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Pandemic-associated premium relief payments for fully insured groups

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage are voluntarily extending our efforts to provide relief to fully insured group health plans in response to the economic pressures and healthcare utilization changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 public health crisis.

In August 2020, all fully insured group health plans (medical) will receive a one-time premium relief payment. Payments will correspond to a percentage of each group’s billed premium for July 2020 (approximately 10% for large groups and approximately 20% for small groups).

The payments are being given in response to a marked downturn in healthcare claims activity that has occurred as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Payment checks will be mailed throughout August and should arrive by early September at the latest.

Additionally, all fully insured group dental plans will receive a one-time 50% dental insurance premium relief payment based on July 2020 billed premiums.

These premium relief measures apply only to active, fully insured groups that were current on premium payments through June 30, 2020. Groups that meet this criteria and have effective dates prior to May 1, 2020, will receive premium relief payments. Groups not current on premium payments will receive the premium relief payments when all past due premiums are received and processed.

These voluntary payments are being made by Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage in response to the pandemic’s suppression of healthcare utilization trends (not in response to direction by any regulatory agency or any legal requirement). The payment is not associated with statutory measures such as medical loss ratio (MLR) rebate, etc.

Groups that receive premium relief payments for both health plan (medical) and dental plan premiums will receive one check that details the amount of each premium relief payment.

We hope these payments help our groups face the challenges the public health crisis has presented while continuing to meet the needs of the people who depend on them for health coverage.

We wanted you to be aware about the premium relief payments, in case you receive questions from your group clients/prospects. Please feel free to contact your Arkansas Blue Cross representative if you have any questions regarding the premium relief payments.