The current COVID-19 environment has upended every corner of our personal and professional lives.  The number of employee furloughs, layoffs and employment loss in recent weeks has been staggering.  Connecticut’s small businesses are trying every means possible to continue working and to provide for their employees.  Our usual foundations seem to be wearing away day by day.

The members of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters, NAHU, better known as your local health insurance brokers, are doing everything we can to assist our small business customers and their employees and individuals.  We are participating in webinars daily and reading a multitude of emails, letters and publications to educate ourselves with the continuous updates to the new benefits and laws.

Now, more than ever, advising employers and individuals on their current benefits, as well as any required alterations, is critical to get right.  As if health insurance wasn’t already confusing enough, we now are operating under new rules regarding unemployment benefits, small business loans, employee coverage, HSA/HRA’s, special enrollment periods for Access Health Connecticut, certain group carriers, paid sick leave, etc.  Significant changes are underway regarding co-pays and deductibles as it relates to the novel coronavirus.  In addition, there are new unique benefits to inform them of, such as telemedicine options that are particularly helpful in controlling the number of patients visiting Emergency and Urgent care facilities.

Whether we are explaining state and federal unemployment programs, setting up COBRA procedures or helping employers gather specific information required for SBA loans, we are there for them and their families who rely on these benefits.  We remain, as always, at their side carefully guiding them through these modifications and helping them understand what this all means to them, their employees and their families.  We hope that we can relieve some of the stress and worry over these important matters.

We applaud and thank the men and women risking their lives every day attempting to stop this new virus in its tracks.  There are not strong enough words to describe how amazing you all are.  We also thank Gov. Ned Lamont, our agency commissioners and all elected leaders on the local, state and federal level for their hard work to bring much needed resources and relief to Connecticut residents.  If this unprecedented time of challenge has any positive side to it, it is seeing so many communities reaching out to help and volunteering their time and energy to assist others.

Working together as citizens of this great state in whatever capacity we can to help each other is how we will all find our way through this challenging time.  We wish everyone health, safety and comfort.

Julie Chubet is President Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)

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