A: Deferred retirees are eligible to continue health benefits if they separate within five years of receiving a pension check. They must pay directly to the City of Houston and are not eligible to opt out while in deferred status. Cancellation of benefits is considered waiving coverage, and benefits cannot be re-elected in the future.
Q: Can I change my life insurance beneficiary at any time or do I have to wait until open enrollment?
A: You may change beneficiaries at any time. Employees will log into ESS to complete the change. Retirees will complete a retiree basic life form.
Q: I am an employee, and my wife has had end-stage renal disease. What are her options for coverage? My co-worker also has ESRD. Does he need to apply for Medicare?
A: Based on the type of treatment your spouse is receiving for her disease, she became eligible for Medicare up to three months after treatment began, if she applied for coverage. During the first 30 months she is on Medicare, the city medical plan is the primary payer of her medical claims and Medicare is the secondary payer. At the end of 30 months, Cigna and Medicare will coordinate payment of medical expenses, with Medicare as the primary coverage and Cigna as the secondary coverage. If she does not enroll in Medicare, Cigna will pay as a secondary payer. You will be responsible for the portion of her medical claims that Medicare should pay.
January through March is the annual enrollment for Medicare. Medicare then becomes effective July 1, unless she is given another effective date.
Your co-worker must also apply for Medicare and pay the monthly premium. Otherwise, at the end of the 30 months, Cigna will pay his claims as a secondary payer and your co-worker will be responsible for the portion of medical claims that Medicare should pay.