Tag Archives: Employee benefits

What does coronavirus imply for holidays, journey insurance coverage


If I purchase journey insurance coverage now for a vacation I’ve simply booked, will it cowl me going ahead?

Sure. The Affiliation of British Insurers confirmed this week that somebody reserving a vacation to Spain in, say, June, and shopping for journey insurance coverage could be lined for cancellation, however provided that the Overseas & Commonwealth Workplace (FCO) later suggested towards journey to the nation. The insurance coverage has to have been purchased earlier than a rustic was declared off limits.

That stated, Cash wouldn’t be shocked if insurers – confronted with a deluge of claims sooner or later – began to argue that the virus was a identified downside when the coverage was purchased. Power majeure could also be used to keep away from paying out, though once we examined a number of main journey coverage phrases and situations this week, we weren’t capable of determine such get-out clauses. MB

Will journey insurance coverage cowl me if I cancel my vacation?

Generally, no. Insurers’ cancellation cowl will solely kick in if the FCO advises towards all however important journey. This occurred for China, elements of South Korea and the world of northern Italy in lockdown. Nevertheless, in case you are travelling to a different vacation spot that’s not lined by the recommendation – and also you don’t really feel you need to journey due to the chance – your journey insurance coverage won’t cowl your losses. MB

What journey insurance coverage coverage ought to I purchase?

One of many issues confronted by travellers has been the truth that airways have been cancelling flights. Whereas they are going to refund the price of the ticket, holidaymakers have been left holding unrefundable lodge and automotive rent bookings. The higher journey insurance policies supply “journey disruption cowl”, which can typically choose up the items in such circumstances.

After Flybe’s collapse this week and the warnings that different airways could also be in the identical boat, consumers have to go for a coverage that gives scheduled airline failure (SAF). About half of journey insurance policies offered within the UK supply SAF as customary, with an extra 19% providing it as an add-on in keeping with Defaqto. Within the present local weather it could be a mistake to not purchase a coverage that included it.

MoneySavingExpert did an in-depth investigation into which insurance policies are at present the perfect buys. It highlighted the AA (Silver) cowl coverage, which can cowl you in case your flight or lodge is cancelled. This prices about £29 for a 35-year-old’s annual European coverage, £141 for a household worldwide. It additionally favours Nationwide’s journey cowl for these with its FlexPlus account. MB

England’s Ben Youngs looks to pass the ball during the Six Nations match between England and Ireland

Rugby followers who purchased tour packages for the England v Italy Six Nations match in Rome on 14 March ought to get refunds {Photograph}: Glyn Kirk/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

I’m over 70, and my physician has suggested me to not journey. What’s my place?

The attainable exception to the above comes in case your GP has suggested you to not journey to a virus-affected space, during which case your journey insurance coverage might kick in.

Axa stated: “In case your GP tells you to not journey to an [affected] space, you must contact us earlier than your departure date, and also you gained’t be penalised.”

The conventional situations of declaring pre-existing situations will apply. So, for those who have been advised to not journey by your physician due to an underlying lung downside that you just had not declared if you purchased the coverage, you might discover your declare turned down, or the payout diminished. Docs could, within the present local weather, take a really dim view of being requested to supply a letter to will let you make such a declare. MB

I used to be as a result of journey to attend an occasion that has been cancelled – can I declare again my losses?

It relies upon. Those that purchased tour packages to go to the Italy v England Six Nations rugby match in Rome on 14 March – which has been postponed – will likely be provided a full refund or tickets for the brand new date.

Nevertheless, for those who had put collectively your individual bundle, shopping for a match ticket, and reserving inns and flights your self, most journey insurance policies are unlikely to pay up.

There are a couple of exceptions. Some insurers pays up in case you are pressured to desert the journey. For instance, Barclays’ journey insurance coverage states that it’s going to pay as much as £3,00zero if “the world during which you’re staying is affected by pandemic or epidemic influenza”.

Most affordable individuals would suppose that Italy and a bunch of different areas have been affected, however the World Well being Group is but to declare a pandemic. MB

Winter landscape in Dolomites

Each Inghams and Crystal Ski are nonetheless flying shoppers to northern Italy for ski journeys. {Photograph}: boerescul/Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

I’ve a ski vacation booked within the Dolomites later this month. Can I get my a refund?

The tour corporations are, for now, sticking firmly to their phrases and situations. Provided that you cancel at Crystal Ski (a part of Tui) greater than 70 days earlier than departure do you get your a refund – after which it’s minus the deposit. After that, there’s a sliding scale of charges: so for those who cancel between 28 and 15 days previous to departure, you get simply 10% of your a refund; and for those who cancel 14 days earlier than it’s nothing again. It’s the same image at Inghams: you’ll get nothing again for those who cancel inside 21 days. Apparently, each are nonetheless flying shoppers to northern Italy for ski journeys, and are saying they are going to solely supply refunds if FCO recommendation modifications. You’d be mad to e book proper now. PC

I used to be about to e book my summer season vacation – ought to I nonetheless do it?

There’s little price to delaying however for those who actually need to e book, be good about it. If shopping for a summer season vacation bundle from Tui, for instance, select a no-deposit deal, then mark your calendar for 70 days earlier than departure. As much as then, you possibly can cancel and get your a refund.However after that, you’ll begin dropping a whole lot of what you’ve paid.

Impartial travellers ought to for now solely e book inns and automotive rent with 100% cancellation rights. Many lodge teams, conscious how nervous holidaymakers are, have switched to 100% free cancellation. For instance, Meliá, an enormous Spanish lodge chain, was this week providing all its rooms with free cancellation. Purchase on the lodge’s personal web site, and, the place attainable, select the pay-on-arrival choice.

Flights are extra difficult. Ryanair is notably robust for those who select to cancel, refusing to offer any a refund. For those who should e book now, simply pay the naked minimal for the flight, and keep away from the extras for “precedence” or seat choice. You may add them later. You might also need to keep away from the financially weaker airways – the longer the disaster carries on, the extra will go bust. Atol safety solely applies for those who purchase the lodging and flights from a journey agent on the similar time.

The long-haul image is brighter. Virgin Atlantic and BA have stated they are going to waive flight change charges for brand spanking new bookings this month, so you should purchase after which postpone if wanted. PC

Will the Ehic cowl me in Europe if I want extended hospital care?

Ehic card and British passport

The Ehic card stays in drive till the tip of December 2020. {Photograph}: Alamy

The Ehic – European medical insurance card – is an EU-wide scheme that is still in drive till the tip of December this yr, and provides you state-provided healthcare within the EU without spending a dime or at diminished price till you come residence. The UK has issued about 27m playing cards, and you may nonetheless apply for a free one: seek for “NHS Ehic” on the web and don’t fall for any of the dodgy web sites that cost charges.

The Italian authorities has pledged to supply free entry to Covid-19 therapy to all vacationers, with the president of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi, telling day by day Corriere della Sera this week “the Italian well being system is free and for everybody”. PC

Will flights get cheaper?

They already are. Ryanair is at present promoting flights from London to just about all over the place in Italy for beneath £20 in June and beneath £30 in July. Flights to Rome for the Easter weekend begin at £80 return, when normally they might be double or triple that worth.

Lengthy-haul costs are additionally dropping. British Airways is at present providing London-New York returns at about £250 return via March, April, Might and June. Google Flights’ “worth graph” and Ryanair’s “fare finder” choices are helpful for exhibiting the most cost effective offers.

Airways are decreasing capability and cancelling some flights, so don’t count on costs to fall a lot additional.

Years and Years perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury festival

Glastonbury competition is simply one of many huge occasions this summer season that might be affected by coronavirus. {Photograph}: Michael Cragg/The Guardian

I’ve paid £265 for a ticket to Glastonbury competition. What occurs if it will get cancelled? And what if it goes forward however I resolve to not go?

With some international locations imposing restrictions on giant public gatherings, persons are anxiously crossing their fingers and hoping Glastonbury will go forward in June. On Wednesday this week, organisers stated they might not affirm if the competition would undoubtedly go forward, and have been persevering with to plan for it whereas intently monitoring developments.

