Coronavirus and Workers Comp
With the continuing spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, employers are asking questions regarding its impact on their workplace and their workers’ compensation coverage. We want to help. Below, we’ve provided some guidance, resources and general answers. As always, please do not hesitate to contact your Eastern service team with any specific questions or concerns.
- Reducing Spread in the Workplace
- Actions Employers Should Take
- Workers' Comp Claims
- Payroll/Billing Concerns
Simple, everyday precautions help reduce the spread of acute respiratory illness, especially in settings where people are in close contact with one another:
- Wash hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay home when sick!
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces
You can post this CDC flyer in common areas to remind employees of these precautions.
These actions serve as a valuable defense against the community spread of the seasonal flu and Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the workplace. Be sure to follow CDC recommendations for any additional recommended actions.
In the case of an emerging disease like COVID-19, information, guidance and recommended actions can rapidly change. Here’s where to find the latest recommendations for employers, organizations and individuals:
- CDC’s COVID-19 Website Latest news and updates, guidance and resources for specific audiences, background, medical and travel information, and communication resources
- CDC’s COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses Interim guidance on preventing workplace exposures in non-healthcare settings; planning considerations for potential future developments
- CDC’s COVID-19 FAQs
- OSHA COVID-19 Main Menu Recognizing hazards, applying existing OSHA standards, and preventing worker exposure in specific industries
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 OSHA and Department of Health & Human Services released this document on March 9, 2020
- COVID-19 may not be exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements
Can employees file a WC claim related to COVID-19? Is COVID-19 compensable?
As with many topics in workers’ compensation, the answer is, “it depends”—the specific facts of a claim, as well as jurisdictional statues, determine compensability. As the situation in the United States evolves, the compensability of a COVID-19 claim may or may not change.
Eastern will—as we do with each and every claim reported to us—review every COVID-19 related claim and make the right decision based on the individual merits of that claim.
We are proactively analyzing the specific statutes and case laws that may apply in jurisdictions we serve. Additionally, we are internally tracking all claims related to seasonal flu/COVID-19, and monitoring all of our claim activity to ensure a consistent response.
If you have a question regarding a potential claim, we encourage you to call Eastern to discuss the circumstances. Your local claims team is available to answer your questions.
How should we report a claim related to COVID-19?
Please continue to report your claims either online or via teleclaim. Both are available to you 24/7.
Your trusted local claims experts will continue managing your claims and taking care of your employees, using medical expertise from our clinical resources and trusted partners to guide our decisions.
Rest assured you can continue to rely on the Eastern Way, our service commitment that places you above all else. We are proactively taking measures to ensure this level of service is not disrupted.
You may experience disruptions to your payroll, operations and finances due to COVID-19 related issues. Please contact Eastern at 1-855-533-3444 for assistance or accommodations with payroll census reporting, premium billing and/or payments, so we may handle them on a case-by-case basis.
- In response to the economic challenges those directly impacted by COVID-19 face, Eastern is suspending the cancellation of policies due to non-payment of premium, effective March 23, 2020 through April 17, 2020.
- This does not waive any payments due during the suspension period. It extends the grace period to pay the premiums due before cancellation occurs.
- Invoices and late pay notices will continue to be issued to keep you informed of amounts due.
- Automated electronic payments will be processed as previously set-up by the policyholder.
- These dates, policies and procedures are subject to change. We evaluate and monitor state-issued directives daily. Due to the rapidly-changing nature of the situation, please check this page for updates and modifications.
Eastern’s website has online payment tools for one-time, automated, and “agent pay on behalf’ payments through its Payment Center.
At renewal time, consider Eastern’s parallel pay ‘pay-as-you-go’ program. parallel pay can benefit operations experiencing payroll fluctuations by calculating and charging premium based on payroll reports.
The information above is based on our current understanding and procedures, and may change as the situation evolves. If you have any specific questions or concerns, or need assistance or accomodations related to COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact your Eastern service team for assistance.
Revised March 19, 2020.