PEB Board approves emergency resolutions related to COVID-19

Mon, 04/06/2020

On April 2, 2020, the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEB Board) held a special telephonic meeting to approve three policy resolutions that extend continuation coverage eligibility and enrollment timelines, and establish temporary eligibility for PEBB coverage for certain job classes hired during the Governor’s state of emergency due to COVID-19. The board approved all three resolutions.

Policy resolutions

The PEB Board approved the following resolutions:

COVID-19 Continuation Coverage Eligibility (Resolution 2020-01)

Beginning February 29, 2020, the date that Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency in Proclamation 20-05, the maximum period of continuation coverage is extended until two months after the date the Governor terminates the state of emergency.

COVID-19 and Enrollment Timelines (Resolution 2020-02)

Beginning February 29, 2020, the date that Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency in Proclamation 20-05, any enrollment timelines established for continuation coverage and retiree subscribers will be extended to 30 days past the date the Governor terminates the state of emergency.

The Health Care Authority is authorized, during the state of emergency as described above, to extend this deadline further and extend any other enrollment deadlines as needed to meet the needs of the state and PEBB Program subscribers.

COVID-19 Related Eligibility for Newly Hired or Rehired State Employees (Resolution 2020-03)

Beginning April 1, 2020, and through the last day of the month in which the Governor terminates the COVID-19 state of emergency declared in Proclamation 20-05, an employee hired or rehired by a state agency to respond to the Covid-19 emergency in the following position types, first responders (firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), public safety personnel, etc.), health care professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral health specialists, etc.), any position worked in medical facilities (health care professionals, lab technicians, administrative staff, sanitation workers, etc.), public health officials, and any COVID-19 research positions, is eligible for the employer contribution toward PEBB benefits in any month they work a minimum of 8 hours.  If the employee becomes eligible under this temporary criteria for establishing eligibility, PEBB coverage will begin the first day of the month in which the employee becomes eligible. PEBB benefits for this resolution includes the following: medical, dental, basic life, basic AD&D, and basic LTD.

 The Health Care Authority is authorized during the state of emergency to include additional position types to the list above, as needed, to meet the needs of the state and PEBB Program subscribers.

Once the COVID-19 state of emergency is terminated, the temporary criteria for establishing eligibility ends and the standard PEBB benefits and maintenance eligibility rules apply.

Meeting recap

The following information was presented to the PEB Board during the April 2 meeting. See the Briefing Book for all materials presented.

  • Dave Iseminger, Employees and Retirees Benefits (ERB) Division director, provided an update on the agency’s and PEBB health insurance carriers’ activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Rob Parkman, ERB policy and rules coordinator, presented three policy resolutions for the board’s consideration:
    • PEBB 2020-01: COVID-19 Continuation Coverage Eligibility was approved as described above.
    • PEBB 2020-02: COVID-19 Enrollment Timelines was approved as described above.
    • PEBB 2020-03: COVID-19 Related Eligibility for Newly Hired or Rehired State Employees was approved as described above.

Next meeting

The PEB Board meets next on April 15, 2020. HCA will present two benefit changes for the board’s consideration for 2021:

  • Adding a fifth Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) option that is similar to UMP Achieve 1 offered to School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) members.
  • Benefit change for vision.

The HCA will also introduce two new resolutions related to eligibility and enrollment for the board’s consideration. The board may possibly be asked to vote on additional policy resolutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. HCA staff will also present a legislative wrap-up.

If the Governor’s emergency declaration is still in effect at that time, board members and the public will only be able to attend this meeting via telephone. The call-in number will be noted on the meeting agenda, which will be posted on the PEB Board Meetings and materials webpage.

For more information

You can find more information under Employee and retiree benefits.