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Reduction In Force

Most benefits are terminated the last day of the month in which you are an active employee.  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.   For any benefits related question, you should contact HCBD as outlined below.

Email:    benefitsquestions@mt.gov
Web:     www.benefits.mt.gov
Phone: 800-287-8266 or 406-444-7462
 
REDUCTION IN FORCE
If you have lost your job at the State of Montana because of a REDUCTION IN FORCE (RIF), you are entitled to continue on the State of Montana Health Benefit Plan (State Plan) for a period of six months following your termination.  You will continue to receive State Share for the six-month period and all benefits will remain intact.  The following requirements apply:
  • Your position must fall within the definition of RIF:
    • 2-18-1205. Continuation of health insurance and employer contributions. (1) During the period of unemployment as a result of privatization, reorganization of an agency, closure of or a reduction in force at an agency, or other actions by the legislature, the employee is entitled to remain covered by the state's group health insurance plan and to the continuation of the employer's contribution to the employee's group health insurance for 6 months from the effective date of layoff or until the employee becomes employed, whichever occurs first.
  • You must remain in your position until the RIF date
  • You are unable take the State Plan retiree benefit.
  • 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. 

In the event you are eligible for retirement, the following conditions will apply in regard to your State Plan benefits.

Retire (before age 65):
  1. Continue on the State Plan as a Retiree before 65, will not receive employer’s contribution (State Share).  May continue until age 65, and will then be moved to Medicare Retire, OR
  2. Terminate coverage and move to another health insurance product (Insurance Marketplace, Spouse Plan, Etc.).
Retire (after age 65):
  1. Enroll in Medicare, and continue on the State Plan as a Medicare Retiree, will not receive employer’s contribution (State Share), OR   
  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 the six month period of time in which you are entitled to continue on the State Plan and receive State Share.
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 benefits payment. 
You will receive a letter from 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 receive this letter also to ensure they have the information they need to choose whether or not 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                           1-888-999-1057                    www.askallegiance.com/som
Prescription Drug Plan Coverage
Navitus                                1-866-333-2757                   www.navitus.com
Vision Hardware Coverage
Cigna                                  1-877-478-7557                   www.myCigna.com
Dental Plan Coverage   
Delta Dental                       1- 866 496- 2370                 www.deltadentalins.com/stateofmontana
Life Insurance and ADD Coverages
The Standard Insurance Company           1-800-759-8702        www.standard.com

Employee life, dependent life, and spouse life plans are available for conversion or portability.  This is time sensitive, so contact The Standard Insurance Company for details and cost.  You must apply in writing and pay the first month’s premium to The Standard Insurance Company within 31 days of the day your employment terminates. 

Long Term Disability Insurance
The Standard Insurance Company          1-800-759-8702        www.standard.com

Coverage under the State’s long term disability benefit program will cease on the date your employment ends.  Disability coverage may not be converted to an individual coverage plan.

Flexible Spending Accounts
Allegiance                         1-866-339-4310                     www.askallegiance.com/som                   

During the RIF period of coverage, the employee can prepay flex contributions and will have regular access to funds during six-month period following termination.

Health Care Account:  If you are currently participating in the Health Care Flexible Spending Account, you may continue to 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 Health Care Account on an after-tax basis.  Contact Allegiance to discuss this option.

Dependent Care Account:  If you are currently participating in the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, you may continue to submit claims for employment related dependent care expenses incurred through the remainder of the Plan Year in which termination occurs.  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.    You will not be able to contribute to the Dependent Care Account after your termination date with the State.

Summary Plan Document - For more detailed descriptions of the benefits available to you please refer to the applicable Summary Plan Description found at www.benefits.mt.gov.  The State may change or terminate benefits at any time, even benefits that apply to you after your termination. 

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 leave your accumulated sick leave and/or annual leave credits (whichever is applicable for your VEBA group) in the payroll system for up to two years.  During the two-year period, you will be considered an active member of the group.  If a state agency re-employs you during the two-year period, you will be able to transfer your leave balances to your new position. 
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.

For more information regarding VEBA, visit www.montanaveba.org or contact the Health Care & Benefits Division at (800) 287-8266, TTY (406) 444-1421, or email benefitsquestions@mt.gov.