Benefits after layoff or separation

How to continue PEBB benefits after layoff, termination or separation from service, or transitioning out of elected office.

Continuing benefits after layoff

When you, the employee, are no longer eligible for the employer contribution toward benefits due to layoff, insurance coverage may be continued by self-paying the full premiums to the Health Care Authority (HCA), with no contribution from the employer (WAC 182-12-133).

The PEBB Program will mail the Continuation of Coverage Election Notice to you after coverage is terminated. The mailing can take up to 14 days.

In cases of layoff, you may complete and submit the continuation coverage election/change form (for Leave Without Pay) no later than 60 days after the date your employer-sponsored coverage ends or from the postmark on the PEBB Continuation of Coverage Election Notice packet sent to you, whichever is later. This allows you and your eligible dependents to continue medical, dental, and life insurance on a self-pay basis for up to 29 months. This provides 11 more months of coverage than if you elect COBRA.

Basic life insurance will terminate the earliest of the last day of the month in which the employee is eligible for the employer contribution. Optional life insurance will terminate the earliest of the last day of the month in which employee premiums were withheld. Basic long-term disability (LTD) ends automatically on the last day of the month in which the employee is eligible for the employer contribution. Optional LTD ends automatically on the earliest of the date the last period ends for which a premium contribution was made.

Employment ending due to termination or separation

When you, the employee, and your covered dependents are no longer eligible for the employer contribution toward benefits due to termination, insurance coverage may be continued by self-paying the full premiums to the Health Care Authority (HCA) through COBRA coverage, with no contribution from the employer (WAC 182-12-131 and WAC 182-12-146).

The PEBB Program will mail the Continuation of Coverage Election Notice to you after coverage is terminated. The mailing can take up to 14 days.

In cases of termination, you may complete and submit the COBRA election/change form (continuation of coverage) no later than 60 days after the date your employer-sponsored coverage ends or from the postmark on the PEBB Program Continuation of Coverage Election Notice booklet sent to you, whichever is later.

Basic life insurance will terminate the earliest of the last day of the month in which the employee is eligible for the employer contribution. Optional life insurance will terminate the earliest of the last day of the month in which employee premiums were withheld. Basic long-term disability (LTD) ends automatically on the last day of the month in which the employee is eligible for the employer contribution. Optional LTD ends automatically on the earliest of the date the last period ends for which a premium contribution was made.

Application deadlines

If applying for continuation coverage (formerly leave without pay) you must:

  • Complete and submit the continuation coverage election/change form (for Leave Without Pay) no later than 60 days after the date your employer-sponsored coverage ends or from the postmark on the PEBB Program Continuation of Coverage Election Notice sent to you, whichever is later.
  • Choose whether to continue any optional life coverage that was in force as an employee and pay the premium no later than 60 days after the postmark date of the Continuation of Coverage Election Notice. If you do not meet the deadline, approval may be required to reinstate coverage upon return to work. See Life insurance.
  • Submit the first full premium payment to HCA no later than 45 days after the date coverage is elected or you will lose the right to continue coverage.
  • If enrolled in a PEBB Program Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), apply for continuous coverage through Navia Benefit Solutions no later than 60 days after the date you lose eligibility for the employer contribution. This allows you to extend the period of coverage to claim expenses incurred after employment ends.
  • If your spouse or Internal Revenue Code Section 152 qualified tax dependent is enrolled in a PEBB Program Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), enroll in or change their election through Navia Benefit Solutions no later than 60 days from the date Medical FSA administrator provides notice of continuation rights.

If applying for COBRA you must:

  • Complete and submit the COBRA election/change form (continuation of coverage) no later than 60 days after the date your employer-sponsored coverage ends or from the postmark on the PEBB Program Continuation of Coverage Election Notice sent to you, whichever is later.
  • Submit the first full premium payment to HCA no later than 45 days after the date coverage is elected or you will lose the right to continue coverage.
  • Apply for Group Life Portability Coverage or convert coverage to an individual term policy (if covered for five years or more) no later than 31 days after the date you lose eligibility for the employer contribution or 60 days from the date your employer coverage ends, if retiring. See Life insurance.
  • If your spouse or registered domestic partner is also covered by PEBB benefits, transfer a portion of their optional life insurance to the spouse or state-registered domestic partner’s PEBB coverage, up to the eligible limits no later than 31 days after the date you lose eligibility for the employer contribution.
  • If enrolled in a PEBB Program Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), apply for continuous coverage through Navia Benefit Solutions no later than 60 days after the date you lose eligibility for the employer contribution. This allows you to extend the period of coverage to claim expenses incurred after employment ends.
  • If your spouse or Internal Revenue Code Section 152 qualified tax dependent is enrolled in a PEBB Program Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), enroll in or change their election through Navia Benefit Solutions no later than 60 days from the date Medical FSA administrator provides notice of continuation rights.

Appointed and elected officials transitioning out of office

As an elected or appointed official of the legislative or executive branch of state government, you are eligible to continue insurance coverage as a retiree upon voluntarily or involuntarily leaving state office (WAC 182-12-171).

The PEBB Program offers retirees and eligible dependents of retirees medical and dental benefits, as well as a retiree term life insurance plan for those who had previous PEBB Program life coverage as a subscriber and are not on a life insurance disability premium waiver (WAC 182-12-209).

PEBB medical, dental, and basic life insurance will end at midnight on the last day of the month in which you are eligible for the employer contribution for benefits (WAC 182-12-131).

Optional life insurance ends the earliest of the last day of the month in which employee premiums were withheld.

Basic long-term disability (LTD) insurance ends at midnight on the date you lose eligibility for the employer contribution for benefits. Optional LTD coverage ends the last day of the month in which employment is terminated or the last day in which a premium payment is made.

If eligible for retirement

Rather than electing COBRA or continuation coverage, employees who are eligible to retire may choose to elect PEBB retiree coverage (WAC 182-12-171). To enroll in or defer coverage complete and submit the Retiree Coverage Election/Change form to the PEBB Program no later than 60 days after employer-paid or COBRA coverage ends. See Retiree eligibility and enrollment.

Returning to work after layoff

When you return to another state agency position within 24 months of leaving the original position, you may be eligible for the employer contribution toward benefits for each month you are in pay status for at least eight hours per month (see WAC 182-12-129 and WAC 182-12-131). Upon hire, you must notify your employer that you may be eligible under WAC 182-12-129.

Layoff information sessions

The Washington State Office of Human Resources holds information sessions for employees experiencing or anticipating a layoff or other separation from state service. Check the presentation schedule.