135-48.43. Effective dates of coverage.

(a) Eligible Employees and Retired Employees. - Employees and retirees who otherwise satisfy the eligibility requirements set forth in G.S. 135-48.40 will be offered coverage with the following effective dates:

(1) Employees and retired employees covered under the Predecessor Plan will continue to be covered, subject to the terms hereof.

(2) New employees may apply for coverage to be effective on the first day of the month following employment, or on a like date the following month if the employee has enrolled, except that the effective date of coverage for employees who become eligible in accordance with G.S. 135-48.40(e) will be determined by the employing unit in a manner that is consistent with section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code and the applicable regulations, as amended.

(3) Employees not enrolling or adding dependents when first eligible in accordance with G.S. 135-48.42 may enroll later during annual enrollment, except employees who elect to change their coverage in accordance with rules adopted by the State Treasurer for optional alternative plans offered under the Plan.

(4) Members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 1985 Session, shall become first eligible with the convening of each Session of the General Assembly, regardless of a Member's service during previous Sessions. Members and their dependents enrolled when first eligible after the convening of each Session of the General Assembly will not be subject to any waiting periods for preexisting health conditions. Members of the 1983 Session of the General Assembly, not already enrolled, shall be eligible to enroll themselves and their dependents on or before October 1, 1983, without being subject to any waiting periods for preexisting health conditions.

(b) Waiting Periods and Preexisting Conditions. -

(1) New employees and dependents age 19 and older enrolling when first eligible are subject to no waiting period for preexisting conditions under the Plan.

(2) Employees age 19 and older not enrolling or not adding dependents age 19 and older when first eligible may enroll later during annual enrollment, but enrollees age 19 or older may be subject to a twelve-month waiting period for preexisting conditions except as provided in subdivision (a)(3) of this section. The waiting period under this subdivision is subject to applicable federal law.

(3) Retiring employees and dependents enrolled when first eligible after an employee's retirement are subject to no waiting period for preexisting conditions under the Plan. Retiring employees not enrolled or not adding dependents age 19 and older when first eligible after an employee's retirement may enroll at a later time during annual enrollment, but may be subject to a 12-month waiting period for preexisting conditions except as provided in subdivision (a)(3) of this section.

(4) Employees and dependents enrolling or reenrolling within 12 months after a termination of enrollment or employment that were not enrolled at the time of this previous termination, regardless of the employing units involved, shall not be considered as newly-eligible employees or dependents for the purposes of waiting periods and preexisting conditions. Employees and dependents transferring from optional prepaid alternative plans available under the Plan; employees and dependents immediately returning to service from an employing unit's approved periods of leave without pay for illness, injury, educational improvement, workers' compensation, parental duties, or for military reasons; employees and dependents immediately returning to service from a reduction in an employing unit's work force; retiring employees and dependents reenrolled in accordance with subdivision (3) of this subsection; formerly-enrolled dependents reenrolling as eligible employees; formerly-enrolled employees reenrolling as eligible dependents; and employees and dependents reenrolled without waiting periods and preexisting conditions under specific rules adopted by the State Treasurer in the best interests of the Plan shall not be considered reenrollments for the purpose of this subdivision. Furthermore, employees accepting permanent, full-time appointments who had previously worked in a part-time or temporary position and their qualified dependents shall not be covered by waiting periods and preexisting conditions under this division provided enrollment as a permanent, full-time employee is made when the employee and his dependents are first eligible to enroll.

(5) To administer the 12-month waiting period for preexisting conditions for employees age 19 and older and dependents age 19 and older under this Article, the Plan must give credit against the 12-month period for the time a person was covered under a previous plan if the previous plan's coverage was continuous to a date not more than 63 days before the effective date of coverage. As used in this subdivision, a "previous plan" means any policy, certificate, contract, or any other arrangement provided by any accident and health insurer, any hospital or medical service corporation, any health maintenance organization, any preferred provider organization, any multiple employer welfare arrangement, any self-insured health benefit arrangement, any governmental health benefit or health care plan or program, or any other health benefit arrangement. Waiting periods for preexisting conditions administered under this Article are subject to applicable federal law.

