Senate unanimously passes Volz bill to assist with insurance premiums for family members of a deceased public employee

A bipartisan bill from Rep. Mike Volz that would waive health insurance premiums for the month of death for retirees who participate in state health coverage programs is one step closer to becoming law.

The Washington State Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2481 on Wednesday, which would direct 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.

“We all know that going through the death of a family member is a difficult process,” said Volz, R-Spokane. “This piece of legislation would be significant for surviving family members when a loved one dies. The last thing they should have to worry about is their health insurance. This bill would allow them to focus on healing.”

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 HCA.

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, the deceased retiree and potentially their survivors are not going to have health insurance for that month.

“That’s why House Bill 2481, is important,” said Volz. “During the month of a PEBB retirement participant’s death, the Health Care Authority will waive that final month premium. It’s a simple way to help families suffering from the loss of a loved one during their time of grief. It’s a small thing that can help them in the healing process.”

The bill now waits for the governor’s signature to become law.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov