Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...
By Nushin Huq
The city of Houston made a number of concessions on medical benefits for its employees, reducing barriers to health-care access during the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, city officials told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 31.
The storm dumped feet of water on the city, flooding roads and homes. Working with its health-care carriers, the city’s concessions include suspending the automatic termination rules for medical benefits and lifting prescription refill restrictions, Teri Germany-Haddad, the city’s deputy director of human resources, told Bloomberg BNA in a statement.
Prior authorization requirements have been waived for acute medical care and behavioral health services, Haddad said. Additionally, employees who utilize mail order pharmacies for generic medicine but have been displaced by flooding and presently have no place for medications to be shipped will be able to refill their prescriptions with no copayment at retailers.
The city opened a free 24/7 telephone help line, which will remain open through Oct. 15, to support all affected employees. Houston is continuing to explore other opportunities to reduce any barriers related to health care for its workers, she said.
“City of Houston employees who have the ability to safely return to work will do so to ensure continuity of services in our great city,” Haddad said.
The city’s hurricane policy for its employees will not mirror Harris County. Harris County is the largest county in Texas and encompasses most of Houston, as well as surrounding areas. During the hurricane and accompanying storms, nonessential employees were told to work from home or to volunteer for hurricane relief efforts instead of using vacation or comp time.
Since Aug. 26, Harvey and related storms have dumped more than 50 inches of rain in parts of Texas, causing catastrophic flooding.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nushin Huq in Houston at nHuq@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)