Police/Fire Continuation of Heath Insurance
Overview of Benefits
Minnesota police officers, firefighters, and State Troopers, are uniquely eligible for health insurance continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465 if they are determined to be eligible for PERA or MSRS duty disability benefits. This benefit provides for continued health insurance benefits through the police officer’s or firefighter’s employer through age 65, meaning that the employer continues to pay its share of the premium for individual and/or family health care coverage as if they were still with the department. Continued health insurance benefits can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Your approval for PERA Police and Fire Plan or MSRS duty disability benefits automatically triggers approval for health insurance coverage. After you are approved for duty disability benefits, your employer is notified of their obligation under Minnesota Statue § 299A.465.
If you had family coverage on your date of injury and are awarded duty disability under the PERA Police and Fire Plan or MSRS, your employer is obligated to continue to offer you family coverage. Whatever type of coverage you had in effect on your date of injury is the type of coverage which is required to be continued under the statute.
I am not eligible for PERA Police and Fire Plan duty disability benefits because I am over the age of 55 and have over 20 years of service. Can I still get continuation of health insurance benefits?
Yes! If your disability otherwise meets the duty disability requirements, but you are not eligible for PERA duty disability benefits due to your age and years of service, you are still eligible for continuation of health insurance benefits if you retire due to your disability. This is a benefit that is far too frequently overlooked. To apply for this benefit if you are over the age of 55 and have over 20 years of service, you must apply to PERA for a determination as to whether you meet the statutory qualifications.
It depends. The law is ambiguous on this point, and there has been no higher court determination as to whether an employer has the statutory right to contest a disability beneficiary’s entitlement to continuation of health insurance benefits. It is our position that the legislature did not intend for an employer to have a right to dispute entitlement to this benefit; however, at least one administrative law judge has held that the employer does have a right to contest eligibility. Our firm has successfully handled numerous cases involving disputes over continuation of health insurance benefits. If a dispute arises, the case proceeds to a contested case hearing before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings, however disputes over continuation of health insurance benefits are uncommon.
Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today. At Meuser Law Office, we have successfully represented hundreds of police officers and firefighters throughout Minnesota for workers’ compensation, duty disability benefits, and personal injury lawsuits.