|Passed by the House March 11, 2004|
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate March 11, 2004
President of the Senate
I, Richard Nafziger, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2985 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Governor of the State of Washington
Secretary of State
State of Washington
|State of Washington||58th Legislature||2004 Regular Session|
READ FIRST TIME 02/06/04.
AN ACT Relating to health insurance for retired and disabled public employees; amending RCW 41.04.208; repealing 2002 c 319 s 5 (uncodified); and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 RCW 41.04.208 and 2002 c 319 s 2 are each amended to read
(1) Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section.
(a) "Disabled employee" means ((
an individual)) a person eligible
to receive a disability retirement allowance from the Washington law
enforcement officers' and fire fighters' retirement system plan 2 and
the public employees' retirement system.
(b) "Health plan" means a contract, policy, fund, trust, or other program established jointly or individually by a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state that provides for all or a part of hospitalization or medical aid for its employees and their dependents under RCW 41.04.180.
(c) "Retired employee" means a public employee meeting the retirement eligibility, years of service requirements, and other criteria ((
set forth in)) of the Washington law enforcement officers'
and fire fighters' retirement system plan 2 and the public employees'
(2) A county, municipality, or other political subdivision that provides a health plan for its employees shall permit retired and disabled employees and their dependents to continue participation in a plan subject to the exceptions, limitations, and conditions set forth in this section. However, this section does not apply to a county, municipality, or other political subdivision participating in an insurance program administered under chapter 41.05 RCW if retired and disabled employees and their dependents of the participating county, municipality, or other political subdivision are covered under an insurance program administered under chapter 41.05 RCW. Nothing in this subsection or chapter 319, Laws of 2002 precludes the local government employer from offering retired or disabled employees a health plan with a benefit structure, copayment, deductible, coinsurance, lifetime benefit maximum, and other plan features which differ from those offered through a health plan provided to active employees. Further, nothing in this subsection precludes a local government employer from joining with other public agency employers, including interjurisdictional benefit pools and multi-employer associations or consortiums, to fulfill its obligations under chapter 319, Laws of 2002.
(3) A county, municipality, or other political subdivision has full authority to require a person who requests continued participation in a health plan under subsection (2) of this section to pay the full cost of such participation, including any amounts necessary for administration. However, this subsection does not require an employer who is currently paying for all or part of a health plan for its retired and disabled employees to discontinue those payments.
(4) Payments for continued participation in a former employer's health plan may be assigned to the underwriter of the health plan from public pension benefits or may be paid to the former employer, as determined by the former employer, so that an underwriter of the health plan that is an insurance company, health care service contractor, or health maintenance organization is not required to accept individual payments from persons continuing participation in the employer's health plan.
(5) After an initial open enrollment period of ninety days after January 1, 2003, an employer may not be required to permit a person to continue participation in the health plan if the person is responsible for a lapse in coverage under the plan. In addition, an employer may not be required to permit a person to continue participation in the employer's health plan if the employer offered continued participation in a health plan that meets the requirements of chapter 319, Laws of 2002.
(6) If a person continuing participation in the former employer's health plan has medical coverage available through another employer, the medical coverage of the other employer is the primary coverage for purposes of coordination of benefits as provided for in the former employer's health plan.
(7) If a person's continued participation in a health plan was permitted because of the person's relationship to a retired or disabled employee of the employer providing the health plan and the retired or disabled employee dies, then that person is permitted to continue participation in the health plan for a period of not more than six months after the death of the retired or disabled employee. However, the employer providing the health plan may permit continued participation beyond that time period.
(8) An employer may offer one or more health plans different from that provided for active employees and designed to meet the needs of persons requesting continued participation in the employer's health plan. An employer, in designing or offering continued participation in a health plan, may utilize terms or conditions necessary to administer the plan to the extent the terms and conditions do not conflict with this section.
(9) If an employer changes the underwriter of a health plan, the replaced underwriter has no further responsibility or obligation to persons who continued participation in a health plan of the replaced underwriter. However, the employer shall permit those persons to participate in any new health plan.
(10) The benefits granted under this section are not considered a matter of contractual right. Should the legislature, a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state revoke or change any benefits granted under this section, an affected person is not entitled to receive the benefits as a matter of contractual right.
(11) This section does not affect any health plan contained in a collective bargaining agreement in existence as of January 1, 2003. However, any plan contained in future collective bargaining agreements shall conform to this section. In addition, this section does not affect any health plan contract or policy in existence as of January 1, 2003. However, any renewal of the contract or policy shall conform to this section.
(12) Counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions that make a documented good faith effort to comply with the provisions of subsections (2) through (11) of this section and are unable to provide access to a fully insured group health benefit plan are discharged from any obligations under subsections (2) through (11) of this section but shall assist disabled employees and retired employees in applying for health insurance. Assistance may include developing and distributing standardized information on the availability and cost of individual health benefit plans, application packages, and health benefit fairs.
(13) The office of the insurance commissioner shall make available to counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions information regarding individual health benefit plans, including a list of carriers offering individual coverage, the rates charged, and how to apply for coverage.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 2002 c 319 s 5 (uncodified) is repealed.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 This act is necessary for the immediate
preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the
state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect