STATE OF CONNECTICUT
THE STATE COMPTROLLER
55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT 06106-1775
COMPTROLLER'S MEMORANDUM NO. 2002-41A
MARCH 6, 2003
TO THE HEADS OF ALL STATE AGENCIES
|ATTENTION:||Personnel and Payroll Officers, Chief Administrative and Fiscal Officers and Business Managers|
|SUBJECT:||Health Insurance for Laid-off Employees|
On November 25, 2002, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) issued Memorandum No. 2002-41, which addresses administrative and operational procedures to be followed so that laid-off employees who meet certain eligibility criteria would be able to have their state-sponsored medical and dental insurance continued for a period of six months following termination. Comptroller's Memorandum No. 2002-41 essentially restates and updates the contents of a previous communication, Memorandum No. 95-39.
Subsequent to the issuance of Comptroller's Memorandum No. 2002-41, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) contacted state agencies and, in substance, advised as follows: (1) the state employer's obligation to provide health insurance benefits to laid-off workers is tied to assets available in the Placement & Training Fund (Fund); (2) for employees laid off prior to February 1, 2003, assets in the Fund would support health insurance continuation coverage through March 31, 2003 only; and (3) for employees laid-off on or after February 1, 2003 no continuation coverage should be extended, as the Fund would be depleted of its assets.
OPM's actions prompted OSC to contact the Attorney General for legal guidance, which was presented in the form of an opinion dated March 5, 2003. In his opinion, the Attorney General concludes that, where there exists a binding past practice between the state employer and its employee unions, that practice must be honored until labor and management reach an agreement or the matter is otherwise resolved. As laid-off employees have been consistently provided with six months of health insurance following layoff, the opinion concludes that the state remains obligated to follow this practice at the present time.
Accordingly, the purpose of this communication is to direct all state agencies to comply with the provisions of Comptroller's Memorandum No. 2002-41, consistent with the Attorney General's counsel. Specifically, the following action is immediately required on your part:
As many of the employees referenced above may have already exercised their right to purchase COBRA continuation coverage, OSC's Retirement & Benefit Services Division (Division) is available to coordinate the action needed to ensure that records maintained by the state and the affected health insurance carriers are accurate. The Division may be reached at (860) 702-3535.
Very truly yours,
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