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What Do Covid Restrictions Being Lifted Mean For Your Return To Work?

With Covid restrictions being lifted in the US, there are many steps currently being taken now by businesses and governments to get people back to work. While there may still be many uncertainties regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies are reevaluating their current health and safety protocols and looking to adjust workplace guidance. Meaning more and more people are being asked to return to the workplace. 

HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

How are restrictions being lifted?

As vaccination rates continue to rise, many states, government agencies, and private businesses are implementing plans to encourage employees to return to work. In addition, many organizations realize that the time has come to find ways to cope with Covid rather than waiting for it to vanish completely.

With at-home testing now widely available, some employers are providing kits to their staff to encourage their safe return to work. Many businesses also monitor how many employees are vaccinated and how many have recovered from Covid. 

After long periods of working remotely, orders have been reopened, and mitigation measures have been taken, affecting the private sector throughout North Carolina. Depending on your industry, these instructions can vary widely. So, it’s best to speak directly with your employer to find out exactly how they apply to you and follow official guidance where available. 

How do return-to-work COVID plans impact you?

You may be affected differently depending on where you work, your employer, and the industry you work in. However, most of the guidance is being issued at a local level. Specific guidelines are available on the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources website for residents of North Carolina.

Many state agencies are introducing different layers of security measures at workplaces to help ensure their employees’ safety and encourage people to feel safe returning to work. These include:

  • recommending and assisting with the vaccination of employees

  • maintaining social distance

  • restricting visitors

  • installing barriers in public-facing areas 

  • making hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, and wipes available 

  • regular cleaning

Other steps may include temporarily closing shared public spaces such as kitchens or fitness rooms and altering the existing layout of office spaces. Many private businesses are also taking these steps to help facilitate their staff's safe and practical return to work.

What about face coverings?

Some state workers in North Carolina must wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status. This only impacts specific industries, including correctional facilities serving the homeless, transport facilities like airports or train stations, and certain healthcare services such as hospitals or outpatient services. In addition, schools and childcare services also require face coverings for their employees. 

What if you don’t want to return to work?

Various studies completed since the pandemic began show a mixture of disconnect and excitement about returning to the workplace. Many people believe that corporate America has changed forever. As a result, businesses will need to reassess the future of work to incorporate even greater flexibility for their employees. 

Workplace messaging platform Slack recently surveyed around 10,000 workers and found a definite disconnect between executives and regular employees regarding returning to workplaces. For example, the report found three-quarters of executives wanted to return to working in the office three to five days a week, compared with about one-third of other employees. 

Additional research has found that many employees enjoy the flexibility of working from home and don’t want to return to the office full-time. Remote work offers greater work-life balance and flexibility for family life, particularly childcare or other caregiving responsibilities. Many employees also enjoy the extra time they get in their day due to reduced commuting time, which offers greater productivity for personal or work endeavors.

What can a change in Covid restrictions mean for your insurance?

The changes won’t impact your current insurance coverage. Still, if you’re considering changing jobs because of restrictions being lifted, it’s essential to consider what these changes could mean for your existing health insurance plan. This is particularly important if you have employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. 

Here are some options to be aware of if you’re considering changing jobs and need new health insurance:

  • COBRA: If you leave an employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, you may continue coverage after finishing work through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) or continuation coverage.

  • Your family or spouse’s health insurance: If you’re under 26 years old or married to someone with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, you may be added to your family member’s insurance plan. This option allows you to maintain coverage and can be an affordable choice. 

  • Health Insurance Marketplace coverage with a subsidy: Many insurance plans are available via the Health Insurance Marketplace. You could qualify for a subsidy if your income exceeds 100 and 400% of the federal poverty limit (FPL). It’s good to chat with a North Carolina health insurance agent to understand how subsidies work before purchasing. 

  • Private Insurance: You can purchase a private insurance plan, but be mindful that these plans do not offer government subsidies.

  • Short-term plans are a good option if you only need short-term coverage, but be aware that pre-existing conditions aren’t typically covered under short-term plans. 

  • Medicare: If you’re 65, consider health insurance coverage under Medicare. Our Medicare agents can help you find the best Medicare plan in North Carolina.

Need more information?

If you’re considering changing jobs because of COVID restrictions lifted, it’s essential to consider the implications of this decision on your health insurance benefits and premiums. If you’ve got any questions about changing jobs insurance gap or changing jobs COBRA insurance, our licensed NC health insurance agents can help. Get in touch with us today or compare plans online. Your return to work plan in North Carolina may impact your insurance coverage; get in touch today

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