COVID-19 Emergency Information

On this page 

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  • SBA Economic Impact Disaster Loan Application

  • List of West End Business Statuses 

  • Employer Paid Leave Requirements and Tax Credit Provisions

  • Personal Finance for Business Owners

    • FREE Business Triage Meetings

  • Citizen's State Bank Emergency Loan Assistance Resources 

  • Montrose County Update

  • Emergency Loans & Micro-grants available through First Southwest Community Fund

  • Montrose Emergency Relief Fund

  • Region 10 Small Business Help Information

  • Telluride Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund Information

  • CARES Act Colorado funding summary and new website from Senator Bennet

  • Update from the Governor

  • COVID-19 Update from the White House

  • Additional Links

WEEDC staff will be working remotely until 3/30/20. Please feel free to contact us:

Deana Sheriff, CeCD

Executive Director

dsheriff@choosewestend.org

Nichole Glaser 

Business Developement Manager

nichole@choosewestend.org

Kaela Vodopich

Community Partnership Coordinator

weedc@choosewestend.org

West End Business Status List

Updated daily at 2:00 pm.

Last Updated: - No new information has been received 3/25

To update or add your business information contact Deana at dsheriff@choosewestend.org

Trouble viewing this list? Contact Kaela at weedc@choosewestend.org for another version.

US Senate passed a 2nd bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic regarding Employer Paid Leave Requirements and Tax Credit Provisions.  The President signed that bill last night.  In response to some questions about that bill, Congressman Tipton’s staff provided the table below which may be helpful to you and/or your business contacts to understand some of the provisions as they apply to businesses.

Employer Paid Leave Requirements and Tax Credit Provisions

 NOW ISN'T THE TIME TO PUT YOUR BUSINESS ON THE LINE!

Now scheduling business triage meetings online.

Sign up for your 30 minute slot today! 

 

PERSONAL FINANCE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
C
lasses start soon! 1 class per week for 4 weeks, with some out-of-class work required. 


Contact: Nichole Glaser

by phone at 970-428-1099
or by email: nichole@choosewestend.org

Montrose County COVID-19 Update 

3/31/20

Emergency Loans & Micro-grants Available Through First Southwest Community Fund

Region 10 is working with our communities, businesses and senior services to assist with the impact of COVID 19 in our region.

 

FOR BUSINESS

 

Region 10’s Small Business Resource Center provides assistance to businesses experiencing economic distress and/or disruption with SBDC business consulting, technical assistance services, and loan fund assistance.  Our information sheet regarding these and additional programs is attached and can be printed to share with businesses. 

 

Additionally, our loan program is designed specifically to assist impacted businesses with loans up to $10,000 per business with flexible terms and a 90-day initial payment deferral.  This program can deploy capital to businesses for working capital or gap financing of other SBA Disaster Loan Programs that are available.  For existing loan fund clients, Region 10 will offer a Loan Extension and Modification that will allow deferral of payments for up to 90 days.  Businesses interested in these programs should contact Dan Scinto or 970-765-3126.

 

Businesses seeking technical assistance or consulting regarding how to prepare and/or recover during an economic disruption should contact Nancy Murphy, 970-765-3130, and/or register for SBDC consulting here. Further assistance can be found in The Disaster Recovery and Continuity Guide for Colorado Businesses. Download the guide here

 

Region 10 is also working with other local and state partners for business assistance and will send more information as it becomes available.

 

Small Business Administration 

Colorado Department of Labor & Employment

  • Emergency Paid Leave Rule - This rule is meant to limit the spread of highly contagious disease and enables workers in at-risk occupations to access testing.

  • Unemployment Insurance - During layoffs, all employees are encouraged to apply for unemployment insurance. Those who are job-attached (meaning workers will be expected to return after a separation of up to 16 weeks) should file as "job-attached."

  • Work-Share Program may allow certain employees who have had reduced hours to claim partial unemployment benefits.

  • Layoff/Separations

Other Resources

The Telluride Foundation has created a COVID-19 Response Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the outbreak and vulnerable individuals and families directly impacted in the Telluride region, including San Miguel, Ouray, west Montrose counties and Rico.

 

The Fund will prioritize the most immediate public health needs and economic impacts of the new disease, focusing on vulnerable populations and the service providers that support them. The Foundation will allocate some of its reserves and planned 20th Anniversary Celebration budget towards meeting these unprecedented community needs.

Contributions to the COVID-19 Response Fund can be made online through www.telluridefoundation.org/responsefund.  Donors who wish to speak with one of our staff or need help facilitating a donation by check, cash wire, or stock transfer can contact Katie Singer at 970728-8717 or katie@telluridefoundation.org.

About the COVID-19 Response Fund

Hosted by Telluride Foundation, the COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations and individuals working within our communities that are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. The Telluride Foundation will administer grants to qualified nonprofits and emergency hardship grants to individuals.

In order to move resources quickly and not further burden organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, we will provide simplified and flexible application processes. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as funds are raised, continuing throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis.  Overall, the Fund will be managed so that we can respond rapidly to community demands and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases.

The Fund will address to emergency tracks as follows:

One, in the near-term, one-time operating grants will fund organizations that have deep roots within priority populations and services, such as human service and health nonprofits facing unprecedented, unexpected situations due to the coronavirus.  We anticipate that healthcare facilities, food banks, homeless shelters, as well as programs serving school-aged kids on free and reduced lunch or providing  access to the internet for distance learning will need financial help.

Two, we are aware that many resident families and individuals may have short-term emergency financial needs due to illness, health care costs, lack of work, or having to care for children or family members.  The Foundation has operated the “Good Neighbor Fund (GNF),” for 15 years; GNF is a one-time emergency hardship funding program available for the workforce in San Miguel, Ouray, and west Montrose counties.  We will expand this resource and target GNF towards the most vulnerable individuals and families.

Please consider a donation to support our local community. Please go to www.telluridefoundation.org/responsefund

We will provide regular updates as the situation evolves. To stay up to date visit our web site or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

CARES Act Colorado funding summary and new website from Senator Bennet

Please see this new link from Senator Bennet’s website with a compilation of resources related to coronavirus/COVID 19: https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/coronavirus-disease-2019-resources-for-coloradansThis website has a wide array of information on resources available to assist individuals and communities impacted by the coronavirus. I would also recommend this calculator for more information on the individual payments that most taxpayers will be getting under the CARES Act that Congress passed on Friday.

 

Please also find an attached summary from Senator Bennet’s office on some of the major programs and funding streams in the recently passed CARES Act that will help support local government and community efforts in Colorado to respond to COVID-19.  As you know, the Administration will now need to work through how to implement the legislation, but we wanted to share this information on the buckets of potential funding support as soon as possible. 

 

Also I am attaching a summary of a document from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities that has a breakdown of how much money they estimate each state will get under one key part of the CARES Act, the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. Colorado’s estimated allocation in their analysis is $2.233 billion dollars, but this not a formal number from the federal government yet. In the weeks ahead the state of Colorado will determine how to allocate and distribute this money and my initial understanding is the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) will be involved in that process. There are more details on this fund on the attached CARES Act summary. There are also other funds that will benefit Colorado from the other programs as discussed in the attached summary.

 

We will continue to send updates as we learn more about how these programs will be implemented. Thanks for all you are doing to lead during these challenging times. 

John Whitney |  Western Slope Regional Director
U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet 

Additional Links:

Important Resources

 

·       Coronavirus Guidelines for America: The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued guidelines – 15 Days to Slow the Spread (Español)– to help protect all Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak. Even if you are young and otherwise healthy, you are at risk—and your activities can increase the risk of contracting the Coronavirus for others. Everyone can do their part. The recommendations are simple to follow but will have a resounding impact on public health. Find the guidelines here:

·       Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – www.coronavirus.gov.

·       Disaster Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.

·       Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

·       Social Media Resources: Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page.

·       Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.

·       Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: USA.gov is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here. Each Federal Agency has also established a dedicated coronavirus website, where you can find important information and guidance. They include: Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

 

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (WH IGA) will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office directly if we can be of assistance. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and local elected officials and Tribal Governments.

 

Sincerely,

 

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

              

William F. Crozer

Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director

White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

 

White House COVID-19 National Briefing Call Readout

March 25, 2020

 

 

 

Topline

·       Visit www.coronavirus.gov for all up-to-date information and guidance from the Federal government. Review and follow CDC’s social distancing guidelines – 15 Days to Slow the Spread (Español).

·       The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is leading the Federal government’s response to COVID-19 on behalf of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels. Response is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. Learn more here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership.

·       All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories and four tribes are working directly with FEMA under the nationwide emergency declaration for COVID-19. States, tribal and territorial governments do not need to request separate emergency declarations to receive FEMA assistance under this nationwide declaration.

·       President Trump has approved major disaster declarations for California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, and Texas to assist with additional needs identified in these states.

·       Federal officials and the U.S. Public Health Service are working closely with state, local and private sector partners to bolster testing capabilities and supplies. The Federal government is working to make testing more easily accessible to high risk populations: healthcare facility workers, and first responders. There are currently 91 sites open in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The United States has now done over 300,000 tests in state and local public health and commercial laboratories averaging 50,000 to 70,000 tests per day (more here).

·       Federal agencies are working to meet demands for personal protective equipment (PPE) through new acquisition, DOD allocation and the Strategic National Stockpile. The Administration is also working closely with the private sector to increase capacity.

·       Over 9 million N95 respirators, 14 million surgical masks, 3.1 million face shields, 2.6 million surgical gowns, 14.6 million gloves, and almost 6,000 ventilators have been delivered to the areas of greatest needs. 

·       On March 22, the FDA issued guidance that will help expand the availability of ventilators and accessories, as well as other respiratory devices, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance will help increase availability by providing the maximum regulatory flexibility. The new guidance will also assist health care personnel on how to use other ventilators like CPAP devices for sleep apnea, with COVID-19 patients in respiratory distress, as well as on shelf life of existing ventilators.

·       People are encouraged to donate blood. Many blood drives have been cancelled, impacting the supply. Blood donation centers have the highest standards of safety and infection control. To find where you can donate blood, visit redcross.org.

 

White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

·       The President, Task Force, and Administration have and continue to engage with and marshal the resources of the private sector in this all-of-America approach to addressing COVID-19. I would also like to flag this recent op-ed from Peter Navarro (Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy) regarding the Administration’s coordination with the private sector: Coronavirus – How businesses are stepping up, collaborating with Trump administration.

·       On Wednesday, March 18, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act. Under the Defense Production Act, the President has the authority to determine that certain supplies are essential for the national defense during challenges like this. The President’s action allows the Administration, if it becomes necessary, to order the distribution of health and medical supplies to where they are most needed. You can find the Executive Order here.

·       Find federal tax guidance for Distilled Spirits permittees and Industrial Alcohol user permittees from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau here.

·       The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now leads Federal operations on behalf of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which oversees the whole-of-government response to the pandemic. Private sector partners that are interested in supporting this effort can find more, including contact information, on FEMA’s website here Also see pertinent points of contact below.

 

Department of Justice (DOJ)

·       Sunday, March 22, President Trump signed an Executive Order providing the authority to address, if necessary, hoarding that threatens the supply of necessary health and medical resources. The Department of Justice  will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce anti-hoarding provisions of the order in cases where hoarding may be impeding the supply of health and medical resources needed to combat the spread of coronavirus. Additionally, DOJ is prioritizing the detection, investigation, and prosecution of fraudulent activity and price gouging related to medical resources needed to respond to the coronavirus.

·       DOJ announced its first action in federal court to combat fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic. The enforcement action was filed on March 22 in Austin, TX against operators of a fraudulent website. More here, including recommended precautionary measures for Americans to protect themselves from known and emerging scams related to COVID-19.

·       On March 16, the Attorney General issued a memo directing U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of coronavirus-related fraud schemes. In a follow-up memorandum issued on March 19, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen further directed each U.S. Attorney to appoint a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to the coronavirus, direct the prosecution of coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness. Read more here.

·       The public is encouraged to report suspected fraud schemed related to coronavirus by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (866-720-5721) or by emailing the NCDF at disaster@leo.gov.

·       For more information, visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

 

Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

·       HUD published a list of resources for communities on homelessness.

·       FEMA and other federal agencies are working with officials from several states to support requests for non-congregate sheltering for at-risk homeless population as an emergency protective measure to address the public health emergency and prevent further spread.

