The COVID-19 pandemic — or coronavirus — has created unprecedented challenges for businesses and employees across the United States. We are working to provide you with the information you need to manage your benefits and assist your employees.
Here you will find information that answers many of your questions and helps you locate additional resources. Some of the answers confirm existing policies or procedures. Others indicate where we are temporarily making exceptions to better support our customers during the pandemic.
Please note that any exception to a policy provision only applies if that provision is included in the policy. Unless otherwise noted, all other policy provisions continue to apply.
Exceptions may be reevaluated, corrected or limited at any time. We will communicate any revisions promptly.
Important note about premium payments: We will continue to cover employees under the circumstances described in the FAQs below as long as premiums continue to be paid.
How do I manage my account?
The easiest way to manage your account and perform regular benefits admin tasks — even if you are unable to access your workplace — is through the Colonial Life Client portal. Visit www.coloniallife.com to log in and access your account.
You’ll be able to see your employees’ policies, run reports, review payments and bills and much more, at your convenience.
If you are not a registered user, go to www.coloniallife.com and click the register option to gain access. For help registering for the website, email email@example.com. For additional support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Plan Administrator support line at 1-800-256-7004.
Who do I speak with if I have questions about my account?
You can continue to work with your local Colonial Life agent to manage your account and receive answers to your questions. Additionally, you can call our Plan Administrator support line at 1-800-256-7004.
If I receive a paper bill and I’m unable to go to the office to receive my bill, are there others way to get it?
If you are registered on Colonial Life for Clients, visit www.coloniallife.com, and log in to receive your bill. If you are not a registered user, go to www.coloniallife.com and click the register option to gain access. For help registering for the website, email email@example.com or call 800-256-7004. For other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Plan Administrator support line 800-256-7004.
Do Colonial Life's products and services cover coronavirus-related claims?
Several Colonial Life products cover COVID-19 related claims. We will follow the provisions in our policies to determine what benefits are payable, as we would for any other diagnosis. Below is additional information on how our products cover COVID-19 related claims:
Short term disability: If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 and becomes disabled as defined in the policy, a claim for short term disability would likely cover the policyholder after the elimination period is met. Individuals who are quarantined without a diagnosis and not sick generally would not have payable claims under short term disability.
Hospital indemnity: Individuals who are admitted or confined to the hospital after a COVID-19 diagnosis may be eligible for benefits, provided all other provisions of the policy are met.
Life insurance: COVID-19 is not an excluded illness for our life insurance products. Benefits would be paid according to policy provisions.
Critical illness: COVID-19 is not considered a covered condition under our critical illness products.
Accident: Accident products do not provide benefits for the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19, except where the product includes a sickness hospital confinement or admission rider, which provides benefits due to the confinement of a covered sickness.
Wellness benefits: Tests for exposure to the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, are not currently covered under the wellness benefit. Screening tests under this benefit are encouraged for prevention of disease, not diagnosis. In addition, as test kits are currently limited, we do not want to encourage unnecessary testing or increase load on the healthcare system. We will continue to closely monitor the legislative actions around testing, which may diminish any out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus tests.
Is an individual who is quarantined but not sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 considered disabled?
Generally, we do not consider quarantined workers to be disabled unless they have a medical condition that results in restrictions and limitations that satisfy a policy’s definition of disability. This includes the requirement that the individual be under the regular care of a licensed physician or doctor as a result of the medical condition.
Can employees maintain their inforce coverage while they are quarantined and unable to work?
Yes, as long as premiums are paid.
Can employees maintain their inforce coverage during furloughs, temporary layoffs, leaves of absence or reductions in hours worked?
Yes. During this emergency, and provided premiums continue to be paid, we will continue to cover employees who are not currently working for their employers or who experience a reduction in hours or salary, under these conditions:
For individually owned products:
For group-based products:
Temporary layoff, furlough or leave of absence means you are temporarily absent from active employment for a period of time that has been agreed to in advance by your employer. Your normal vacation time or any period of disability is not considered a temporary layoff or leave of absence.
Are employees covered when a “shelter at home” order has been issued by a state or local government?
Yes. If employees are affected by a state or local government “shelter at home” order, we will consider them to be actively at work and therefore eligible for coverage, as long as premiums continue to be paid.
If an employee’s coverage terminates for other reasons — for example, because their employment is terminated, or the premium is not paid — the policyholder should review their policies to see if any conversion or portability options are available.
If our company needs to close temporarily due to COVID-19 and we are unable to pay our employees and/or take employee benefit deductions, what impact will it have on their coverage?
We understand how important our benefits are to your employees and we want to help you maintain those protections. Our contracts contain a premium grace period which allows for continued employee coverage for a period of time.
Prior to termination, we will communicate with your employees regarding how they can continue their coverage.
If any policies do terminate, we will work closely with those employees through the reinstatement process. If their coverage does have to lapse due to their inability to pay the premiums due to a COVID-19 related event, we will work with your employees, as appropriate.
If your company would like to discuss a specific issue or request, please contact us at email@example.com or connect with your Billing Coordinator.
Will furloughed employees who continue to pay premiums during their furlough period need to re-enroll for coverage when they return to active employment?
No. Provided premiums continue to be paid during the furloughed employee’s approved temporary layoff or leave of absence, such employees will not need to re-enroll as coverage will have remained intact continuously.
Will furloughed employees on an approved temporary layoff or leave of absence with prior coverage that lapsed due to non-payment of premium during the furlough period need to re-enroll for coverage when they return to active employment?
Depending on the timing of the requests, re-enrollment will not be necessary in most cases. We understand this is a challenging time for your business, and we are committed to supporting you and your employees as they return to active employment. For employees furloughed on or after March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19 who had coverage before being furloughed, we will work with you to reinstate their coverage upon request once they return to active employment up through December 31, 2020, with no need to re-enroll. If an employee continues with the same coverage level, we will not require Evidence of Insurability or apply a new pre-existing period provided the employee already satisfied the pre-existing condition exclusion period before their coverage lapsed.
For any reinstatement requests after December 31, 2020, the employee will need to re-enroll for new coverage and will be subject to all policy rules. However, they would still have the advantage of any re-hire provisions stated in the underlying policy as applicable.
Is payment of past due premium required in order for coverage to be reinstated for eligible employees returning from a furlough?
Payment of past due premium is required to keep coverage intact continuously. Upon request, we are able to reinstate coverage with a new effective date and a gap in coverage during the furlough period. In such instances, it is vital that employees are made aware that they will have no coverage under the policy during the gap period.
For any life insurance coverage, the payment of past due premium will be required to keep such coverage current. For any cash value whole life policies, the premiums may have been paid with an Automatic Premium Loan.
In the event employees are not able to make a full lump sum premium payment to keep coverage current, we are willing to work with you and your employees to catch up deductions in a mutually agreeable timeframe.
If a furloughed employee is rehired with reduced hours, will they be considered actively at work and eligible to reinstate their coverage?
Yes. If a furloughed employee who was previously eligible and met the minimum hours requirement under the policy is initially coming back at reduced hours, we will consider them eligible as long as they are expected to return to full active employment and will meet the minimum hours requirement under the policy by December 31, 2020.
How are you handling re-enrollments scheduled between April and July?
We will allow inforce re-enrollments with an anniversary date from April 1 to July 1, 2020 to be delayed for up to 90 days. Please contact your Colonial Life agent for rescheduling.
Can my company add coverage now even if we’re not in an enrollment period?
Yes. We’re making several of our policies available for immediate open enrollment to address this emergency. Please contact your local agent for information on adding to your offerings.
Are benefits counselors available to assist remotely?
Yes. We offer a range of flexible enrollment and counseling options to reach your employees, wherever they’re working. Our benefits counselors are also able to assist you in sharing all types of messaging to your employees — not just benefits information — including updates on your operations and emergency preparedness.
We offer telephonic, virtual (including video conferencing and co-browsing) and online self-enroll. Please speak with your Colonial Life agent to discuss these options and how we can provide 1-to-1 guidance to support your employees.
We continue to monitor developments in state and federal legislation and will adjust our approach as needed. See our COVID-19 legislation page for more information.
My business has under 500 employees. How can the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) help me and my employees during this pandemic?
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make loans to help small businesses pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The loans can be used to pay for payroll costs, including benefits, and certain other costs of protecting business operations. If the funds borrowed are used for payroll costs, including benefits, the loans will be forgiven. Other provisions also apply.
After the initial application period, which began April 3, 2020, the $349 billion originally authorized for this program was quickly exhausted. In response, Congress authorized an additional $310 billion, and the SBA resumed accepting applications from participating lenders on April 27, 2020. Demand for these loans is still expected to outstrip the funding, so employers are encouraged to apply promptly. For more information, see this guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Which employers are affected by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA?)
The FFCRA chiefly affects public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Under the law, these employers are required to provide paid leave to employees impacted by the pandemic. The cost of this leave can be offset by a fully refundable tax credit.