Q&A on health insurance coverage for employees resigning, retiring, or non-reappointed in May 2017
The Citrus County School district has adopted a procedure this year that will end health insurance coverage for employees on the last day of the last month of their employment in order to adhere to a change that was made to the employee health insurance contract back in 2010. As of today, employees that resign, retire, or are non-reappointed in May will lose their health insurance benefits starting June 1, 2017.
What is CCEA’s Position? As a term and condition of employment, any changes to an employee health insurance plan or procedures must be negotiated with the bargaining agent (CCEA). This change in procedure was not negotiated or ratified by the bargaining units in 2010 when it was adopted, and has not been implemented at year end until now.
What are we doing? Following advice from FEA legal counsel, CCEA has drafted a Demand for Bargaining Health Insurance and Cease and Desist letter to the Superintendent.
If your health insurance benefits are terminated at the end of May, these are your options:
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
You have the option to continue under your current plan through COBRA. COBRA is a federal law that allows you to continue your health care coverage after you leave your job. Unfortunately, you are responsible for paying the cost of the coverage, and there is a maximum continuation period of 18 months.
You have 60 days to decide if you want to elect COBRA, and within those 60 days, you can elect retroactively. This means that if you break your arm on the 59th day, you can elect COBRA and you will be covered. If you break your arm on the 61st day, you will pay for the cast yourself.
It is savvy not to elect COBRA unless you need it within the 60 day period, because, presumably, you will find another job within 60 days and your new job will offer insurance coverage. If your new employer's insurance picks you up quickly, there is no point in having paid for it during those 60 days.
There are two circumstances under which you should not play the 60-day waiting game:
If you have a pre-existing condition, it is best to elect COBRA right away. A new medical carrier can exclude you from coverage for a pre-existing condition for 6 months to a year if you cannot show that you've had continuous coverage;
If you plan to go overseas, attempting to activate COBRA before traveling can be risky.
Special Enrollment Period and ACA Health Insurance Plans
During the current SEP, individuals have the opportunity to enroll in marketplace-sponsored coverage if they experience a life changing event like changes in family size (i.e. marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child), termination, non-renewal, early retirement, or moving to a new state. If you qualify for the SEP, you can apply for ACA Health Insurance through the federal marketplace within 60 calendar days prior to a qualifying event or 60 days following a qualifying event. If you have received a non-renewal or termination notice, you have experienced a qualifying event (even though your last day of work is in the future), and can apply for subsidized marketplace coverage now. Just be aware that the soonest ACA coverage would kick-in would be the day following your last day of coverage from your employer-sponsored health insurance plan.