[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Highlands as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This article shall be known as "Authorization to Provide Cash Payments in Lieu of Health Insurance Coverage."
The purpose of this article is to permit the Town of Highlands, upon request, to provide cash payments to an officer or employee of the town in lieu of health insurance coverage.
The Town Board of the Town of Highlands may, upon written request of an officer or employee of the town, provide a cash payment or payments to such officer or employee in lieu of health insurance coverage.
The amount of such optional cash payments shall in no event exceed the cost to the town of providing health insurance benefits to the benefited officer or employee for the year in which the cash payment is made.
After its adoption, this article may be applied to all health insurance benefits which were due the officers and employees of the Town of Highlands as of January 1, 1994, and thereafter.
All full-time employees shall become members of the New York State Employees Retirement System. Regularly scheduled part-time employees (other than those compensated on a per hour or per diem basis) may become members of the New York State Employees Retirement System if they elect to do so and if the retirement system permits their membership.
Any person who is an employee of the Town of Highlands on and after January 1, 1996, who is eligible to enroll in the town-sponsored health insurance program (including buyout participants) shall be eligible to remain in the health insurance program at his or her option and receive the paid medical coverage benefits provided by the program upon retirement, provided that such person has been continuously employed by the town for at least 20 years. The town will make the following contribution to the cost of such health insurance program as follows:
If the employee has completed 20 years of continuous service, the town will pay 50% of the minimum employer's share contribution rate for the retiree and his or her dependents. The minimum contribution rate is currently established in the employee hospitalization program.
Editor's Note: Said employee hospitalization program information is on file in the town offices.
If the employee has completed 25 years of continuous service, the town will pay 75% of the minimum employer's share contribution rate for the retiree and his or her dependents.
If the employee has completed 30 years of continuous service, the town will pay 100% of the minimum employer's share contribution rate for the retiree and his or her dependents.
Any employee hired by the town prior to January 1, 1992, who is currently enrolled in the town-sponsored health insurance program (including buyout participants) shall be eligible to continue employer-paid medical coverage on retirement, provided that such employee at the time of his or her retirement has had a minimum of 20 years of continuous service with the town. The rate of contribution for such retiree shall be determined and maintained at the same proportion as in effect on the date of his or her retirement.
Upon a retiree becoming eligible for Medicare or any similar program sponsored by the federal or New York State government and intended to be a substitute for Medicare, the town will secure a supplemental medical insurance policy or equivalent to replace the full coverage provided to the retiree at no cost to the retiree.
The family of a retiree entitled to health insurance coverage pursuant to this article shall be entitled to a continuation of such benefit for a period of three months after the retiree's death at no cost to the family or the estate of the retiree.
Eligibility for the benefits set forth in this article will be further determined by the following:
At least 20 years of service and employment by the town for at least three months immediately prior to retirement.
Full-time employees (minimum 30 hours per week) or paid elected officials who meet all other eligibility requirements.
Employees eligible to receive the retirement allowance from the New York State Employees Retirement System, or if not eligible, shall be at least 55 years of age.
Nothing in this article is intended to limit the benefits to which any employee is entitled pursuant to COBRA or any other legislative program designed for the continuance of medical insurance following termination from service.