Your Dependents have several options for continuing coverage after your death. Their options depend on whether or not you were eligible for coverage when you die.
If You Were Eligible For Coverage When You Died
If you die while you are eligible for Plan coverage as an Active Employee, eligibility for your Dependents will continue without self-payment for as long as you would have been eligible for coverage, based on your accumulated eligibility.
After your death, your surviving spouse and Dependent Children may choose to continue coverage by either:
- Exhausting your Active coverage and then electing COBRA continuation coverage, or
- Electing Special Health Continuation Coverage, which is coverage under the Retiree Plan, if eligible. In this case, coverage under the Retiree Plan would begin on the date your surviving spouse begins receiving a pension from the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund and begins payment for Retiree coverage.
If you die without meeting the requirements for Special Health Continuation Coverage, your Dependents will be entitled to COBRA continuation coverage only.
Health Continuation Coverage
Your Dependents may continue coverage under the Retiree Plan through Special Health Continuation Coverage if:
- You die as an Active Employee,
- You had at least nine pension credits awarded by the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund at the time of your death,
- You were eligible for a pension (including a Reciprocal Pension) from the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund at the time of your death and your surviving spouse is receiving a survivor’s pension, and
- You worked at least fifteen full years with Employers that were signatories to collective bargaining agreements with the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Union or one of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Unions.
Your surviving spouse and Eligible Dependents must make the required self-payments to the Retiree Plan for this Special Health Continuation Coverage at a rate set by the Trustees. You may contact the Fund Office for information about the rates for this coverage. Self-payments must begin in the month following the month of your death. If self-payments are not being deducted from the pension check, they are due on the first of the month for which coverage is being provided. There is a 30-day grace period to make such direct self-payments.
The premium for coverage is based upon the surviving spouse’s age and the Participant’s years of service. The rate will change on March 1st following the years the surviving spouse reaches age 60, age 62 and age 65.
This special coverage is only available if your surviving spouse was married to you throughout the 12-month period immediately before your death. Coverage for your spouse under the Special Health Continuation Coverage provision will terminate on the first day of the month in which your spouse remarries following your death. However, your surviving spouse and any covered Dependent Children will be entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage under the Active Plan for the remainder of the 36-month period that started on the date of your death by making timely self-payments at the COBRA rate. If the surviving spouse does not remarry, coverage will terminate for a Dependent Child who continues coverage under the Special Health Coverage Continuation provisions when the Dependent Child no longer meets the definition of Eligible Dependent under the Plan. The Dependent Child will have the option of electing COBRA continuation coverage under the Retiree Plan when a qualifying event occurs.
To be eligible to continue coverage under the Special Health Continuation Coverage provision, your Dependents must waive COBRA Continuation Coverage. However, if your Dependents lose this coverage because your surviving spouse remarries within 36 months of your death, they will be eligible to elect COBRA Continuation Coverage under the Active Plan for the balance of the 36-month period that began on the date of your death. The cost of coverage will be the COBRA rate.
If you were retired at the time of your death, your Dependents will be entitled to continue coverage under the provisions of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Welfare Plan for Retired Employees.
Your surviving Dependent Child may elect COBRA continuation coverage for up to 36 months from the date the Child no longer meets the Plan’s definition of a Dependent.
Retiree benefits are described in more detail in the Summary Plan Description for Retired Employees. If your surviving spouse is receiving a pension from the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund, there is no continuation of eligibility under the Active Plan and self-payments for Retiree Plan benefits must begin immediately.
If You Were Not Eligible For Coverage When You Died
If you were not eligible for Plan coverage at the time of your death, your Dependents may make self-payments for coverage under the Special Health Continuation Coverage provision if:
- You had earned 25 pension credits under the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund; and
- You were credited with a minimum of three pension credits in the period consisting of the Pension Plan Year in which you died and the six consecutive Pension Plan Years immediately preceding the year in which you died.
Pension credits mean only those directly awarded by the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73 Pension Fund, not those awarded by another pension fund. If you served as a full-time Officer or Business Agent of the Union, you will be given credit for the years of service to the Union. See the Fund Office for more details.