Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 55. Department of Human Resource Management
Chapter 20. Commonwealth of Virginia Health Benefits Program

1VAC55-20-320. Eligible employees.

A. State employees.

1. Full-time salaried, classified employees as defined in 1VAC55-20-20 and faculty are eligible for membership in the health benefits program.

2. Certain full-time employees in auxiliary enterprises (such as food services, bookstores, laundry services, etc.) at the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, and the College of William and Mary as well as other state institutions of higher learning are also considered state employees even though they do not receive a salaried state paycheck. The Athletic Department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is an example of a local auxiliary whose members are eligible for the program.

3. Certain full-time employees of the Medical College of Virginia Hospital Authority are eligible for the program as long as they are on the authority's payroll and were enrolled in the program on November 1, 1996. They may have payroll deductions for health benefits premiums even if they rotate to the Veterans' Administration Hospital or other acute care facility.

4. Other employees identified in the Code of Virginia as eligible for the program.

5. Classified positions include employees who are fully covered by the Virginia Personnel Act, employees excluded from the Virginia Personnel Act by subdivision 16 of § 2.2-2905 of the Code of Virginia, and employees on a restricted appointment. A restricted appointment is a classified appointment to a position that is funded at least 10% from gifts, grants, donations, or other sources that are not identifiable as continuing in nature. An employee on a restricted appointment must receive a state paycheck in order to be eligible.

B. Local employees.

1. Full-time employees of participating local employers are eligible to participate in the program. A full-time employee is one who meets the definition set forth by the local employer in the employer application.

2. Part-time employees of local employers may participate in the plan if the local employer elects and the election does not discriminate among part-time employees. In order for the local employer to cover part-time employees, the local employer must provide to the department a definition of what constitutes a part-time employee.

The department reserves the right to establish a separate plan for part-time employees.

C. Unavailability of employer-sponsored coverage.

1. Employees, officers, and teachers without access to employer-sponsored health care coverage may participate in the plan. The employers of such employees, officers, and teachers must apply for participation and certify that other employer-sponsored health care coverage is not available. The employers shall collect contributions from such individuals and timely remit them to the department or its designee, act as a channel of communication with the covered employee and otherwise assist the department as may be necessary. The employer shall act as fiduciary with respect to such contributions and shall be responsible for any interest or other charges imposed by the department in accordance with these regulations.

2. Local employees living outside the service area of the plan offered by their local employer shall not be considered as local employees whose local employers do not offer a health benefits plan. For example, a local employee who lives in North Carolina and works in Virginia may live outside the service area of the HMO offered by his employer; however, he may not join the program individually.

3. Employer sponsorship of a health benefits plan will be broadly construed. For example, an employer will be deemed to sponsor health care coverage for purposes of this section and 1VAC55-20-260 if it utilizes § 125 of the Internal Revenue Code or any similar provision to allow employees, officers, or teachers to contribute their portion of the health care contribution on a pretax basis.

4. Individual employees and dependents who are eligible to join the program under the provisions of this subsection must meet all of the eligibility requirements pertaining to state employees except the identity of the employer.

D. Retirees.

1. Retirees are not eligible to enroll in the state retiree health benefits group outside of the opportunities provided in this section.

2. Retirees are eligible for membership in the state retiree group if a completed enrollment form is received within 31 days of separation for retirement. Retirees who remain in the health benefits group through a spouse's state employee membership may enroll in the retiree group at one of three later times: (i) future open enrollment, (ii) within 31 days of a qualifying mid-year event, or (iii) within 31 days of being removed from the active state employee spouse's membership.

3. Membership in the retiree group may be provided to an employee's spouse or dependents who were covered in the active employee group at the time of the employee's death in service.

4. Retirees who have attained the age of 65 or are otherwise covered or eligible for Medicare may enroll in certain plans as determined by the department provided that they apply for such coverage within 31 days of their separation from active service for retirement. Medicare will be the primary payor and the program shall serve as a supplement to Medicare's coverage.

5. Retirees who are ineligible for Medicare must apply for coverage within 31 days of their separation from active service for retirement. In order to receive coverage, the individual must meet the retirement requirements of his employer and receive an immediate annuity. For local employers, the immediate annuity requirement is not applicable as long as the retiree meets the age and service requirements imposed by the plan.

6. Local employers may offer retiree coverage at their option.

E. Dependents. The following family members may be covered if the employee elects:

1. The employee's spouse. The marriage must be recognized as legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. Children. Under the health benefits program, the following eligible children may be covered to the end of the year in which they turn age 26 (age requirement is waived for adult incapacitated children):

a. Natural children, adopted children, or children placed for adoption.

b. Stepchildren. A stepchild is the natural or legally adopted child of the participant's legal spouse. Such marriage must be recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

c. Incapacitated children.

(1) Adult children who are incapacitated due to a physical or mental health condition, as long as the child was covered by the plan and the incapacitation existed prior to the termination of coverage due to the child attaining the limiting age. The employee must make written application, along with proof of incapacitation, prior to the child reaching the limiting age. Such extension of coverage must be approved by the plan and is subject to periodic review. Should the plan find that the child no longer meets the criteria for coverage as an incapacitated child, the child's coverage will be terminated at the end of the month following notification from the plan to the enrollee. The child must live with the employee as a member of the employee's household, be unmarried, and be dependent upon the employee for financial support. In the case of a divorce, living with the spouse will satisfy the condition of living with the employee. Furthermore, the support test is met if either the employee or spouse or combination of the employee and spouse provide over one half of the child's financial support.

(2) Adult incapacitated children of new employees may also be covered, provided that:

(a) The enrollment form is submitted within 30 days of hire;

(b) The child has been covered continuously by group employer coverage since the disability first occurred; and

(c) The disability commenced prior to the child attaining the limiting age of the plan.

The enrollment form must be accompanied by a letter from a physician explaining the nature of the incapacitation, providing the date of onset, and certifying that the dependent is not capable of self-support. This extension of coverage must be approved by the plan in which the employee is enrolled.

d. Other children. A child for whom a court has ordered the employee to assume sole permanent custody.

Additionally, if the employee or spouse shares custody with the minor child who is the parent of the "other child," then the other child may be covered.

When a child loses eligibility, coverage terminates at the end of the month in which the event that causes the loss of eligibility occurs.

There are certain categories of persons who may not be covered as dependents under the program. These include dependent siblings, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews except where the criteria for "other children" are satisfied. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are not eligible for coverage regardless of dependency status.

Statutory Authority

§ 2.2-2818 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR525-01-02 § 4.1, eff. November 21, 1990; amended, Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 20, eff. July 16, 2004; Volume 22, Issue 8, eff. March 15, 2006; Volume 26, Issue 25, eff. September 16, 2010; Volume 30, Issue 14, eff. April 24, 2014.

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