NYC Health Benefits Program
NEW - Survivor Health Benefits for Eligible Dependents due to COVID-19
On May 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed an Act to provide eligible beneficiaries of New York City pension members and retirees an Accidental Death Benefit, if the pension member's/retiree's death was a result of or was contributed to by COVID-19.
The Act provides, subject to applicable documentation requirements, an Accidental Death Benefit to the eligible beneficiaries of a pension member, or a retiree of a New York City pension system who retired after March 1, 2020, where such member reported for work outside their home and contracted COVID-19 within 45 days after reporting for work, and whose death was caused by COVID-19 or where COVID-19 contributed to such member’s death. This act is effective as of March 1, 2020. The member or retiree must have died prior to December 31, 2020 and COVID-19 must have caused or contributed to such member’s death. For more information about eligibility for the Accidental Death Benefit, please contact the applicable New York City pension system of the deceased member or retiree.
A pension member's beneficiaries who receive an Accidental Death Benefit from a New York City pension system, who are eligible dependents of the deceased member or retiree, shall be afforded the right to New York City health insurance coverage. For information about eligibility for survivor health benefits due to COVID-19, please contact Valerie Berry at 212-306-7342.
Announcement from the Mayor regarding the 45-Day Extension of City Health Benefits for eligible dependents of an active City of New York employee who passed away from COVID-19:
Eligible dependents of active City employees that passed away due to COVID-19 may continue to receive City health benefits coverage for 45-days from the date of death of the City employee. Dependents will receive a letter in the mail the week of May 25th notifying them of this, along with the Request for 45-Day Extension of Health Benefits for Eligible Dependents Form.
The Request for 45-Day Extension of Health Benefits Form can be submitted either by Agency HR personnel or directly by the eligible dependent. The completed form, along with a copy of the death certificate, as well as a positive COVID-19 test result if the death certificate does not list COVID-19 as cause of death, must be submitted via secure e-mail to: https://nycemployeebenefits.leapfile.net
The Health Benefits Program will process the request and notify the health insurance carrier of the 45-day health benefits coverage extension for the deceased City employee’s dependent(s). The Health Benefits Program will also send a confirmation letter to the eligible dependent(s) advising them that their coverage has been extended along with information on available COBRA coverage options, which can be purchased after the 45-day extension period ends. If COBRA has already been purchased, the COBRA coverage will start on day 46 after City coverage ends.
On May 4, 2020 the Employee Benefits Security Administration ("EBSA") in the Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") issued a Joint Notice providing new guidance on delays due to COVID-19 affecting
all health and retirement plans, with implications for governmental plans.
The Joint Notice designates a period of time, called the "Outbreak Period," that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends 60 days after the announced date of the end of national emergency related to COVID-19 or such other date announced by EBSA and IRS. Thus, the end date of the period is currently unknown.
- Changes In Family Status - Adding/Dropping Dependents. Extension of the 30-day period to request to add/drop dependents.
Employees should report all changes in family status to their agency health benefits or payroll office or NYCAPS Central at (212) 487-0500 (Department of Education employees should contact HR Connect at (718) 935-4000) not later than 30 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.
Changes include adding a dependent due to marriage, domestic partnership, birth or adoption of a child, and to drop dependents due to death, divorce, termination of domestic partnership, or a child reaching an ineligible age.
- COBRA Notice of Qualifying Event. Extension of the 60-day period to notify the City of qualifying COBRA event.
Under COBRA, the employee or family member has the responsibility of notifying the City agency payroll or personnel office and the applicable welfare fund of the death, divorce, domestic partnership termination, or change of address of an employee, or of a child’s losing dependent status within 60 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.
When a qualifying event (such as an employee’s death, termination of employment, or reduction in hours) occurs, the employee and family will receive a COBRA information packet from the City describing continuation coverage options.
- COBRA Election Notice Deadlines. Extension of the date for the City to provide a COBRA election notice.
When a COBRA qualifying event (such as an employee’s death, termination of employment, or reduction in hours) occurs, the employee and family will receive a COBRA rights information packet from the City describing continuation coverage options within 14 days of the end of the Outbreak Period.
- COBRA Election Periods. Extension of the 60-day election period for COBRA continuation coverage.
To elect COBRA continuation of health coverage, the eligible person must complete a “COBRA - Continuation of Coverage Application. Employees and/or eligible family members can obtain application forms from their agency payroll or personnel office. Please contact the welfare fund if you wish to purchase its benefits.
Upon receiving notification of their COBRA rights, eligible persons electing COBRA continuation coverage must do so within 60 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.
- COBRA Premium Payment Deadlines. Extension of the date for making COBRA premium payments.
Eligible persons electing COBRA continuation coverage must pay the initial premium within 45 days of their election. Premium payments will be made on a monthly basis. Payments after the initial payment will have a 30-day grace period. The premiums for COBRA coverage during the Outbreak Period must be paid within 30 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.