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 question, you should contact HCBD as outlined below.
Phone: (800) 287-8266 or (406) 444-7462
BENEFIT CONTINUATION UNDER THE STATE EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT
If you have 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 on the State of Montana Health Benefit Plan (State Plan) for a period of six months following your termination (2-18-1205, MCA). You will continue to receive the employer contribution (State Share) for the six-month period and all 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 position.
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.
In the event you are eligible for retirement, and you DO NOT elect benefits under the State Employee Protection Act the following conditions will apply regarding your State Plan benefits.
Retire (before age 65):
1. If you continue on 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.
2. Terminate coverage and move to another health insurance product (Insurance Marketplace, Spouse Plan, etc.).
Retire (after age 65):
1. 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 will apply.
2. 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.
You will receive a letter from Allegiance (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 they need to choose whether to continue health care benefits under COBRA.
Please note, you may have other options available to you when you lose group health coverage.
There may be other coverage options 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 cost less than COBRA continuation coverage. By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs on 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:
Medical Plan Coverage
Allegiance - (888) 999-1057 - www.askallegiance.com/som
Prescription Drug Plan Coverage
Navitus - (866) 333-2757 - www.navitus.com
Vision Hardware Coverage
Cigna - (877) 478-7557 - www.myCigna.com
Dental Plan Coverage
Delta Dental - (866) 496-2370 - www.deltadentalins.com/stateofmontana
Life Insurance and ADD Coverages
The Standard Insurance Company - (800) 759-8702 - www.standard.com
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
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 period of time 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 will be forfeited.
COBRA is available to you for continuing coverage under the Medical FSA on an after-tax basis. Contact Allegiance to discuss this option.
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 will be forfeited.
For more 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.
Voluntary Employee Benefit Association Members (VEBA)
If you are a participating member of a VEBA group, you may elect to participate in VEBA at the time your employment is terminated or you may elect to retain your accumulated leave balances in the payroll system for up to two years. During the two-year SEPA period, you will be considered an active voting member of the group.
If you are not re-employed by a state agency within the two-year period, you will be required to receive your outstanding leave balances into the tax-free health reimbursement account (VEBA) if your VEBA group is active on that date. If your VEBA group has been disbanded during the two-year period, you will be required to receive your outstanding leave balances as a cash payout subject to tax.