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  S.B. No. 872
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to continued health insurance coverage and financial
  assistance for eligible survivors of certain public servants killed
  in the line of duty.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 615.003, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 615.003.  APPLICABILITY. This chapter applies only to
  eligible survivors of the following individuals:
               (1)  an individual elected, appointed, or employed as a
  peace officer by the state or a political subdivision of the state
  under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, or other law;
               (2)  a paid probation officer appointed by the director
  of a community supervision and corrections department who has the
  duties set out in Section 76.002 and the qualifications set out in
  Section 76.005, or who was appointed in accordance with prior law;
               (3)  a parole officer employed by the pardons and
  paroles division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice who
  has the duties set out in Section 508.001 and the qualifications set
  out in Section 508.113 or in prior law;
               (4)  a paid jailer;
               (5)  a member of an organized police reserve or
  auxiliary unit who regularly assists peace officers in enforcing
  criminal laws;
               (6)  a member of the class of employees of the
  institutional division or the state jail division of the Texas
  Department of Criminal Justice formally designated as custodial
  personnel under Section 615.006 by the Texas Board of Criminal
  Justice or its predecessor in function;
               (7)  a jailer or guard of a county jail who is appointed
  by the sheriff and who:
                     (A)  performs a security, custodial, or
  supervisory function over the admittance, confinement, or
  discharge of prisoners; and
                     (B)  is certified by the Commission on Law
  Enforcement Officer Standards and Education;
               (8)  a juvenile correctional employee of the Texas
  Youth Commission;
               (9)  an employee of the Texas Department of Mental
  Health and Mental Retardation who:
                     (A)  works at the department's maximum security
  unit; or
                     (B)  performs on-site services for the Texas
  Department of Criminal Justice;
               (10)  an individual who is employed by the state or a
  political or legal subdivision and is subject to certification by
  the Texas Commission on Fire Protection;
               (11)  an individual employed by the state or a
  political or legal subdivision whose principal duties are aircraft
  crash and rescue fire fighting;
               (12)  a member of an organized volunteer fire-fighting
  unit that:
                     (A)  renders fire-fighting services without
  remuneration; and
                     (B)  conducts a minimum of two drills each month,
  each two hours long;
               (13)  an individual who:
                     (A)  performs emergency medical services or
  operates an ambulance;
                     (B)  is employed by a political subdivision of the
  state or is an emergency medical services volunteer as defined by
  Section 773.003, Health and Safety Code; and
                     (C)  is qualified as an emergency care attendant
  or at a higher level of training under Section 773.046, 773.047,
  773.048, 773.049, or 773.0495, Health and Safety Code; [or]
               (14)  an individual who is employed or formally
  designated as a chaplain for:
                     (A)  an organized volunteer fire-fighting unit or
  other fire department of this state or of a political subdivision of
  this state;
                     (B)  a law enforcement agency of this state or of a
  political subdivision of this state; or
                     (C)  the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; or
               (15)  an individual who is employed by the state or a
  political subdivision of the state and who is considered by the
  governmental employer to be a trainee for a position otherwise
  described by this section.
         SECTION 2.  Subsection (e), Section 615.021, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (e)  In this section:
               (1)  "Personal injury" means an injury resulting from
  an external force, an activity, or a disease caused by or resulting
  from:
                     (A)  a line-of-duty accident; or
                     (B)  an illness caused by line-of-duty work under
  hazardous conditions.
               (2)  "Line of duty" means an action an individual
  listed under Section 615.003 is required or authorized by rule,
  condition of employment, or law to perform. The term includes:
                     (A)  an action by the individual at a social,
  ceremonial, athletic, or other function to which the individual is
  assigned by the individual's employer; and
                     (B)  an action performed as part of a training
  program the individual is required or authorized by rule, condition
  of employment, or law to undertake.
