Coronavirus (COVID-19) commonly asked questions and answers

We recognize the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an unprecedented impact on all of our personal and professional lives. We wanted to reassure you that Equitable is ready and able to serve our brokers, our clients, and their employees — safely and effectively — with no disruption to business.

Over the past 161 years, Equitable has persevered through many serious events and periods of market volatility, whilst helping our clients face the future with confidence.  We greatly value our relationship and appreciate the trust you have placed in us. We remain committed to help you look ahead with courage, strength and wisdom.

Below, we've provided some specifics and important information you can share with your clients.

Billing & Premium Payments

  • Is Equitable taking any specific action regarding upcoming group renewals?

    Clients with 500 employees or less who have renewal dates between May 1st and August 1st, 2020, will renew existing plans at inforce rates for twelve additional months.  If your clients have already received an increase for a renewal date between May 1st through August 1st, they will receive a revised letter, communicating this information.

  • Will there be any leniency given to those employers struggling to pay premium?
    Equitable is committed to reviewing each situation and doing what is right. We are here for our Brokers, Employers, and Employees throughout this period.
  • Will you continue to collect premium for Dental and Vision coverages?
    Yes, there is no change to our current requirements to maintain coverage.
  • How can clients submit ACH or online payment?

    To process ACH payments, a client must be registered on EB360®.  This will enable them to access our billing tool. The billing tool will give the group the option to make payments via ACH. They can make a one-time payment or select an automatic monthly payment equal to their outstanding balance, they can select from 4 different days of the month (1st; 10th, 15th and the 25th). For the first recurring payment, they should allow at least 24 hours before the date they select for the process to be set up in time.

    To request access to EB360® for either you or your clients, contact your Equitable Sales Executive or Account Manager, or call Customer Service at 866-274-9887, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM ET; Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM ET.

  • Please explain your response to NY’s Executive Order 202.13
    NY’s Executive Order 202.13 extends grace periods for NY life insurance plans -to 90 days.  We will email a letter to producers and will communicate with clients by mailing information or including it –with their billing statements.  Please note that we will also communicate with producers and clients who are situated outside of NY, but who have certificate holders who reside in NY.  We will be following the state’s guidance regarding any further extensions.

Business Continuity

  • Do you anticipate any impact to response times for requests for proposals?
    We will continue to ensure that all requests for proposals are processed and communicated in a timely manner and without disruption to the normal course of business.
  • Do you anticipate any impact to timing around delivery of renewal rates?
    Information around renewals will continue to be provided in a timely manner.
  • How can Equitable help me continue to do business during this challenging time? 
    Our agile team is ready to help. We are committed to growing and evolving with you. That means, in times like this, when you may want to meet virtually, instead of in person, we're ready to help you via email, phone calls, or other video conferencing services.
  • Do you anticipate any impact to renewal rates?
    We have not made any alterations to our renewal strategies at this time. As this pandemic plays out in the US market, we will be vigilant in our efforts to be responsive and meet the needs of our customers. We are dedicated to growing this business which also includes retaining our current customers.
  • How can I access my commission statement?

    Commission statements will no longer be mailed. Brokers can view their commission statements anytime on our integrated platform, EB360®. Commission statements will be emailed to Brokerage Firms, please contact us at [EBAppointments@equitable.com] if you have not received your commission statement.

  • Do you anticipate any impact to claims processing?
    We are positioned to handle claims and we do not anticipate any disruption in claim processing time. We will continue to follow specific regulatory activity regarding statutory plans and may have to adjust processes accordingly. If so, we will communicate those changes.

Continuation of Coverage, Eligibility, & Claims

  • If employees are on furlough, lay off, or leave of absence, on the date Equitable takes over coverage, will we extend coverage to these individuals even though they are not actively at work?

    Across our product portfolio, continuation of coverage from a prior plan is available.  Individuals who are not actively at work due to furlough, lay off and leave of absence will be considered covered if they had previous coverage through a group contract as of the day before the Equitable effective date, premiums continue to be paid, and they are not eligible for benefits under the prior plan. Benefits may be limited to those inforce under the prior plan, and they are not considered eligible if they are out of work due to sickness or injury.  The duration of this continuation of coverage (while not actively at work) may vary by product.

  • Can an employee terminate voluntary coverage?

    Across our products, voluntary coverage can be cancelled at any time during the year, so long as the coverage is not through a Section 125 plan. We will require that the employee request this termination in writing.  The employee may re-elect coverage at annual enrollment, and Evidence of Insurability may apply.

  • Will income received under the Federal Families First Act be offset from our Disability programs?

    If an employee receives both Federal Emergency Sick Leave and our Disability coverage concurrently, the Federal Sick Leave will be offset from our Disability benefits if the Federal leave is being taken for their own illness.

  • What happens to Disability benefits for those that are receiving unemployment benefits?

    Standardly, unemployment benefits received as a result of one’s job with their employer are considered an offset to Short- and Long-Term Disability plans. 

  • Is Equitable following the state regulations regarding payment of DBL/PFL claims?

    Yes, and we are following the state’s guidance as additional information becomes available.

  • Would deaths due to COVID-19 be covered under a Group Life claim?

    Claims related to COVID-19 will be reviewed in the same manner as all other claims. Eligibility for benefits is dependent on whether the employee meets all contractual requirements. 

  • Can you provide examples of how claims would be handled for different scenarios involving quarantine, COVID-19 exposure, and COVID-19 diagnosis?

    If an employee is unable to work due to sickness or injury and meets all other contractual requirements, the employee may be eligible for benefits. We are monitoring statutory and federal program development and will update for any changes as that information becomes available. 

    Here are three scenarios and how coverage would apply:

    1. If the insured has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined by a medical professional and unable to work, they may be considered totally or partially disabled during the period of medically required quarantine, pending review of medical information.
    2. If the insured has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined by their employer or self-quarantines, he or she is generally NOT considered disabled.
    3. If the insured has tested positive for COVID-19 and is unable to perform the duties of their job due to sickness, he or she is generally considered disabled, if the insured meets all other contractual requirements.
  • Would an existing diagnosis for a condition that puts an employee at higher risk for COVID-19, qualify them to be eligible for benefits?
    If the employee is unable to work due to sickness or injury and meets all other contractual requirements the employee may be eligible for benefits.
  • Does your Short-Term Disability product cover quarantine?
    Our Disability products do not have any specific quarantine language, in and of itself, is generally not considered a disabling condition under our Short-Term or Long-Term Disability products. We are monitoring statutory and federal program development and will update for any changes as that information becomes available.
  • If an employee is working remotely and is injured, are they eligible for disability benefits? 
    If the employee is unable to work due to sickness or injury and meets all other contractual requirements the employee may be eligible for benefits.
  • How will situations where employees are not active at work through their entire coverage Waiting Period be handled?
    We will give credit for time actively at work, but not waive Waiting Period requirements.
  • Are Pandemics an exclusion?
    Pandemics are not an exclusion for our products. However, our accident-only based products would not provide coverage for pandemics.
  • What are rules around continuation of coverage?

    Across our Group Life/AD&D, Dental, Vision, Critical Illness and Accident products, coverage for current insureds may be extended for 3 months beyond the last day worked for non-FMLA leaves of absence, furlough, layoffs and reductions in hours.  This extension of coverage will continue through June 30, 2020.   Across our non-statutory STD and LTD products, regardless of when the leave begins, coverage will be extended through June 30, 2020.

    For all products, FMLA absences will continue to follow existing FMLA timeframes. This will apply to any absences that begin on or after March 1, 2020 and requires continued payment of all premium.   Premium will be based on the salary/volume at the time the leave starts.

       Life/ AD&D  DI (non stat STD and LTD)  Dental/Vision  CI/Accident
     Non FMLA Leave of Absence  3 months  Through
     6/30/20
     3 months*  3 months
     FMLA Leave of Absence  Included  Included  Included  Included
     Furlough  3 months*  Through
     6/30/20
     3 months*  3 months
     Layoff  3 months  Through
     6/30/20
     3 months*  3 months
     Reduction in hours  3 months  Through
     6/30/20
     3 months*  3 months

     

    Assumes existing coverage; changes apply for Leaves, Furloughs and Layoffs that occur 3/1/2020 or after with continued premium payments. Premium will be based on the salary/volume at the time the leave starts.

    *Equitable will continue these accommodations through 7/31/2020.

  • Are you able to waive requests for additional information needed for dental claims they may require copies of x-rays or charting since many dental offices may be closed or do not have access to the files due to COVID-19?
    Contact our customer service department for consideration to waive the request for additional information. Our customer service team can be reached at 866-274-9887, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM ET; Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM ET. 
  • Will teledentisry claims be covered?
    If a teledentistry ADA procedure code is submitted, we will consider payment for a limited oral evaluation - problem focused, subject to oral evaluation limitations and other contractual requirements. All other procedure codes will be processed in the same manner whether provided via teledentistry or in a dental office setting.
  • How will claims be handled in cases where a child cannot make a dentist appointment prior to the end of the month in which they exceed the dependent age limitation?
    Employees can submit a claim as usual with an explanatory statement of the issue. The claim will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • What if an employee has an emergency and cannot get in to see the dentist they normally use?
    Employees can visit any dentist and submit the claim as usual with an explanatory statement of the issue. The claim will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • What is the conversion process for employees who are terminated?
    We have extended continuation for terminated employees under certain conditions.  If an employee is choosing conversion for life insurance, the standard process in place should be followed. Link to Conversion form
  • If employees are terminated and lose coverage, can they resume coverage if they are rehired?

    For all Life/AD&D, Dental, Vision, and Disability coverages, employees who had prior coverage and are re-hired and return to active work within 12 months of their termination date are eligible for the same level of coverage and benefits with no new waiting period, and no Evidence of Insurability requirements.  For Disability insurance, if the plan includes a pre-ex provision, a new pre-ex period will apply for any new conditions that first arise while the employee was not covered.  For Critical Illness and Accident coverages, employees who had prior coverage and are re-hired within 6 months of their termination date are eligible for the same level of coverage and benefits with no new waiting period, and no Evidence of Insurability requirements.   Re-hired employees who were satisfying their waiting periods when employment was terminated will receive credit for the time they were actively at work before termination. The above elections for all products should be made within 31 days of return to active work.

  • Will claims be paid during the extended grace period or will they be put on hold?
    We will continue to pay claims during the grace period as is our standard practice.
  • Will you be rerating any clients due to a decrease in participation due to COVID-19?
    We will not be rerating. Any rerates would be addressed at point of renewal.
  • Is there an extension to claim submission time periods?

    We will be flexible and review the claim as appropriate.  Please see the table for more details by product.                                              

    Notice of Claims

    Product

    Average notice time period today

    Life

    20 days after covered loss or 'reasonably possible'

    Dental

    30 days after covered loss or 'reasonably possible'

    Vision

    30 days after covered loss or 'reasonably possible'

    Disability LTD

    30 days after Disability or loss occurs or 'reasonably possible'

    Disability STD

    30 days after Disability or loss occurs or 'reasonably possible'


  • When a terminated employee is rehired, are any previous Dental and Vision deductibles satisfied or annual maximums used/left reinstated?

    If an employee is rehired within the same policy year, benefits will be reinstated. If the rehire falls within a different policy year, the employee would restart the deductible and annual maximums.

  • If a Dental or Vision plan is contributory and the employer changes to a 100% voluntary plan will you require a re-rate or hold the current rates until renewal?

    The rates will need to be reevaluated.

  • May an employer choose to offer continuation of coverage to furloughed employees on some, but not all products inforce?

    Yes, Employers can offer coverage continuation across some but not all products.

Tools & Resources

  • What tools are available to help clients stay safe and healthy?
    To help your clients and their employees stay safe, healthy, and deal with the emotions triggered by COVID-19, feel free to share this digital Coronavirus toolkit provided by our Employee Assistance Program (EAP)'s provider, ComPsych. As all of our clients can use support over the next few months, we are making the EAP digital toolkit available to all of our groups to share with all of their employees, even if they do not have the services with us standardly. The digital toolkit can be used by any of our groups, regardless of coverage.

    Coronavirus Toolkit
  • How can we get in touch with your team?
    If you have questions about our practices regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please contact your Equitable Sales Executive or Account Manager, or call Customer Service at 866-274-9887, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM ET; Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM ET.
  • In lieu of face-to-face visits, are virtual visits available to through our EAP services?

    Yes, employees can call our toll-free line and request a counselor. If virtual visits are the preferred mode, they will be connected with a counselor that fits their availability and preferred method of access. This also applies to CISM services.

  • Can you provide more information about the CARES act and its impact on small businesses and their employees?
    Here are some key thoughts about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and how it can help small businesses and their employees. Learn more for businesses and employees

EB360® - Our Integrated Platform

How EB360® Can Help: Proposals, Enrollment, Compensation, and More
  • How do I access EB360®?
    To request access to EB360® for either you or your clients, contact your Equitable Sales Executive or Account Manager, or call Customer Service at 866-274-9887, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM ET; Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM ET.
  • Can I track my proposals on EB360®?
    Yes, you can track proposals from start to finish. Just look at the top of your personalized dashboard, and you can see the number of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) you have pending, sold, or in-force, as well as days for sold, lost, or in-force business. You can see where your clients are in the installation process and can tell when they are claims-ready. You can also see which groups have paid their first bill so you can keep ahead of any possible delays or lapses.
  • How can your technology help me get new clients set up more quickly?
    Our Employee Benefits are built to work your way. Because it is so flexible and seamlessly integrates with other systems, EB360® lets your clients simply "plug and play" with their new enrollment vendor, and our open architecture enables us to work with any carrier's products or vendor's systems. We can also build the electronic data interchange (EDI) integrated file to work in any format or frequency.
  • Can I track my compensation online?
    Yes, go to your personal dashboard on EB360® to view your compensation in the current period or year-to-date. You can drill down into the details to see premium amounts collected from your clients for the current period or YTD, and the commission amounts related to those premiums. You can also download detailed commission reports, just like you would typically get in the mail, in pdf or Excel formats.

    Commission statements will no longer be mailed but will instead by emailed due to the impact of COVID-19.  They can be viewed anytime on our integrated platform, EB360®. Please contact us at EBAppointments@equitable.com if you have not received your commission statement.
  • Can I track enrollment-related changes online?
    With EB360®, you can make a change to your clients’ benefits enrollment and it will immediately show up on your online dashboard, as well as theirs, and on their next month's premium bill.
  • How can I keep track of my clients’ Evidence of Insurability forms?

    When more than a few employees elect more life or disability insurance than the guaranteed issue amount offered, EB360® can help you keep track of them. Here’s how:

    • You’ll see an EOI Status summary view button on your dashboard — letting you know how many EOIs are pending and how many are closed.
    • Click “Go to EOI Dashboard” to see details, such as group and employee names, requested amounts, status, date received, and underwriting decision for each group.
    • Changes to these charts happen immediately!

    Our Life EOI's can be completed and submitted online. Just direct employees to this web page and click the "Evidence of insurability forms" tab.

  • How can EB360®can help my clients and their employees manage their benefits virtually?

    EB360® is set up to help your clients handle issues and questions virtually, from their computer or tablet.

    From the employer’s personalized dashboard, they can:

    • View or download key policy documents and ID cards – Employers won’t need to call you to get what they need for new or newly enrolled employees.
    • See their current invoice – So they always know when they need to pay and how much.
    • Access claims status.

    From the self-service enrollment and administration platform, they can easily:

    • Add new hires, individually or in bulk .
    • View and update existing employee information and coverage.
  • How do I track how much was paid in disability claims on EB360®?
    Go to “My Documents” on your personalized dashboard, then click the folder file called “Sick Pay Reports.” This folder contains reports that detail the costs associated with disability claims for the group during the year. These reports are mailed to employers for tax purposes.
Equitable is the brand name of Equitable Holdings, Inc. and its family of companies, including AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable) (NY, NY), MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), an AZ stock company with main administrative headquarters in Jersey City, NJ, AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) and AXA Distributors, LLC. The 160-history reference applies exclusively to AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.
GE-3007897 (03/2020) (Exp. 06/2020)