1997 Regular Session
To: Insurance; Appropriations
By: Representatives Broomfield, Endt, Wells-Smith
House Bill 1507
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-15-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT RETIRED STATE EMPLOYEES' SPOUSES AND DEPENDENT CHILDREN MAY PARTICIPATE IN THE STATE EMPLOYEES LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN AT ANY TIME WHILE THE RETIRED EMPLOYEE IS PARTICIPATING IN THE PLAN; TO ALLOW SURVIVING SPOUSES AND DEPENDENT CHILDREN OF DECEASED ACTIVE OR RETIRED STATE EMPLOYEES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PLAN BY CONTINUING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PLAN OR SIGNING UP INITIALLY WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH; TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-15-3 and 25-15-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-15-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-15-13. (1) Each eligible employee may participate in the plan by signing up for the plan at the time of employment. After acceptance in the plan, the employee may cease his or her participation by filing a specific disclaimer with the department. Forms for this purpose shall be prescribed and issued by the department. All eligible employees will be eligible to participate in the plan on the effective date of the plan or on the date on which they are employed by the state, if later, provided they make the necessary contributions as provided in this article. Spouses of employees, unmarried dependent children from birth to age nineteen (19) years, unmarried dependent children who are full-time students up to age twenty-three (23) years, and physically or mentally handicapped children, regardless of age, are eligible under the plan as of the date the employee becomes eligible.
(2) Retired employees' spouses, unmarried dependent children from birth to age nineteen (19) years, unmarried dependent children who are full-time students up to age twenty-three (23) years, and physically or mentally handicapped children, regardless of age, may participate in the plan at any time while the retired employee is participating in the plan, regardless of the retired employee's age at the time of retirement, by signing up for the plan and paying the necessary contributions under this article.
(3) The surviving spouse and dependent children of any deceased active or retired employee, who are eligible to receive a retirement allowance or survivor's annuity benefits as a result of the deceased employee's membership in the Public Employees' Retirement System or the Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System, may participate in the plan by electing at the time of the employee's death to continue to participate in the plan or by signing up for the plan initially within thirty (30) days after the employee's death, and paying the necessary contributions under this article.
SECTION 2. Section 25-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-15-3. For the purposes of this article, the words and phrases used herein shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Employee" means any person who works full time for the State of Mississippi and receives his compensation in a direct payment from a department, agency or institution of the state government. This term includes legislators, employees of the legislative branch and the judicial branch of the state, * * * full-time salaried judges and full-time district attorneys and their staff and full-time compulsory school attendance officers. For the purposes of this article, any "employee" making contributions to the Public Employees' Retirement System or the Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System shall be considered a full-time employee.
(b) "Department" means the Department of Finance and Administration.
(c) "Plan" means the State Employees Life and Health Insurance Plan created under this article.
(d) "Fund" means the State Employees Insurance Fund set up under this article.
(e) "Retired employee" means any person retired under the Public Employees' Retirement System or the Highway Safety Patrol Retirement System.
SECTION 3. Section 25-15-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-15-15. * * * The state shall provide fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the above life insurance plan and one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of the above health insurance plan for all active full-time employees, and the employees shall be given the opportunity to purchase coverage for their eligible dependents, with the premiums for such dependent coverage and the employee's * * * share of the premiums for his life insurance coverage to be deductible from the employee's salary by the agency, department or institution, * * * which deductions, together with the * * * share of * * * life insurance premiums of such employing agency, department or institution * * * from funds appropriated to or authorized to be expended by such employing agency, department or institution, * * * shall be deposited directly into a depository bank or special fund in the State Treasury, as determined by the department. These funds and interest earned on these funds may be used for the disbursement of claims and shall be exempt from the appropriation process.
The department * * * may establish and enforce late charges and interest penalties or other penalties for the purpose of requiring the prompt payment of all premiums for life and health insurance permitted under this article. All funds in excess of the amount needed for disbursement of claims shall be deposited in a special fund in the State Treasury to be known as the State Employees Insurance Fund. The State Treasurer shall invest all funds in the State Employees Insurance Fund and all interest earned shall be credited to the State Employees Insurance Fund. Such funds shall be placed with one or more depositories of the state and invested on the first day such funds are available for investment in certificates of deposit, repurchase agreements or in United States Treasury bills or as otherwise authorized by law for the investment of Public Employees' Retirement System funds, as long as such investment is made from competitive offering and at the highest and best market rate obtainable consistent with any available investment alternatives; however, such investments shall not be made in shares of stock, common or preferred, or in any other investments which would mature more than one (1) year from the date of investment. The department shall have the authority to draw from this fund periodically such funds as are necessary to operate the self-insurance plan or to pay to the insurance carrier the cost of operation of this plan, it being the purpose to limit the amount of participation by the state to fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the life insurance program and not to limit the contracting for additional benefits where the cost will be paid in full by the employee. The state shall not share in the cost of coverage for retired employees.
The department shall also provide for the creation of an Insurance Reserve Fund and funds therein shall be invested by the State Treasurer with all interest earned credited to the State Employees Insurance Fund.
Any retired employee electing to purchase retired life and health insurance shall have the full cost of such insurance deducted monthly from his * * * retirement * * * check or shall be direct billed for the cost of the premium. Surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased employees who elect to purchase health insurance shall have the full cost of such insurance deducted monthly from their retirement allowance or survivor's annuity benefits or shall be direct billed for the cost of the premium.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.