Benefit Programs for Reduction in Force (RIF) Employees
The Health Care & Benefits Division (HCBD) staff is available to assist you during your employment transition. For any benefits-related questions, you should contact HCBD as outlined below.
Reduction in Force Employee Transition Document
Phone: (800) 287-8266 or (406) 444-7462
BENEFIT CONTINUATION UNDER THE STATE EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT
If you lost your job at the State of Montana due to a reduction in force and you elect the benefits under the State Employee Protection Act, you are entitled to continue with the State of Montana Health Benefit Plan (State Plan) for a period of six months following your termination (2-18-1205, MCA). You continue receiving the employer contribution (State Share) for the six-month period, and Basic Life, Medical, Dental, Vision, and Medical Flexible Spending Account benefits will remain intact. You must continue to pay your out-of-pocket contribution amounts. If you obtain another position with the State of Montana and you become eligible for benefits, your coverage will automatically continue as an active employee under your new employment. If you have not been re-hired after the six-month period of State Employee Protection Act coverage and you meet the criteria for retiree coverage under the State Plan (2-18-704, MCA), you will receive a Retiree Election Form to complete and return if you elect to continue your State Plan coverage as an eligible retiree.
Employee Supplemental Life, Spouse Supplemental Life, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Dependent Life, and Long-Term Disability coverages will NOT continue during the six-month State Employee Protection Act period. Plan Members who lose eligibility for group life-insurance coverage with the State Plan are eligible to convert their life-insurance coverage to an individual policy with The Standard Life Insurance Company by making application to The Standard at (800) 378-4668. Long-Term Disability coverage may not be converted to an individual-coverage plan.
NOTE: Depending upon the length of time you have been employed by the State of Montana, you may be eligible to receive an additional month of coverage as an active member, called the “grandfathered” month. The six-month continuation of benefits begins after the “grandfathered” month of coverage.
A prepayment option is available for terminating employees who choose to pay benefits from their final paychec Benefits will be taken from the final paycheck on a pretax basis as long as the employee is in the pretax plan. If not, then benefits are taken after tax. Prepayment is limited to the six-month coverage period, except for the Medical Flexible Spending Account which can be prepaid for the months remaining in the current Plan Year. No refund of prepaid payments is available. Therefore, you should NOT select this option if any chance exists that you, a covered spouse, or your covered child(ren) will cease to be enrolled on the State Plan during the prepaid period. Contact your agency payroll department for additional information regarding the prepayment option.
If you are eligible for retirement and you DO NOT elect benefits under the State Employee Protection Act, the following conditions apply regarding your State Plan benefits.
Retire (before age 65):
- If you continue coverage with the State Plan as a Retiree before age 65, you will no longer receive the employer contribution (State Share) towards benefits, and you will be responsible for the full State Plan contribution amount. Once you become Medicare eligible, you will be required to enroll in Medicare and will become a Medicare Retiree. OR
- Terminate coverage and move to another health insurance product (Insurance Marketplace, spouse plan, etc.).
Retire (after age 65):
- If you continue on the State Plan as a Retiree after age 65, you will no longer receive the employer contribution (State Share) towards benefits and you will be responsible for the full State Plan contribution amount. You will be required to enroll on Medicare, and Medicare Retiree rates apply. OR
- Terminate coverage and move to Medicare A, B, D, with a Medicare Supplement Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan.
The following rules will apply immediately following termination of State Plan benefits.
A 1985 federal law (P. L. 99‑272, Title X), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), modified by the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), gives employees and all covered dependents who are losing eligibility for employer group health-care benefits the right to continue certain coverage by self‑paying the entire monthly group benefit payment and an administrative fee.
You will receive a letter from Allegiance COBRA Services (on behalf of the State of Montana) containing a summary of your rights under federal law to continue group health-care benefits upon termination of your existing benefits. Employees and dependents losing eligibility for benefits because of a life event (known as a qualifying event) also receive this letter to ensure they have the information needed to choose whether to continue health-care benefits under COBRA. You can contact Allegiance COBRA Services at (406) 721-2222 or COBRAinquire@askallegiance.com.
Please note, other options may be available to you when your group health coverage ends.
Other coverage options may be available for you and your family through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, or other group health-plan coverage options (such as a spouse’s plan) through what is called a “Special Enrollment Period,” even if that plan generally doesn’t accept late enrollees. Some of these options may be less expensive than COBRA-continuation coverage. By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs for your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. You can learn more about many of these options at www.healthcare.gov.
If you have specific questions regarding coverage or claims, you can also contact:
Plan Members who lose eligibility for group life-insurance coverage with the State Plan are eligible to port or convert their life-insurance coverage to an individual policy with The Standard Life Insurance Company by making application to The Standard. The deadline to apply and pay premium for portability is 31 days after employment terminates. For conversion, the deadline to apply and pay premium is 31 days after coverage was reduced or ended. Please note: the termination date for employment may differ from the termination date for coverage.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
The Standard Insurance Company - (800) 759-8702 - www.standard.com
Coverage under the State’s Long-Term Disability benefit program will cease on the date after your employment ends Disability coverage may not be converted to an individual coverage plan.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Allegiance - (866) 339-4310 - www.askallegiance.com/som
Medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
You remain covered by the Medical FSA for the time period for which contributions have been paid. You may elect to prepay your Medical FSA contribution on a pre-tax basis through the end of the current Plan Year (January 1 – December 31) from your final paycheck. In the event contributions are prepaid through the end of the Plan Year, you will be considered a participant of the Medical FSA through the end of the Plan Year and may submit claims for expenses incurred through December 31.
If you DO NOT elect to prepay your Medical FSA contributions, you may submit claims up to 120 days after your termination. Only expenses incurred prior to your termination date are eligible for reimbursement. Any money left in your account after the 120-day period is forfeited.
Additionally, if you DO NOT elect to prepay your Medical FSA, COBRA-continuation coverage may be available to you for continuing coverage under the Medical FSA on an after-tax basis. Contact Allegiance to discuss this option at (406) 721-2222 or COBRAinquire@askallegiance.com.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
You will not be able to contribute to the Dependent Care FSA after your termination date. An employee may request reimbursement for qualifying dependent care expenses incurred during the remainder of the Plan Year (January 1 – December 31) from the balance remaining in the Dependent Care FSA at the time of termination. Claims must be submitted within 120 days of the end of the Plan Year. Any money left in your account after 120-day period is forfeited.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Reliant Behavioral Health (RBH) - (866) 750-0512 - MyRBH.com (Access Code: Montana)
You may continue to access EAP services throughout your six-month benefit period. These services are available to you, your dependents, and all household members at no cost. More information about these services are available at: https://hr.mt.gov/employeeassistanceprogram.
For detailed descriptions of the benefits available to you, please refer to the applicable Wrap Plan Document found at www.benefits.mt.gov/Publications. The State Plan may change or terminate benefits at any time, even benefits that apply to you after your termination.