As enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) had been imposed in areas outside Luzon that have high COVID-19 cases, the Insurance Commission (IC) has allowed health insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in Visayas and Mindanao to apply for lockdown exemptions.

Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa on May 5 issued a circular to supplement guidelines to the ECQ-exemption being enjoyed by a few employees of HMOs, mutual benefit associations (MBAs) and other health insurance providers.

Funa noted that the ECQ extension until May 15 now covered high-risk areas aside from Luzon, while the IC had received requests to also approve skeleton workforce arrangements for HMOs and health insurers operating in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Funa allowed HMOs and health insurance providers outside Luzon to secure prior IC approval for exemptions as long as only a maximum of 10 percent of total workforce will be allowed to move around for claims processing and limited customer and backroom services.

The IC earlier ordered “stringent qualifications criteria shall be observed in selecting the skeletal force, preferably the young, the strong, the healthy and skilled personnel.”

The IC had prohibited staffers who are pregnant, those 54-years-old and above, those with underlying medical conditions and COVID-19 symptoms, and those who had contact with suspected or probable coronavirus carriers from reporting for work.

The insurance regulator had also reminded those allowed to get ECQ exemption to wear face masks, heed physical and social distancing rules, practice hand hygiene, go through thermal scanning, enter only disinfected workplaces, living quarters and shuttles and regularly monitor health.

Also, the IC had asked companies to provide transport, meals, lodging, flexible hours, work-from-home arrangements and to rotate employees and branch operations.

Edited by TSB


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