Thursday, May 13, 2010

Continuation of Healthcare Coverage and Minnesota State Troopers

This article is a follow up to an article I wrote in February of 2009 regarding continued healthcare coverage for State Troopers under Minn.Stat. §299A.465.

All firefighters and police offices in the state of Minnesota are eligible for continued healthcare insurance coverage if they receive duty disability benefits as a result of an injury in the line of duty. Continued healthcare insurance coverage means that the employer must continue to pay the employer’s share of health insurance premiums. Given the skyrocketing cost of health care insurance, this benefit is worth thousands of dollars.

In July 2008, the Minnesota legislature revised Minnesota Statute §299A.465 to make the process more streamlined for disabled police officers and firefighters to receive continued healthcare benefits. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Legislature screwed up when it re-wrote the statute. They forgot to include members of the Minnesota State Patrol.

We represented a State Trooper who was disabled in the line of duty for his workers’ compensation case. He was approved for duty disability benefits under MSRS (Minnesota State Retirement System), but when he applied for continued healthcare coverage, he was informed that he wasn’t eligible for this benefit. We filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the State of Minnesota, arguing that State Troopers are in fact covered under Minn.Stat. §299A.465 and they are entitled to continued healthcare insurance, just like all other police officers in the state.

Shortly thereafter, due in part to our efforts, the Minnesota legislature revised the statute to include Minnesota State Troopers, who they had inadvertently left out in the 2008 version of the statute. In the meantime, however, our State Trooper client had to pay out of pocket for his healthcare insurance, and incurred additional expenses due to his high deductible. Recently, we reached a settlement with the State on behalf of our State Trooper client. The State agreed to reinstate his healthcare insurance coverage that he should have received as soon as his duty disability benefits were approved. They also agreed to reimburse him for the extra costs he incurred due to having to purchase his own healthcare insurance.

If you are a Minnesota State Trooper, or any police officer in the state of Minnesota, and you’ve sustained an injury on the job, contact Meuser & Associates, P.A., for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out what benefits you may be entitled to under workers’ compensation, PERA or MSRS duty disability, and continued healthcare coverage under Minn. Stat. §299A.465. Call Ron or Jen at 877-746-5680 to schedule a free consultation or click here to send us an email.

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