NEW YORK, April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A poll from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian Life) revealed 92% of small business owners are reporting a moderate to very high level of stress at this time, yet more than 70% remain optimistic about the future1. Understanding that small businesses have been among the hardest hit during this pandemic, Guardian announced today it has extended access to its WorkLifeMatters employee assistance program to serve nearly 90,000 small business owners and their 2.3 million employees. As part of the service, the company launched the Small Business Covid-19 Action Center, in partnership with Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), to help its customers navigate the ongoing health crisis. Guardian customers will have interactive access to dedicated behavioral health, financial, and legal specialists for personalized support, as well as access to the full complement of WorkLifeMatters services at no cost through July 31, 2020.
"Small businesses are at the heart of our employee benefits business and they have been particularly impacted by this pandemic. The financial and personal stress are immense," said Andrew McMahon, President at Guardian. "Guardian continues to be guided by its core values: to do the right thing and that people count. Providing small businesses and their employees support and personalized advice is a concrete way we can help."
In addition to the broad set of services currently offered in Guardian's WorkLifeMatters program, the new resources available include:
- Small Business Covid-19 Action Center: Offers information on a range of topics such as the federal CARES Act, business continuation planning, rent lease negotiations for small business owners along with unemployment, tax consultations and emotional wellness for employees.
- Behavioral Health, Financial or Legal Specialists: Guardian understands that small business owners and employees may be facing numerous challenges and need personal support. A team of specialists are being made available. For example, a small business owner can speak with a legal specialist for counsel regarding personnel to help address issues like furloughed employees and rehiring.
Rounding out the resources for small business owners and employees is Guardian's weekly Covid-19 webinar series with topics like CARES Act, paid leave and mental health.
Other actions taken by the company to help ease the financial impact for its customers include:
Resumption Coverage for Furloughed Employees and Rate Renewals
To support small business clients who temporarily had to close their operations, Guardian will resume a business's prior coverage plans on the date the business re-opens and/or the date the business re-hires its employees. Guardian will also retain rates (no rate change) on all renewals occurring between May 1,2020 through August 31, 2020 plan anniversary dates. Simply put, if the employer's original renewal anniversary date was August 1, 2020, Guardian will honor the same rate through August 1, 2021.
Teledentistry Covered for Emergency Dental Care
Since consumers are unable to see their dentist until they re-open for business, Guardian expanded its coverage of teledentistry claims when utilized to provide emergency services to its members. Teledentistry claims will be covered through May 31, 2020. Should a member need immediate dental care, Guardian encourages they ask their dentist about a telehealth visit. To learn more about teledentistry and how it works, visit Guardian here.
For information on Guardian's latest updates during coronavirus, visit here.
Every day, Guardian provides Americans the security they deserve through our insurance and wealth management products and services. Since our founding in 1860, our long-term view has helped our customers prepare for whatever life brings whether starting a family, planning for the future or taking care of employees. Today, we're a Fortune 250 mutual company and a leading provider of life, disability, dental, and other benefits for individuals, at the workplace and through government sponsored programs. The Guardian community of over 9,000 employees and our network of over 2,500 financial representatives is committed to serving with expertise when, where and how our clients need us. Our commitments rest on a strong financial foundation, which at year-end 2019 included $9.3 billion in capital and $1.7 billion in operating income. For more information, please visit guardianlife.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
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Insurance products are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, NY, NY. Products not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs. Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage. Guardian's employee assistance program WorkLifeMatters program services are provided by Integrated Behavioral Health, Inc., and its contractors. Guardian does not provide any part of WorkLifeMatters program services. Guardian is not responsible or liable for care or advice given by any provider or resource under the program.
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1 Guardian Webinar Polling 3/25/2020 – 4/15/2020 (n = 1,235)