Governor signs into law Volz bill to assist family members of a deceased public employee

The governor signed into law a bipartisan bill from Rep. Mike Volz on Tuesday that will help family members of a deceased public employee dealing with their loss.

House Bill 2481 waives health insurance premiums for the month of death for retirees who participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Board (PEBB) health coverage programs.

The legislation directs 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.

“Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how important the recovery process is,” said Volz, R-Spokane. “When a loved one dies, you should be focused on remembering and honoring them, and not about your health coverage premiums. So, this piece of legislation would be significant for surviving family members when a loved one dies because it will allow them to focus on healing.”

Most retirees from state government and school districts, as well as some local governments, participate in the 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 this legislation is so important. It allows surviving family members peace of mind as they deal with their loss,” said Volz. “During the month of a PEBB retirement participant’s death, the Health Care Authority will waive that final month premium, which is a simple way to help family members in the healing process.”

The bill will take effect 90 days after adjournment of the 2024 session, which concluded on March 7.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov