Volz bill to simplify insurance premiums for family members of a deceased public employee receives unanimous approval from the House

The Washington State House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a bill that would waive health insurance premiums for the month of death for retirees who participate in state health coverage programs. 

House Bill 2481, from Rep. Mike Volz, also calls for the Health Care Authority (HCA) to enroll any eligible surviving dependents in the same plan effective on the first day of the month in which the death occurred and require those survivors to pay the applicable premiums.

“Obviously, this is an important piece of legislation for the surviving family members when their loved one dies,” said Volz. “They need time to grieve and recover. The last thing they should be worrying about is whether their health insurance premiums have been paid for that final month.”

Most retirees from state government and school districts, as well as some local governments, participate in the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) retiree health benefits program, which is administered by the Health Care Authority.

Retirees generally pay for their retiree premiums through deductions to their retirement benefits paid by the Department of Retirement Systems. However, the possibility exists that if the payment doesn’t occur, then the deceased retiree and potentially their survivors are not going to have health insurance for that month.

Under House Bill 2481, during the month of a PEBB retirement participant’s death, the Health Care Authority will waive that final month premium.

“We all know that experiencing the death of a family member is a difficult process,” said Volz. “This simple bill would be a good way to show a little compassion to these individuals so they can put their complete focus on healing.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov