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Howard Community College (HCC) provides the opportunity for continued coverage under college group health plans to three groups of former employees: (1) retirees; (2) those covered under COBRA; and (3) employees who are on long-term disability leave (LTD) or disability separation.

Retirees Health Insurance Coverage Plan

Full-time budgeted and temporary with benefits employees who retire and meet the qualifications below have the option of continuing their individual or family coverage indefinitely in the college’s health insurance plan in which they are members at the time of retirement.  A subsidy on the total premium cost is applied if the retiree has at least ten years of full-time service.  Premium remittance is made directly to the college. During open enrollment each year, retirees or family members may change plans.  For health insurance purposes, dependents of retirees include spouses.

The plan has the following provisions:

  • Retirees must meet one of the following qualifications to be considered a retiree eligible to participate in the group health plan: 1) 55 years of age with at least 15 years of HCC service; 2) 59 ½ years of age with at least 10 years of HCC service; 3) 62 years of age with at least five years of HCC service; and 4) 30 years of HCC service regardless of age.
  • Employees who enroll in retiree insurance at retirement and subsequently drop their coverage are allowed a one-time only opt-in during a future open enrollment period or due to a qualifying event.  Employees who elect not to enroll at retirement will be allowed a one-time only opt-in during a future open enrollment period or due to a qualifying event.  Qualifying events are defined by applicable IRS guidelines.
  • Eligible retirees may purchase coverage for their dependents by paying the full cost of dependent insurance; dependents may be added to or deleted from coverage at annual open enrollment, or within 30 days of a documented life status change such as birth, death, marriage, divorce or change of employment status for employees and spouses.
  • Eligible retirees or their dependents at or above the age of 65 must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • The college reserves the right to alter the plan at any time with a minimum of 30 days notice of any significant changes in benefits.
  • The college reserves the right to terminate the plan if the college faces serious financial limitations.
  • College contributions will be determined each year based on years of service; the rates will be provided to eligible retirees.
  • If an enrolled eligible retiree dies, eligible dependents may continue coverage by paying the full cost of the retiree plan until the eligible dependent marries, becomes eligible for coverage under another employer–sponsored health insurance plan, or otherwise fails to meet the eligibility requirements of the active employee plan.
  • If a retiree who is eligible for benefits under this program becomes eligible for college health insurance coverage due to circumstances such as re-employment with the college or due to a spouse’s coverage with the college, the retiree does not lose eligibility for the retiree health insurance program as long as coverage under a college health insurance plan has remained continuous.

COBRA

In compliance with the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 and amendments and all applicable state laws, the college offers current group health benefits in certain situations to exiting employees or family members.  Those situations are listed below.

Qualifying situations for employees include:

  • Termination, other than by reason of the employee's gross misconduct, of a covered employee’s employment;
  • Reduction of hours of a covered employee's employment; or
  • Employee and family on military leave up to twenty-four months.

Qualifying situations for spouses include:

  • Termination, other than by reason of the employee's gross misconduct, of a covered employee’s employment;
  • Reduction of hours of a covered employee's employment;
  • Covered employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395-1395ggg);
  • Divorce or legal separation of a covered employee from the employee's spouse; or
  • Death of a covered employee.

Qualifying situations for dependent children:

  • Reduction of hours of a covered employee's employment;
  • Dependent child's ceasing to be a dependent child of a covered employee under the generally applicable requirements of the plan;
  • Reduction of hours of a covered employee's employment;
  • Covered employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395-1395ggg);
  • Divorce or legal separation of a covered employee from the employee's spouse;
  • Death of a covered employee; or
  • Employee and family on military leave up to twenty-four months.

Under COBRA, as soon as employees become eligible for group health benefits, they and certain dependents may be entitled to continued coverage for 18-36 months depending on the qualifying event. Employees are required to inform the office of human resources of such events.  The college will then notify all individuals who qualify for continued coverage of their eligibility. Former employees and their family members requesting continued coverage will be charged 100 percent of the cost of such benefits, plus a 2 percent administrative charge. COBRA participants may change plans during open enrollment each year.

Long-Term Disability

Full-time budgeted and temporary with benefits employees who are disabled and on approved long-term disability leave who do not meet the retiree policy requirements may continue coverage with the college by paying 100 percent of the cost of the insurance until Medicare becomes available  or for a maximum of two years; in order to be eligible for this coverage, employees must be in the plan at the time that the long-term disability begins.

Effective Date: 12/6/13