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Bach Is Your Financial Future.
555 Skokie Blvd Suite 250, Northbrook, IL 60062
PO Box 1285, Northbrook, IL 60062
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It’s hard to keep up with the latest on COVID-19 and the deluge of new and changing government assistance programs. We hear the curve is flattening in California but rising in New York. One day there’s billions of dollars available in business loans, and by the end of the week, it’s gone, only to be replenished a week later.
Lost in all this haze is news that outside of the The CARES Act, insurance and credit card companies are also offering financial relief.
Here’s what they’re doing:
Major health insurance providers in Illinois announced that they are waiving patient out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 treatment, mostly applying to commercial plans and individuals with Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental or Medigap policies, and Medicaid.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, is not requiring patients to pay any deductible, copayments and coinsurance for COVID-19 treatment occurring between April 1 through May 31, 2020. This applies to in-network facilities and out-of-network emergency treatment. In addition, UnitedHealthcare is also waiving patient out-of-pocket costs through May 31, 2020. Humana’s waiver covers treatment as well but is open-ended and adds FDA-approved medications or vaccines when they become available.
If you are late on your payments and go beyond the standard seven-day grace period for auto insurance and 31 days for life insurance, you risk losing coverage. In response to COVID-19, many companies are expanding grace periods to 60 days; however, they are not offering forgiveness of payments.
Forbes reports that Allstate is offering auto and property customers a special payment plan that allows them to skip two premium payments without a penalty. Amica will not cancel policies for unpaid premiums, nor will they charge late fees. Though June 17, 2020, USAA will waive late fees and won’t cancel plans for auto and property insurance for customers who need more time to pay.
Some states may mimic California’s order that all insurance companies be required to provide grace periods of at least 60 days for health insurance payments, as well as auto, homeowners, and life. For a full list of COVID-19 policies and states that have enacted executive relief orders, click here.
In pre-pandemic times, worrying about our finances could keep us up at night. Today that worry has been kicked into overdrive. It’s good to know that several credit card companies are jumping in to help customers out in the form of waiving fees and deferring payments. For example, American Express may lower monthly payments and provide relief from late payment fees. Bank of America instituted an assistance program for small businesses and consumers such as requests for payments and refunds on late fees. Navy Federal Credit Union may offer
loan extensions, deferred payments, emergency loans and credit limit increases.
Here’s a list of programs that other big players are offering to ease the financial burden.
As difficult as it is right now, try to take a breath and then take advantage of these relief programs. As a rule, even if your insurance provider or credit card company hasn’t announced any changes, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask directly.