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Employers

Employer Bulletin

State Agencies
Vol. 17, State A
January 28, 2000

Health Insurance Benefits for National Guard and Military Reserve Personnel on Unpaid Military Leave

The 1999 Wisconsin Act 13 (WA 13), signed by Governor Thompson on December 16, 1999, became effective retroactive to April 15, 1999. The new law provides extended Group Health Insurance coverage for National Guard and Military Reserve personnel on an unpaid military leave of absence because they have been called to active duty for reasons other than training purposes. To be eligible, an employe must be receiving state contributions for health insurance coverage on the date he or she is activated for military duty.

You may recall similar provisions in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm and in 1996 for Operation Balkan Endeavor. Act 13, however, contains three differences from its predecessor bills. First, Act 13 contains no sunset date, which means that the provisions as authorized in Wis. Stat. § 40.05 (4g) remain in effect indefinitely. Second, employer contributions toward premiums are required as long as the employe is on active duty as opposed to the current 12 months. Third, Act 13 is not specific to any conflict.

This Act provides that the employer must receive the subscriber's election within 60 days after the employe is activated. We ask that you immediately review your records to determine if you have an affected employe.

You must locate these employes (or designated representatives) and offer health insurance premium payments beyond the three months that normally would be allowed under the leave of absence (LOA) provision. These employes (or designated representatives) can elect to:

  • Continue health insurance coverage and establish pre-payment of premiums;
  • Let their coverage lapse after being activated for military service due to non-payment of premium and reinstate coverage while on leave by filing an application (ET-2301); or
  • Allow their coverage to lapse and reapply within 30 days of return to employment (provided employment resumes within 90 days after release from active military service).

Attached to this Employer Bulletin was the Health Insurance Election for Military Service Personnel form (ET-2350), to be used by employes (or designated representatives) to make their election. The form is available on our Employer Forms and Brochures Menu.This form must be signed by the employe (or designated representative) and returned to the payroll representative within 60 days after the subscriber is activated for duty. Once the subscriber has made an election, and signed and dated the form, you should provide him or her with a photocopy of the form as an acknowledgment and keep the original for your records. Then, return a photocopy of this form to ETF along with a Group Health Insurance Application (ET-2301), if appropriate. Each Group Health Insurance Application, completed for an employe who is reinstating coverage, should be completed by checking the box "other" and indicating "1999 WA 13" as the reason for filing.

Please note: This act is retroactive for anyone who was insured on or after April 15, 1999, and who let health insurance coverage lapse after being called into active duty. These employes may reinstate insurance by checking box #1 on the Health Insurance Election for Military Service Personnel form (ET-2350). If coverage lapsed prior to October 1, 1999, the employe may file an application for any plan and should be provided the appropriate year 2000 "It's Your Choice" brochure in addition to the Group Health Insurance Application. Coverage is prospective for employes who reinstate. These employes have 60 days from the date their employer provides them with the notice to return the election form to their employer.

In addition, eligible employes who kept their coverage in force, and who paid both the employe and employer share of the premiums for anytime since April 15, 1999, will get a lump sum from the employer of the employer share retroactive to April 15, 1999 or the date they began paying both shares of the premium, if later. These employes may request the employer share of the premiums by checking box #2 on the Health Insurance Election for Military Service Personnel form (ET-2350) and they have 60 days from the date their employer provides them with the notice to return the election form to their employer.

Please direct questions to the Employer Communication Center at (608) 264-7900.

 

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