2019 PEBB open enrollment has begun. You have until November 30, 2018 to make changes to your coverage.

Paying for benefits

Find out how to pay for your PEBB retiree benefits.

How do I pay for coverage?

You must send your first premium payment and any applicable premium surcharges to the Health Care Authority (HCA) no later than 45 days after your Retiree Enrollment/Change form is received by the HCA (unless you elect to pay by pension deduction through the Department of Retirement Systems).

Please make checks payable to Health Care Authority and send to:

Health Care Authority
PO Box 42691
Olympia, WA 98504-2691

You can help ensure that future payments are made on time and avoid disruptions in your coverage by using pension deduction through the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) or electronic debit service (EDS) automatic bank account withdrawals. Here are your payment options:

  • DRS pension deduction
    Your premium and any applicable premium surcharges are taken from your end-of-the-month pension check. For example, if your coverage takes effect January 1, your January 31 check will show your deductions for January. Due to timing issues with DRS, you may receive an invoice for any premiums and applicable premium surcharges not deducted from your pension when you first enrolled. The PEBB Program will send you a letter if a first payment is needed.
  • Electronic Debit Service (EDS)
    You must complete and return an Electronic Debit Service Agreement to the HCA. You cannot make your first premium payment through EDS. Approval takes six to eight weeks, so you must continue to pay your monthly premiums and applicable premium surcharges as invoiced until you receive a letter from the HCA with your EDS start date.
  • A personal check or money order
    You will receive a monthly invoice from the HCA for your health insurance premiums and any applicable premium surcharges. Payments are due on the 15th of each month for that month of coverage. Send payment to the address listed on the invoice.

Note: HCA collects premiums for the full month, and will not prorate them for any reason, including when a member dies or cancels coverage before the end of the month. You may not have a gap in coverage. Premiums are due back to the first month after your employer-paid coverage, COBRA coverage, or continuation coverage ends.

How does a surviving spouse or state-registered domestic partner pay for coverage?

HCA collects premiums for the full month and does not prorate them for any reason, including when a member passes away before the end of the month. When transitioning from a dependent to a subscriber account, you cannot have a gap in coverage. As a result, you must pay the health insurance premiums and any applicable premium surcharges for the month your spouse or state-registered domestic partner passed away, in addition to the health insurance premiums and any applicable premium surcharges for your first month under your own PEBB account. If your monthly health insurance premiums and any applicable premium surcharges were deducted from your deceased spouse or state-registered domestic partner's pension through the DRS, this will stop. You may be eligible for a survivor’s pension from DRS. To find out, call DRS at 1-800-547-6657

You will receive two separate invoices from the HCA—one for the month your spouse or state-registered domestic partner passed away, and one for your first month under your own account. You must pay both invoices to keep your account current.

If health insurance premiums and any applicable surcharges remain unpaid for the month in which your spouse or state-registered domestic partner passed away, your PEBB retiree insurance coverage will be canceled back to the last day of the month in which the premium and any applicable surcharge was paid. This will cause a gap in coverage, which means that any claims paid from the month your spouse or state-registered domestic partner passed to the current month would be your financial responsibility.

Can I use a VEBA account to pay my premiums?

Yes, if you have a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association Medical Expense Plan (VEBA MEP) account, you can set up automatic reimbursement of your qualified insurance premiums. The VEBA MEP does not pay your monthly premiums directly to the PEBB Program. It is important that you notify the VEBA MEP when your premiums change.

Your VEBA MEP account is a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Qualified insurance premiums include medical, dental, vision, Medicare supplement, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, and tax-qualified long-term care insurance (subject to annual IRS limits). Retiree term life insurance premiums are not eligible for reimbursement from your VEBA MEP account.

  • Retiree Rehire Limitation: You must notify the VEBA MEP if you become rehired by the employer that contributed to your account. Only certain limited or “excepted” qualified medical care expenses and premiums you incur while you are re-employed are eligible for reimbursement. Excepted benefits include expenses and premiums for dental, vision, and tax-qualified long-term care insurance (subject to annual IRS limits). You can still be reimbursed for all types of qualified medical care expenses incurred while you are or were not re-employed.
  • HSA Contribution Eligibility Limitation:  If you want to enroll in a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) or other qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and become eligible to make or receive contributions to a health savings account (HSA), you must limit your VEBA MEP (HRA) coverage by submitting a Limited HRA Coverage Election form to VEBA. Only the following types of expenses and premiums can be reimbursed from your VEBA MEP account while coverage is limited:  CDHP/HDHP premiums; dental expenses and premiums; vision expenses and premiums; orthodontia expenses; and transportation expenses (if related to a permitted expense). Keep in mind that limiting your VEBA MEP coverage is not the only HSA contribution eligibility requirement.

More information and forms, including the Automatic Premium Reimbursement form and Limited HRA Coverage Election form, are available at www.veba.org (after logging in to your account) or by calling the VEBA MEP customer care center at 1-888-828-4953.

What happens if I miss a payment?

You must pay the monthly premium and any applicable premium surcharges for your PEBB retiree insurance coverage when due. The monthly premium will be considered unpaid if one of the following occurs:

  • No premium or applicable premium surcharge is paid and remains unpaid for 30 days; or
  • A premium payment or applicable premium surcharge is underpaid by an amount greater than what would be considered an insignificant shortfall (described in WAC 182-08-015) and the monthly premium remains underpaid for 30 days past the date the monthly premium was due.

If either of the events listed above occur and remains unpaid for 60 days from the original due date, the PEBB Program will terminate your PEBB retiree insurance coverage back to the last day of the month in which the monthly premium and any applicable premium surcharge was paid. If your PEBB insurance coverage is terminated, coverage for your dependents is also terminated. You cannot enroll again in PEBB insurance coverage unless you regain eligibility, for example, by returning to employment in a PEBB, Washington State school district, educational service district, or charter school benefits-eligible position.