Healthfirst COVID-19 Premium Grace Period Policy

See below from Healthfirst

As we keep you up to date with the latest small group developments, we’d like to inform you that New York State recently released new guidance related to premium payment grace-period rules due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Through June 1, 2020, businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) may request a premium grace-period extension. This guidance only applies to April and May premiums. Our small groups can submit a request for a premium grace-period extension to Employer Services by calling 1-855-949-3668 or by emailing

For your reference, your small group client(s) will receive this letter regarding the premium grace-period extension.

The following information was prepared for use in answering employer or employee questions about premium grace-period extension due to the Coronavirus: Type COVID-19.


Q: Should small groups stop making premium payments?
A: Small groups are encouraged to continue making their premium payments.

Q: How can a small group request a premium grace-period extension due to financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Small groups experiencing hardship in paying premiums because of COVID-19 may request a grace period extension by calling Employer Services at 1-855-949-3668 or by emailing before June 1, 2020.

If the group pays their full premium balance by June 1, 2020, Healthfirst will not

  • disenroll them from the plan
  • impose a late fee on their premium invoice
  • report them to a credit reporting agency, or refer them to a debt collection agency

Other Coverage Options:
A group can purchase a different health insurance policy through the NY State of Health Marketplace at The Marketplace offers a variety of coverage options from a number of insurers, including Healthfirst. A group’s employees or their families may also qualify for Medicaid, Child Health Plus (CHP), or the Essential Plan through the Marketplace. For more information, call the Marketplace help line at 1-855-355-5777 (TTY 1-800-662-1220), Monday to Friday, 8am–8pm, or Saturday, 9am–1pm.

Groups may request a NYS Small Business employer eligibility determination through the NY State of Health Small Business Marketplace by going to If their employees enroll in a Marketplace-certified policy and if they meet all the required IRS guidelines, they can access the federal small business healthcare tax credit.

They can only get the federal small business healthcare tax credit if the Marketplace determines that the group is an eligible employer and only if their employees enroll in a Marketplace-certified insurance policy.

Q: Who can request the premium grace-period extension because of financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The request will be honored if it is received from an authorized benefit administrator (BA). An authorized BA can be the group’s Broker, General Agent, or Plan Administrator.

Q: How long is the premium grace-period extension?
A: The premium grace-period extension will last through June 1, 2020 and will apply only to April and May premiums. If the premium payments are not received by June 1, the policy is subject to termination. 

Q: Will small groups continue to receive past due premium notices?
A: Healthfirst will continue to send past due premium notices to all our small groups.

Q: Will small groups continue to receive invoices?
A: Healthfirst will continue to send out small group invoices; the total balance due will continue to accumulate until the balance is paid in full.

For additional information, please refer to the New York State’s regulation here.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call your dedicated Healthfirst Account Executive, or Broker Services at 1-855-456-3668, Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm.