For employees hired on or after January 1, 2009, the County shall contribute to a Defined Contribution retiree medical benefit plan for each eligible employee in the form of a deposit into Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account, as described below. Any eligible retiree and eligible dependent(s), as defined below, may enroll in a County offered medical plan, but the retiree is responsible for all costs (including County offered retiree medical plan and Medicare Part B premiums).
- An employee must have been a contributing member (or a contribution was made on their behalf) of the Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association (SCERA) for the eligibility period described below.
- Regular full-time employees and part-time employees in an allocated position of.5 full-time equivalent or greater, hired on or after January 1, 2009 are eligible to receive a County HRA contribution, if they have completed two (2) full years of consecutive Sonoma County regular service (excluding overtime) in pay status.
- If an employee separates employment before meeting the eligibility requirement, the employee shall receive no benefit.
- Laid Off & Restored Employees. Employees who were employed by the County on or after January 1, 2009, but who were laid off thereafter shall be eligible for the benefits described in this Article 16.3 provided that they are subsequently restored to County employment, pursuant to Civil Service Rule 11.4, rejoin the County retirement system, and are otherwise eligible for retiree medical benefits under this section. The break in service caused by the layoff shall be bridged upon restoration such that, although no service time is earned during the break, consecutive service is restored for eligibility for this benefit.
- County Contribution
- Initial County Contribution
- On the first pay date following completion of the eligibility requirements, regular full-time employees shall receive a lump sum contribution of $2,400 deposited into an HRA account established in their name. Thereafter, contributions will be made each pay period based on the actual hours worked during that pay period.
- The lump sum contribution amount for regular part-time employees shall be pro-rated based on their allocated position only (e.g., a regular employee in a 0.5 full-time equivalent allocated position will receive a lump sum contribution of $1,200 deposited into their HRA account).
- Regular County Contribution
After the initial contribution (defined above) is made, the County shall contribute $0.58 per pay status hour (no more than eighty (80) hours biweekly), not including overtime, for each eligible employee. For a full time employee, this equates to approximately $100 per month or $1,200 per year, after the initial eligibility period is met.
- Access to Account Balance
- Participants may access the balance in their Retiree HRA account upon termination of employment and attainment of age 50 or upon retirement from the Sonoma County Retirement System, whichever is earlier.
- Participants may defer accessing the account balance to any time beyond the earliest date described in (a).
- Amounts that remain in the account balance are available to reimburse the participant for the same permitted medical expenses for the spouse and any other eligible dependents, however, federal regulations do not permit the inclusion of expenses for domestic partners.
- Survivors of eligible retirees with account balances
- Spouses and eligible dependent children or dependent adults that are disabled may continue to access account balances after the death of the retiree.
- Domestic partners are not permitted access to the account balances of the participant by virtue of restrictions in the federal regulations that govern these types of accounts.
- Forfeiture of account balance
- If an active employee dies prior to retirement, the amount of account balance is available to participating spouses and dependents to reimburse them for medical expenses permitted under the relevant section of the Internal Revenue code.
- Account balances in part or in total for active participants or retirees without any eligible spouse or dependent or unused account balances after the death of the last eligible spouse or dependent will be forfeited and returned to all other active and retired participants in the form of a dividend allocated in direct proportion to the amount to be distributed divided by the total account balance for all participants applied to each individual account balance. These distributions will occur within 120 days after the annual certified audit of the plan is submitted to the administrator and the County.
This benefit will be subject to regulation under Section 105(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and subject to revenue rulings for these types of plans as promulgated.
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