If the occasion is cancelled, you possibly can count on a refund. The competition web site states that after midnight on 7 Might 2020, “no refunds will likely be made aside from within the occasion of the cancellation of the competition. Reserving charges and postage and packing expenses are non-refundable.”

For those who resolve to cancel earlier than that date, you can be reimbursed the worth of your ticket, minus a £25 administration payment – so in case you are nervous, the excellent news is that you’ve got two months earlier than it’s worthwhile to decide.

Some ticketholders could have purchased TicketPlan refund safety, the place refunds are supplied for those who can not attend due to sure circumstances. RJ

I’ve tickets for a gig at a big venue. What occurs if it will get cancelled?

The Society of Ticket Brokers and Retailers (Star) says the UK authorities and deputy chief medical officer have suggested that there isn’t any clear motive for cancelling occasions. “Until particular occasions have been cancelled by an artist or occasion organisers, all different occasions are scheduled to go forward, and the usual coverage will apply. Cancelled occasions are sometimes rescheduled, however for those who can’t make the brand new date or the occasion is cancelled fully, you’re entitled to a refund of no less than the face worth of your ticket.”

Some occasions have already been cancelled – for instance, early final month the Korean band Seventeen cancelled their gig at London’s Wembley Enviornment tomorrow (eight March) due to the outbreak. Relating to that gig, the Wembley web site states: “All tickets will mechanically be refunded from level of buy.”

Some venues such because the O2 in London do have small print that claims neither they nor the occasion organiser “will likely be liable to you … to the extent that any loss or failure … is attributable to a drive majeure occasion”.

It states that drive majeure “means any trigger past AEG’s or the organiser’s affordable management”, which suggests venues/organisers might in idea use this clause to reject claims.

Maintain an in depth eye on venue and ticket company web sites, particularly earlier than you set off – many are offering common updates.

For those who choose to not go, there are a variety of fan-to-fan resale web sites, together with Twickets, the place you possibly can promote your tickets and hopefully recoup your outlay. RJ

‘Our insurer refused to pay regardless of journey restrictions’

American Samoa

American Samoa imposed a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus fears. {Photograph}: Alamy

A pair who have been pressured to desert a rowing journey to American Samoa after the governor of the tiny Pacific island imposed a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus fears have been advised by Barclays, their journey insurer, that they’ll’t declare for his or her misplaced flights.

John and Caroline Turnbull, from Woking, have been as a result of take the journey of a lifetime in April to fulfill fellow rowing lovers for a two-week tour of the little-known, distant American territory within the South Pacific Ocean.

Having booked costly flights from London to Hawaii, and dear enterprise class tickets for the five-and-a-half-hour flight to Pago Pago on American Samoa, the couple, each of their 70s, say they’ve been pressured to desert the Samoa a part of the journey to the island, after the governor banned all international nationals from touchdown on the island except they’ve spent 14 days in Hawaii.

The island had already been battling a lethal measles outbreak that has killed greater than 60 individuals.

“The ban successfully rendered our flights unusable. Hawaiian Airways gained’t refund us, because it says that it’s nonetheless working the flight,” says John.

The couple had worldwide journey insurance coverage supplied by Barclays as an add-on to a checking account and duly claimed the £2,500 they’d spent on the Hawaii to Samoa flights they might not use.

Nevertheless, Barclays turned down the cancellation declare on the idea that the UK authorities has not suggested towards journey to the island.

After the Guardian’s intervention, Barclays took a second take a look at the case, and has now paid up.

“The preliminary decline determination was the proper given there isn’t any cowl in our coverage for ‘closure of borders’. Now we have, nevertheless, reviewed the specifics of this case and have determined that the declare will likely be paid as a gesture of goodwill,” it stated. MB

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Well being system pays $575 million to settle anti-trust lawsuit


Considered one of Northern California’s largest well being techniques is paying $575 million to settle claims that it used anti-competitive practices to bump up prices for sufferers

Considered one of Northern California’s largest well being techniques pays $575 million to settle claims that it used anti-competitive practices to bump up prices for sufferers, the state’s legal professional normal mentioned Friday, although that falls wanting damages sought in a associated personal lawsuit that would have exceeded $1 billion.

California Legal professional Normal Xavier Becerra had sought an injunction to cease the alleged anti-trust practices by Sutter Well being, however no financial damages. The settlement imposes a brand new court-approved monitor on the well being system for 10 years to make sure it’s not utilizing anti-competitive practices with insurance coverage corporations to extend sufferers’ prices.

Becerra known as it “one of many largest actions in opposition to anti-competitive conduct within the well being care market throughout the nation, with unprecedented ranges of injunctive reduction to revive competitors available in the market.” It’s bigger than latest comparable settlements with different suppliers in North Carolina and Washington state, his workplace mentioned.

The settlement instantly set off a debate between hospitals and client advocates over whether or not it can restrict or enhance well being care prices.

About 1,400 self-funded employers individually obtained the $575 million in damages from Sutter and can have claims paid by means of an impartial administrator, minus attorneys charges. It is not clear if customers will get a share of the settlement, Becerra mentioned, however he mentioned sufferers ought to profit from elevated competitors.

Below earlier market situations a typical inpatient process may cost a little $90,000 extra in Northern California than within the southern a part of the state, he mentioned citing a college examine. The state had mentioned Sutter was largely guilty.

The Sacramento-based nonprofit didn’t admit wrongdoing and denied the allegations, arguing that there’s loads of competitors and that insurance coverage corporations had been those boosting prices.

“There have been no claims that Sutter’s contracting practices with insurance coverage corporations affected affected person care or high quality,” Sutter Well being Senior Vice President and Normal Counsel Flo Di Benedetto mentioned in a press release hailing the settlement.

Sutter and Becerra introduced in October that that they had settled the class-action lawsuit simply in time to keep away from a trial. However they didn’t present particulars till Friday, after it was submitted to a San Francisco Superior Court docket choose for approval. The swimsuit was first filed by employers and unions in 2014, however Becerra filed the same lawsuit final 12 months after a six-year investigation.

Amongst different issues, the settlement limits what Sutter can cost for out-of-network procedures and will increase pricing transparency.

It bars Sutter from blocking insurance coverage corporations from utilizing incentives to direct sufferers to cheaper well being care suppliers, a observe that critics mentioned made it more durable for sufferers to make use of Sutter’s lower-priced rivals. And it prohibits what Becerra known as Sutter’s “all or nothing” strategy with insurance coverage corporations, which required insurers to incorporate all the corporate’s hospitals of their supplier networks even when it did not make monetary sense.

American Hospital Affiliation normal counsel Melinda Hatton mentioned industrial medical health insurance corporations will profit most as a result of it can allow them to “cherry-pick” hospitals and remove incentives for them to work with hospitals to offer decrease price care. She predicted it can enhance well being care prices, warning that sufferers in rural or weak communities could possibly be harmed most by the settlement.

Anthony Wright, government director of the well being care client advocacy coalition Well being Entry California, countered that Sutter’s pricing is one cause that sufferers in Northern California sometimes pay $3,000 extra in medical health insurance premiums than in Southern California.

“We wish hospitals to compete on decrease prices and better high quality, and never on whether or not they can get bundled in with larger and larger hospital techniques,” he mentioned. ”This settlement takes a primary step to altering the incentives to the market and competitors we would like. That advantages customers.”

Wright was hopeful the settlement would set a nationwide precedent and reignite stalled proposals in Congress and California to restrict “shock medical payments” for out of community procedures.


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Complete Meals to chop well being look after part-time staff


Complete Meals, the grocery chain owned by Amazon, is chopping well being care advantages for its part-time staff, a transfer that might depart about 1,900 of its workers with out medical protection.

Beginning subsequent 12 months, Complete Meals workers should work a minimum of 30 hours every week to qualify for its well being care advantages, up from the 20 hours every week it presently requires.

The grocery store, which has about 95,000 staff, mentioned it’s making the change “to higher meet the wants of” its enterprise. Complete Meals mentioned it’s serving to employee discover full-time jobs at its shops or discover different methods to get well being care protection.

On-line procuring big Amazon.com Inc. purchased Complete Meals two years in the past for practically $14 billion, chopping costs on some objects and including its smile emblem in its aisles.

Information of the advantages change was first reported by Enterprise Insider.


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