         SECTION 3.  Subsection (c), Section 615.073, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  The surviving spouse is entitled to continue to purchase
  health insurance coverage until [the earlier of:
               [(1)  the date the surviving spouse remarries;
               [(2)     the date the surviving spouse becomes eligible
  for group health insurance through another employer; or
               [(3)]  the date the surviving spouse becomes eligible
  for federal Medicare benefits.
         SECTION 4.  Section 615.074, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 615.074.  BENEFIT TO DEPENDENT. (a)  An eligible
  surviving dependent who is a minor child is entitled to continue
  health insurance coverage until [the earlier of:
               [(1)]  the date the dependent reaches the age of 18
  [years; or
               [(2)     the date the dependent becomes eligible for group
  health insurance through another employer].
         (b)  An eligible surviving dependent who is not a minor child
  is entitled to continue health insurance coverage until the earlier
  of:
               (1)  [the date the dependent marries;
               [(2)]  the date the dependent becomes eligible for
  group health insurance through another employer; or
               (2) [(3)]  the date the dependent becomes eligible for
  federal Medicare benefits.
         SECTION 5.  Subsections (a) and (c), Section 615.075,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An employing entity shall provide written notice to an
  eligible survivor to whom this subchapter may apply of the
  survivor's rights under this subchapter not later than the 10th day
  after the date of the decedent's death. Not later than the 150th
  day after the date of the decedent's death, the employing entity
  shall send a subsequent written notice under this subsection by
  certified mail to any eligible survivor who has not already elected
  to continue coverage on or before that date.
         (c)  To receive continued coverage under this subchapter,
  the employing entity must be informed not later than the 180th
  [90th] day after the date the decedent died that the eligible
  survivor elects to continue coverage.
         SECTION 6.  Section 615.077, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 615.077.  PAYMENTS; RATE. An eligible survivor who is
  entitled to continued coverage under this subchapter [is entitled
  to]:
               (1)  is entitled to:
                     (A)  make payments for the coverage or have
  payments made on the survivor's behalf at the same time and to the
  same entity that payments for coverage are made by current
  employees of the employing entity; and
                     (B)  obtain [(2) purchase] the coverage at the
  [group] rate paid by current employees of the employing entity for
  that coverage; and
               (2)  may not be required to pay a premium amount for the
  coverage that is greater than the premium amount that a current
  employee of the employing entity without a spouse is required to pay
  to cover the employee alone or to cover the employee and the
  employee's dependent children, as applicable to the eligible
  survivor [that exists at the time of payment].
         SECTION 7.  Subchapter D, Chapter 615, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 615.080 and 615.081 to read as follows:
         Sec. 615.080.  GRACE PERIOD. Health insurance benefits
  coverage in force on the date of the decedent's death under which a
  deceased individual listed under Section 615.071 covered one or
  more other persons may not lapse before the 181st day after the date
  of the decedent's death for failure to pay the premium.
         Sec. 615.081.  LIMITED OPPORTUNITY FOR CERTAIN ELIGIBLE
  SURVIVORS TO REAPPLY FOR COVERAGE. (a)  This section applies only
  to an eligible survivor of a deceased individual listed under
  Section 615.071 who died on or after September 1, 1993.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter
  or other law, an eligible survivor to whom this section applies who
  did not purchase continued health insurance benefits under this
  subchapter or under the law codified by this subchapter within the
  time allowed after the listed individual's death, or who
  discontinued coverage under this subchapter or under the law
  codified by this subchapter after the listed individual's death,
  may reapply for coverage under the employing entity's health
  insurance benefits plan not later than March 1, 2010.
         (c)  An eligible survivor who reapplies for coverage under
  Subsection (b) is entitled to purchase the coverage according to
  the same rate schedule and coverage options as would apply had the
  eligible survivor continued coverage under this subchapter after
  the listed individual's death.
         (d)  This section expires September 1, 2010.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 872 passed the Senate on
  April 7, 2009, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 8, 2009, by the
  following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 872 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 5, 2009, by the following vote: Yeas 145,
  Nays 0, one present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor