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June E-News: A Safe Return to the Workplace and the Great Outdoors

With much of Washington state and the rest of the nation moving toward reopening, Business Health Trust wants to make sure you have the resources you need to safely head back to the workplace.

Our June Healthy Living with Business Health Trust e-news offers resources to help you get stocked up with our new health and safety supplies website, and keep you informed with our updated COVID-19 Resources for Employers site. We’ll also help you head outdoors with 10 breathtaking Washington hiking trails, just be sure to follow safe social distancing practices.

Click here to see the June edition.

Click here to see past editions or to subscribe to Healthy Living.

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COVID-19 Health and Safety Supplies Now Available Via New Business Health Trust Site

In its ongoing efforts to help small businesses obtain resources while the state struggles with the impacts of COVID-19, Business Health Trust has partnered with PrintNW to help the public purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 health and safety supplies.

The new website BusinessHealthTrust.GearNW.com features PPE including face masks, gloves and safety glasses, along with signage that can help companies encourage social distancing and other safety practices.

“We are dedicated to providing resources to companies across Washington,” said Sarai Childs, executive director of Business Health Trust. “In this time, we know that businesses are looking for supplies and signage to help support re-opening, which is why we are excited that PrintNW has put together an easy site for businesses to access these items.”

Business Health Trust offers health insurance and other employee benefits, and is also a source to help small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits.

To read more about how Business Health Trust has been reaching out to members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the article, “What Does Your Health Insurance Do for You?

To learn more or get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or 425.201.1972.

How to Report Unemployment Fraud

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) announced on May 14, 2020, that unemployment fraud is on the rise, and Business Health Trust wants to make sure you have the proper resources if you become a victim.

If you have reason to believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your information or used a scam to obtain your private information, the ESD urges you to make a report at esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud.

Please be aware that you will need the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Last 4 numbers of your Social Security number (never put your full SSN in an email)
  3. Your address
  4. Your date of birth
  5. Brief description of how you found out an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information
  6. Please let us know: If an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information, do you give us permission to deny and cancel it?

Additional steps you can take if you believe you are a victim of fraud:

To combat the increase in imposter fraud, ESD has hired more fraud investigators and will be focused on validating this week’s claims, leading to a potential hold on payments for an additional 1-2 days this week.

“We apologize for the hardship this may cause for valid claimants,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine in the news release.

Also on May 14, the ESD announced that state unemployment during the week of May 3-9 totaled 1.3 million, an increase of over 215,000 from the previous week.

Business Health Trust Offers Flexible Timelines for Your Employee Benefits Renewal

Business Health Trust is your source for employee benefits, offering a diverse selection of health insurance plans combined with other resources and discounts to create an incomparable benefit program for small businesses in Washington state.

Whether you have two employees or more than 100, we can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

With Business Health Trust, you also have the flexibility to choose a program timeline that best suits your business needs. For many companies, open enrollment falls in November, while many of your employees are busy with the holidays and closing down the fiscal year.

Looking for a better time of year to plan your employee benefits program? How about now?

Business Health Trust offers three distinct timelines that aim to better accommodate your distinct business:

  • July 1 Anniversary Dates through 11 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees
  • Rolling Renewal through the Small-Group Community-Rated Product
    For groups with 1-50 employees
  • January 1 Anniversary Dates through 13 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees

This unique solution is key to our mission is to help Washington’s business community thrive by providing the high-quality, affordable employee benefits growing companies need to be competitive.

To learn more, please fill out the Request a Quote form or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Digital Mental Health Support Just a Click Away Through myStrength

With the start of Mental Health Month comes a new resource for Business Health Trust members enrolled in one of the many medical plans available through Kaiser Permanente.

On May 1, 2020, Kaiser Permanente introduced the myStrength digital mental health app, available at no additional cost to enrolled adults. myStrength provides resources for emotional well-being, including help with stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, parenting and more. The personalized program includes interactive exercises, in-the-moment coping tools, and inspirational resources.

This resource is particularly valuable while social distancing remains in effect though Washington state’s extended Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

To access myStrength, make sure you have an active kp.org/wa account, then follow the easy three-step directions on the myStrength flyer.

For more information on how Kaiser Permanente supports members’ mental health and wellness, go to wa.kaiserpermanente.org/html/public/specialties/mental-health/mental-health-wellness.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form.

Telehealth Access Expanded for Business Health Trust Members Enrolled in Premera Blue Cross

Many recreational activities have already reopened as we begin Phase 1 of Washington state’s plan to lift the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order on May 31. But even as we’re better able to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, social distancing means many of us will continue to connect virtually with colleagues, family and friends.

In the meantime, that is also the best way to communicate with your health care providers for non-emergency care, especially if you think you may have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross, the telehealth options available are better than ever to help accommodate increased demand and to help members access the specialized care they need.