·       HUD issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.

·       HUD published a community development block grant (CDBG) quick guide to provide grantees with information on implementing CDBG funds in a coordinated effort with local health authorities before undertaking any activity to support state or local pandemic response.

·       On a case-by-case basis, HUD is providing 60-day extensions for the submission of materials necessary for financial certification, and the Department is prepared to provide an additional 30 days if necessary. Upon request, similar extensions are also available for the submission of Action Plans for CDBG-DR

·       HUD is expediting processing of all consolidated plan and annual action plan submissions.

·       In the event of a Major Disaster Declaration for a State, or if Congress allows HUD to do so in the legislation currently under consideration, HUD will provide relief from the public hearings requirement. Further, HUD has already provided guidance regarding allowing virtual hearings rather than in-person, which can be found on the HUD website.

·       HUD is suspending enforcement action for the regular CDBG program for those who miss expenditure and commitment deadline for the duration of the crisis, in favor of technical assistance to help expend funds

·       For HUD’s Home Investment Partnerships Program:

·       Waiving the requirement that state and local HOME grantees conduct periodic on-site inspections of HOME-assisted rental projects.

·       Congress has suspended the 24-month commitment deadline through 2022 and HUD has eliminated the 5-year expenditure requirement from HOME regulations

 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

·       The Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance and an accompanying list intended to support State, local, and industry partners in identifying critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and that need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response. As State and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, the CISA guidance is intended to help prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions.

·       On March 21, President Trump announced agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. The measures were implemented on March 21 and will be in place for 30 days, at which point they will be reviewed. More information and a fact sheet can be found here.

·       DHS is working to recognize, detect, and assist individuals attempting to enter the U.S. through our, airports, land ports, or waterways who may be carrying the virus. In furtherance of Presidential Proclamations 998499929993, and 9994, which ban the entry of non-U.S. citizens who are from or recently been in China, Iran, or certain European countries, on March 17, the Department of Homeland Security issued updated guidance requiring American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., submit to an enhanced entry screening and self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination.

 

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

·       The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

·       Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Read more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.

·       SAMHSA is allowing flexibility for grant recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis. These flexibilities are available during this emergency time period. Flexibility may be reassessed upon issuance of new guidance by the Office of Management and Budget post the emergency time period. Read more here.

·       For additional information, please visit SAMHSA’s coronavirus website here: https://www.samhsa.gov/coronavirus

 

Department of State (DOS)

·       The State Department advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.      

·       As of Tuesday, March 24, the State Department has repatriated more than 9,000 Americans from 28 countries.

·       U.S. citizens traveling overseas should immediately enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

·       U.S. Embassies are an important resource for U.S. citizens overseas, including those looking to return to the United States. COVID-19 county specific information can be found here.

Update From The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Friday, March 27, 2020

Shelby Wieman|shelby.wieman@state.co.us |303-957-6011

 

 

Restaurant workers can now deliver food 

with less red tape and insurance delays

Actions aimed at growing safe opportunities for restaurant workers, protecting employers’ health insurance and property and casualty insurance

***INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***

 

DENVER - The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is taking action to protect Colorado insurance consumers and reduce insurance delays for restaurants and workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  

 

Earlier this month, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a number of Public Health Orders that have limited normal business and employment for many in the state. These directives from the DOI will allow people to keep their insurance and should also help Colorado’s restaurants and their employees.

 

“The more we can free up the market and allow people to safely earn a living during this critical time, the better,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “I’m hopeful that some of those who lost their jobs when restaurants closed can now earn additional money working delivery while as a state we get past these difficult restrictions as soon as is scientifically possible.”

 

“Expanding safe opportunities for work is critical,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “As people lose hours, get laid off or lose their jobs, holding onto their employer-sponsored health insurance and paying their auto or homeowners insurance premiums becomes more difficult. In addition to reducing red tape around insuring drivers, we are also calling on insurance companies to show flexibility and work with Coloradans to help them keep their insurance during the COVID-19 crisis.”  

