Horizon BCBS of NJ Announces Premium Deferral Program

Horizon BCBS of NJ small (those with 2-50 employees) and large (those with 51+ employees) groups who are experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer their April or May premiums due under a 60-day emergency extended grace period.

To be eligible, groups:

  • Must be paid in full and in good standing as of March 1, 2020
  • Complete/sign the Emergency Grace Period Premium Deferral Agreement and return to us by noon on 5/8 (if requesting to defer April’s premiums) or by noon on 5/15 (if requesting to defer May), no exceptions. All pages of the fully signed/executed agreement must be sent to us via email, fax: 866-625-6856 or secure file upload. There is no option to send the agreement to Horizon directly.
  • Large Groups must also have their senior financial officer or certified public accountant attest to the company’s financial hardship related to COVID-19 by submitting an attestation with the above (see sample here).
  • For groups that have ACH payment set up, they must also submit a written letter of request to deactivate the ACH in order for the funds not to be withdrawn from their account as scheduled. The employer must submit this letter, or the funds (as originally billed) will still be withdrawn.

Groups who elect the above will have six months to repay the deferred health and/or dental premiums in full. The payment period begins after the emergency grace period ends, and the deferred premium installment payments will be in addition to the existing monthly premiums due. Groups must make both the monthly premium and deferred premium installment payments timely to keep coverage active. If possible, groups are encouraged to pay the deferred premiums sooner.

Small groups can make premium payments by check, credit card, debit card, ACH transaction, through their bank’s online banking service and MoneyGram; these options are available online and over the phone. Large groups can make premium payments by check, ACH transaction and wire transfer.

Small groups should refer to page 15 of Horizon’s updated COVID-19 Resource Guide; Large groups should see page 16 for more information.

Reminder for groups who have applied for and/or received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan: PPP loans are forgivable if used as prescribed within eight weeks of loan origination. Forgivable PPP loan amounts include the costs associated with keeping employees on the health insurance plan during the eight-week period; as such, it is important to consider whether it is potentially a better deal to obtain a PPP loan to pay for employee health insurance premiums (a potentially forgivable expense, assuming the remaining loan amounts are used as prescribed) or whether taking the 60-day grace period/deferral, which mandates repayment, is a better fit.