My job was difficult enough when my aim was entirely focused on healthcare costs but now, while employers are still acutely focused on cost, they are also immensely concerned with the well-being of their employees. The degree of my clients’ social responsibility has been overwhelmingly gratifying and has strengthened my resolve to help. Even where furloughs, layoffs and hour reductions are necessary, employers seem to care – and care a lot – about how their entire workforce, past and present, will make it through.
So, finding creative avenues to deliver affordable care has been a priority at EPIC. We quickly embraced and advocated telemedicine and mail-order drugs. We offered benefit solutions to those losing employer-sponsored care, including suggesting urgent and routine care partnership products and voluntary plans to make up for lost employer benefits. Our compliance team delivered guidance on federal and state legislation as an urgent priority, ensuring that our clients had access to the rapid onslaught of laws and regulations which became the lifeblood of those needing medical care, income replacement and simply some order around how their lives would be impacted by this chaos.
We conducted a market pulse benchmark survey to help our clients understand how other employers are responding to COVID-19, and our recent efforts to conduct webinars on coronavirus issues have been delivered to hundreds of employers. We’ve had sessions with healthcare professionals discussing the realities of the pandemic and next week, we’ll be hosting a discussion with a major hospital system about vaccine realities. We rolled out a series of employee communications covering COVID-19, created a dedicated coronavirus resource page, and covered return-to-work issues in a recent blog post and alert – I would urge you to look out for more updates on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We’re currently developing tools to aid employers on upcoming open enrollments and onboarding/outboarding employees in a virtual world, which will be needed in the not-too-distant future.
And as the truly urgent issues settle down, we are building models that estimate the cost impact of COVID-19 on health plans – and we’re about to introduce a model estimating the financial implications to workers’ compensation insurance programs. These costs are tough to project, but our actuarial teams are plowing through available financial statistics and studies to develop credible models. As far as I can tell, EPIC was the first to predict that the impact of deferral of non-coronavirus-related care would likely result in reduced healthcare costs for most employers.
As employers move to the next stage – while we’re not offering medical or legal advice on return to work, we are collecting information on vendors that direct services in this area and can provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to worksites. We’re also rethinking workplace wellness with a focus on emotional well-being, which no doubt will be a concern for many employers.
As you read this, you may be considering how your broker has helped during this crisis. Hopefully, they have been as comprehensive as EPIC – but if not, we are here.
Join the conversation – participate in our “Return to Work” and other In It Together pulse surveys, our COVID-19 strategic collaboration and idea-sharing forum. Visit epicbrokers.com/insights/preparing-for-the-new-normal
President, National Employee Benefits Practice