(c) Dependents of Employees and Retired Employees. -

(1) Dependents of employees and retired employees who have family coverage under the Predecessor Plan will continue to be covered subject to the terms hereof.

(2) Employees who have dependents may apply for family coverage at the time they enroll as provided in subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section and such dependents will be covered under the Plan beginning the same date as such employees.

(3) Employees and retired employees may change from one category of coverage to a different category of coverage without a waiting period for preexisting conditions, and, as applicable, dependents will be covered under the Plan the first of the month or the first of the second month following the dependent's eligibility for coverage, provided written application is submitted to the Health Benefits Representative within 30 days of becoming eligible.

(4) Employees or retired employees who wish to change to employee only coverage shall give written notice to their Health Benefits Representative within 30 days after any change in the status of dependents, (resulting from death, divorce, etc.) that requires a change in contract category. The effective date will be the first of the month following the dependent's ineligibility event. If notification was not made within the 30 days following the dependent's ineligibility event, the dependent will be retroactively removed the first of the month following the dependent's ineligibility event, and the coverage category change will be the first of the month following written notification, except in cases of death, in which case the coverage category change will be made retroactive to the first of the month following the death.

(5) Employees not adding dependents age 19 and older when first eligible may enroll later during annual enrollment, but dependents may be subject to a 12-month waiting period for preexisting health conditions except as provided in subdivision (a)(3) of this section.

(6) Employees or retired employees who wish to change to employee only coverage even though their dependents continue to be eligible, shall give written notification to their Health Benefits Representative. Except as otherwise required by applicable federal law, the date of this category change will be the first of the month following written notification or any first of the month thereafter as desired by the employee.

(7) The effective date for newborns or adopted children will be date of birth, date of adoption, or placement with adoptive parent provided member is currently covered under employee and family or employee and child coverage. If the member wishes to add a newborn or adopted child and is currently enrolled in employee only coverage, the member must submit application for coverage and a coverage type change within 30 days of the child's birth or date of adoption or placement. Effective date for the coverage category change is the first of the month in which the child is born, adopted, or placed. Adopted children may also be covered the first of the month following placement or adoption.

(d) Categories of Coverage Available. - There are four categories of coverage which an employee or retiree may elect.

(1) Employee Only. - Covers enrolled employees only. Maternity benefits are provided to employee only.

(2) Employee and Child. - Covers enrolled employee and all eligible dependent children. Maternity benefits are provided to the employee only.

(3) Employee and Family. - Covers employee and spouse, and all eligible dependent children. Maternity benefits are provided to employee or enrolled spouse.

(4) Employee and Spouse. - Covers employee and spouse only. Maternity benefits are provided to the employee or the employee's enrolled spouse.

(e) Firefighters, rescue squad workers, and members of the National Guard are subject to the same terms and conditions of this section as are employees. Eligible dependents of firefighters, rescue squad workers, and members of the National Guard are subject to the same terms and conditions of this section as are dependents of employees.

(f) If any provision of this section is in conflict with applicable federal law, federal law shall control to the extent of the conflict. (1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1398, s. 6; 1983, c. 499; c. 761, ss. 252-255; c. 867, s. 4; c. 922, s. 5; 1985, c. 400, ss. 5, 6; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1020, ss. 5(b), 20; 1987, c. 857, s. 13; 1991, c. 427, ss. 10-12; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 28.23(b); 1997-512, ss. 28-31, 40; 1999-237, s. 28.29(g); 2007-323, s. 28.22A(h); 2008-168, ss. 1(a), 3(a), (h); 2009-16, ss. 3(d), 5(a); 2009-281, s. 1; 2011-85, ss. 1.7(d), 2.6(e), 2.10; 2011-96, ss. 2(d)(2), 3(d); 2012-173, s. 2(c); 2013-324, s. 4; 2014-100, ss. 35.16(a), (d).)