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Employees called to active military duty

General information and requirements

Updated 12/1/2020

Applicable to:

  • Employees covered by Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) benefits who are called to active military duty in the uniformed services, as defined under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA).

Relevant rule:

  • Definition: "Service in the uniformed services" means the performance of a duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty including state-ordered active duty, and a period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of examination to determine the fitness of the person to perform such duty (WAC 392-126-026).
  • Statute requires that employer-provided health care coverage is continued for employees called to active military service for less than 31 days. For administrative efficiency in complying with the rule, agencies should maintain-employer provided coverage until the end of the month in which the 30 days occurs. For example, if the employee was called to active military service on September 15, employer health care coverage should be maintained until October 31 (RCW 73.16.053).
  • Employees who are called to active military service for 31 or more days have options for maintaining PEBB insurance benefits, which are outlined below. HCA will send the employee the Continuation of Coverage Election Notice packet in the mail once coverage has been terminated in the PAY1 insurance system. (This can take up to 14 days after benefits have been terminated.)

Additional information

Option 1: Employees who lose eligibility for the employer contribution due to military leave and have a spouse or state-registered domestic partner who is eligible for PEBB benefits:

  • The spouse or state-registered domestic partner may enroll the employee under their coverage. An Employee Enrollment/Change form must be received by the spouse's/state-registered domestic partner's employing agency no later than 60 days after the employee loses eligibility for the employer contribution.

Option 2: The employee may use 8 hours of pay status per month to maintain eligibility for the employer contribution.

Option 3: The employee may continue health care coverage on a self-pay basis. The Leave Without Pay Continuation Coverage Election form must be received by the PEBB Program no later than 60 days after the employee loses eligibility for the employer contribution. The employee is eligible to continue medical, dental, life, and LTD insurance while on leave. If the employee does not continue optional life and optional LTD while on leave, statement of health/evidence of insurability will be required to reinstate coverage when the employee returns to work.

Guidance resources

Related circumstances

Forms

  • Declaration of Tax Status (2021)
  • Continuation Coverage Election (Unpaid leave) form (2021)
  • Employee Enrollment/Change form (2021)

Rates

  • Continuation Coverage (Unpaid leave/COBRA) (2021)

  • Active Employees (2021) (state agency and higher education institution employees)

System keying in PAY1

WAC references and their general subject matter

  • 182-08-180 Premium payments and refunds
  • 182-08-190 The employer contribution for all eligible employees
  • 182-08-198 Changing health plans
  • 182-12-128 May an employee waive health plan enrollment?
  • 182-12-131 When does employer paid insurance coverage end?
  • 182-12-133 Options for continuing coverage when employer coverage is lost
  • 182-12-262 Enroll, waive or remove eligible dependents