As always, members have virtual care access to:

  • 24-Hour NurseLine, accessible at no charge; phone number is listed on the back of members’ Premera Blue Cross ID card
  • Teladoc® – Talk to a board-certified doctor via phone, video or mobile app
  • Talkspace – Online behavioral therapy with a licensed clinician via private message and live video

Premera also has announced a temporary enhancement of in-network virtual providers that goes beyond primary health care to include additional options for mental health and substance use disorder. New providers include:

  • 98point6 – On-demand, text-based primary care
  • Doctor On Demand – Video-based primary care and mental health therapy
  • Boulder Care – Video-based treatment for opioid use disorder
  • Workit Health – Video-based treatment for alcohol use disorder

Member cost shares are waived for all telehealth services. Access to these new providers and the waiving of member costs shares are available through December 31, 2020.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form or read more about the resources and services available to members during the COVID-19 pandemic in the article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Note: This article was updated on May 29, 2020, to update a change in the telehealth expansion from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

Listen to Recordings of the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series

As a trusted resource for the small business community in Washington state, Business Health Trust is playing a key role in the #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series focused on helping employers and employees members navigate questions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in a timely and accurate manner.

You now have access to listen to the entire series, and view recaps along with updates to individual episodes via the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Commerce, which is presenting the series and is the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust.

To listen to the following recorded #WeGotThisWA episodes, click the “Listen to the Webinar” link on the right (webinars work best in Chrome, not Internet Explorer):

Navigating State Unemployment in a Pandemic

March 23, 2020: Focus on Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) and information on how to navigate these benefits, especially if your workforce includes part-time workers who are getting automatic denials as ESD works to update its system to reflect new emergency rules.
Featured speaker: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst, Washington State Employment Security Department

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

March 27, 2020: Highlights more information on what Washington’s #StayHomeStayHealthy order means for families and businesses, how King County is supporting this effort, and a look at the federal stimulus package that was working through Congress.
Featured speakers: Rachel Smith, Deputy Executive of King County; Tony Williams, Partner and Chairman at Washington 2 Advocates

Hear from Healthcare

March 31, 2020: Highlights facts on COVID-19, including what to do if you think you are sick or have been exposed, steps medical professionals are taking, some workplace safety tips, and how Kaiser Permanente is keeping its community informed.
Featured speaker: Dr. Deb Friesen, Kaiser Permanente

Managing Business Expenses

April 2, 2020: Highlights best practices for businesses talking to their landlords and banks about options for easing monthly payments during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Rachel Marshall, Rachel’s Ginger Beer; Jimmy Ng, KeyBank; Kerri Schroeder, Bank of America; Paul Suzman, OfficeLease

Employee Engagement and Communication

April 7, 2020: Highlights creative tactics that foster healthy and effective communication and camaraderie to keep employees engaged, productive and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured speakers: Jane Billbe, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Alicia Teel, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis

April 9, 2020: Highlights an overview of the COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis, which the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Business Health Trust commissioned from Community Attributes. The initial analysis is a snapshot in time in a rapidly evolving situation. It also features an overview of what the Chamber is doing to support the community at this time.
Featured speakers: Chris Mefford, Community Attributes; Diana Birkett Rakow, Board Chair of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Federal Stimulus Package

April 10, 2020: Highlights the federal stimulus bills and explores areas such as the Small Business Administration’s lending programs and expanded unemployment assistance, as well as looking what could be ahead in a potential future bill.
Featured speakers: Kimberly Ellis, T.A. Hawks; Matt McAlvanah, Monument Advocacy

Unemployment Update and Paid Leave Requirements

April 14, 2020: Highlights updates that have been made to unemployment benefits programs in the past few weeks, timelines, plus any additional rules that have been added. Also features new requirements around paid leave that were passed at the federal level, including how these requirements overlap with unemployment benefits.
Featured speakers: Kris Bowen, Lead Policy Analyst at the Washington State Employment Security Department; Davis Wright Tremaine

What Every Business Should Know about PPP Loan Forgiveness

April 21, 2020: Highlights how business owners can set themselves up to best utilize their PPP funds – including tips and tricks to navigating this new program and best positioning your business.
Featured speakers: Lewis Horowitz and Eric Kodesch with Lane Powell

PPP Frequently Asked Questions

April 23: Answers follow-up questions from April 21’s webinar on PPP loan forgiveness.

Planning for What’s Ahead

April 28: Highlights what immediate steps organizations need to start planning for – and taking – that will help in the long run.
Featured speakers: Barie Carmichael, Tim Smith and Kelly Stepno with APCO Worldwide

Safe Work Planning Checklist

April 30: Highlights recommendations for businesses to consider as part of re‑opening, including how to support effective screening, tracking and tracing, and how to support employees.
Featured speakers: Charlie Davis and Justin Vincent with Boston Consulting Group; Teresa Hutson with Microsoft

#WeGotThisWA Series: Work from Home Tips for Physical Well-Being

May 8: Ergonomic advice, stretches and health tips to keep you feeling good while working from home.
Featured speaker: Kerry Field, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with Peak Sports & Spine Physical Therapy

#WeGotThisWA Series: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Considerations for Businesses

May 12: How business owners and operators should be thinking through what personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies they’ll need as they prepare for a new normal.
Featured speaker: Rachel Smith, Chief of Staff for the King County Executive Office

#WeGotThisWA Series: Back to Work Toolkit

May 14: Highlights the Back To Work Toolkit was designed in partnership with the Seattle Met Chamber to help save entrepreneurs and founders time in figuring out the “how” of reopening businesses.
Featured speakers: Costco Wholesale’s Patrick Callans, Alaska Airlines’ Tiffany DeHaan, Madrona Venture Group’s Katie Drucker, Boon Boona Coffee Efrem Fesaha, and Teresa Huston.

What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Business Health Trust is more than just insurance. We are a source to help your small businesses navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits — and our dedication to that task has never been more important than in these challenging times.

Immediately after Washington state became the site of the first U.S. deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19), Business Health Trust took on a leadership role aimed at sharing best practices and streamlining communications, then started doing just that for members enrolled in Business Health Trust.

Since then, valuable information focused on supporting small businesses has been emailed to Business Health Trust members as quickly as possible, starting with a campaign to help small businesses obtain free or discounted cleaning and sanitizing supplies while they are in short supply, followed by a survey to find out what other needs members have.

Members have received helpful flyers such as 5 Ways to Avoid the Flu and Protect Yourself from Flu & Coronavirus: Handwashing, while the dedicated COVID-19/Coronavirus Resources for Employers page offers useful information to help employers find resources to keep their employees safe, including information on how to apply for a small business loan and unemployment information.

As the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) has continued to develop, Business Health Trust has kept members up-to-date with FAQs, forms, links and other resources to help small businesses and individuals take advantage of its Paycheck Protection Program. The program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more, which you can learn more about in the following Business Health Trust articles:

Business Health Trust’s valued partners also have stepped up to offer even more to members: For instance, Archbright has enhanced the free online membership that already is available to Business Health Trust members to offer even more of its HR resources at no additional cost, including access to the HR hotline.

Meanwhile, Business Health Trust is also taking a leadership role in the free #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series offered through the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust. For more information or to register, go to the Seattle Chamber’s events page.

Why? Because We Care

Business Health Trust understands that a healthy company provides the foundation for a healthy workforce. That’s why we are dedicated to doing more than offering comprehensive, affordable employee benefits to small and mid-size businesses in Washington state.

We are also a resource for small employers, offering the information and tools they need to keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state. To do that we also advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington, so that small businesses and non-profits can offer their employees the health benefits they need to stay competitive, providing health insurance for groups that might not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

These are the values we abide by every day. Because we are Business Health Trust. We are here for you.

To learn more or to enroll today to get access to these great resources, contact 425.201.1972 or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Roundup of COVID-19 Webinars from Business Health Trust Partner Associations

Looking for resources to help stay informed on the developing COVID-19 outbreak? With our core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust would like to share how our partner chambers are working to stay connected with members.

Although all in-person events have been canceled for the coming weeks, our partners are utilizing their robust networks to host webinars featuring the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 among other resources. The below list is still preliminary, so please be sure to keep an eye on the different Chamber websites or sign up for alerts:

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
#WeGotThisWA series – free, registration required

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance Snohomish County
Keeping the Lights On: A Business Resiliency Webinar – free, registration required

View upcoming webinars and sign up at https://localsnoco.com/educational-resources/

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Webinar on COVID-19; free and open to all; join at https://zoom.us/j/843841095 or click below times to learn more or for more accessibility options:

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
Thurston’s Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know; free and open to all; click below to register or learn more:

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Free informational videos can be viewed on the following topics:

Governor Jay Inslee announces stay at home order for Washington State and closes many Washington businesses.

Washington State’s Stay at Home Order and Protecting Your Essential Employees from COVID-19

List of Ideas for Employers to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus and Protect their Essential Employees

While the President, Governor, and CDC have encouraged working from home, we know many workers have still been going into work because their responsibilities demand it. On March 23rd, however, Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay-home order that will close many more businesses and increase pressure on businesses to have their employees working from home.

Are you a business owner or manager and still have employees out and about as your business is considered an essential business in this time? Below are some ideas. Stay safe!

Facemasks/Surgical Masks. Should we get them?

No, donate them to a local hospital. The CDC has repeatedly said these should be saved for medical workers and those with symptoms. There is currently a shortage and healthcare workers are even resorting to making their own.

Meetings

In general, skip meetings or make them remote. If you must have in-person meetings, remember your social distancing etiquette and stay 6 feet apart.

Wear gloves so long as healthcare workers have theirs

Even non-sterile gloves can help your hands stay clean.

Hand washing

Require frequent handwashing throughout shifts, before and after shifts, or whatever milestones make sense in your business model.

Phones

Remind employees and partners to sanitize their phones.

Start times

Stagger start and stop times of shifts as to reduce amount of people commuting (via public transportation) at any given time.

Door handles

Prop restroom doors open slightly (when appropriate) to avoid touching handles.

Increase paper towels in bathroom so people can use the paper towels to open door handles.

Evangelize

Create a culture where teammates, partners, clients are all reminded to wash their hands when in the field or on the job.

Signage

Post “handwashing” signs throughout your facility.

Sanitize regularly

Wipe down products and surfaces often.