 

Removing Restrictions on Auto Insurance for Drivers for Restaurant Delivery

Public Health Order 20-22 has closed all restaurants and other places offering food or beverages to be consumed on-site. And even with the Governor’s stay-at-home order from March 25, delivery and takeout from restaurants is not impacted. With these orders, it is expected that many restaurants will now look to employees who do not typically deliver food to do just that, but using their own cars. In an effort to protect these workers and their vehicles, the DOI’s emergency regulation 20-E-03 removes restrictions on two different types of auto insurance for the duration of Public Health Order 20-22. 

  • For restaurants that already have commercial automobile policies for drivers, the regulation allows those policies to cover new, unnamed drivers that will be put into delivery service during the COVID-19 emergency. 

  • If a restaurant does not have a commercial policy, the regulation allows employees to use their own personal auto insurance for their vehicle. The regulation removes the restriction for the restaurant employee’s personal insurance that would usually prevent commercial activity like food delivery. 

  • However, the regulation does not apply to workers who regularly deliver food or who work for other services not impacted by the restaurant closure that was part of Public Health Order 20-22.

 

Restaurant owners are encouraged to contact their insurance agents, brokers or companies to discuss additional coverage riders and other options that could offer more protection for their workers and their businesses. Such options could prove useful even after the COVID-19 emergency. 

 

Flexibility and Accommodations on Premiums and Continuing Insurance Coverage

The Division has also issued two bulletins directing insurance companies working in Colorado to provide flexibility and reasonable accommodations to policyholders in paying their premiums and continuing coverage. 

 

Employer-Provided Health Insurance

Bulletin B-4.105 directs health insurance companies that provide policies to small and large employers to be flexible in working with those employers regarding premium payments. It also directs insurers to work with the employers around any provisions in those policies that could hurt the eligibility of employees for the health insurance or their ability to continue that coverage if laid off, furloughed or have their hours cut as a result of work restrictions related to COVID-19. 

 

Health insurance companies are directed to give employers options such as extending grace periods, deferring premium payments, accepting partial payments or placing a moratorium on cancelling coverage due to non-payment. Such options will allow coverage to continue for the employees and their families and allow employers to focus on their businesses. 

 

In addition, the insurance companies are directed to make accommodations for employers regarding provisions and restrictions that could impact employees’ health insurance coverage or the ability to continue coverage. These would be provisions such as: requirements regarding the number of employees participating in an employer’s plan, eligibility requirements tied to the number of hours worked (including part-time or seasonal restrictions), requirements regarding employer contributions to premiums, and restrictions on employees that may have initially declined an employer’s health insurance.

 

On top of this, the Insurance Commissioner strongly encourages the insurance companies to waive requirements that employees would have to be enrolled in an employer’s health plan for a required length of time before becoming eligible for continuation, or that continuation would only apply to certain classes of employees, such as full-time employees. 

 

Insurance companies are to make these accommodations available to employers for as long the Public Health Orders are in effect. 

 

Bulletin B-4.105 only pertains to health insurance companies’ employer policies that fall under the regulation of the Colorado Division of Insurance. Employers with self-funded health plans are not regulated by the Division, as such plans are regulated at the Federal level. However, self-funded employers are required to comply with federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Action (COBRA) requirements around continued group health coverage. The Division strongly encourages employers that have self-funded health plans to request that the third-party administrators of their health plans comply with state and federal guidance, including the Division’s directives.

 

Property and Casualty Insurance

Bulletin B-5.38 directs property and casualty insurance companies (such as auto or homeowners insurance) to make reasonable accommodations to prevent individuals and businesses from losing their insurance coverage because of non-payment of their premiums.

 

Reasonable accommodations may include such things as: suspension of premiums, extension of billing due dates, extension of premium grace periods for the duration of the emergency, and waiver of installment and late payment fees. In addition, the Division directs property and casualty insurers to stop any non-renewals (when an insurance company chooses to not renew a policy at the end of a period). Such accommodations are to remain available to Colorado policyholders as long the Public Health Orders are in effect. 

 

“In times like these, we all have to step up and come together as a community and a country,” said Commissioner Conway. “We are certainly asking our insurance companies to do that and I’m confident they will answer our call.”

 

Consumers with questions about these directives and how they impact their policies can contact the Division of Insurance - 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us

Update From The Governor