135-48.41. Additional eligibility provisions.

(a) A foster child is covered as a dependent child (i) if living in a regular parent-child relationship with the expectation that the employee will continue to rear the child into adulthood, (ii) if at the time of enrollment, or at the time a foster child relationship is established, whichever occurs first, the employee applies for coverage for such child and submits evidence of a bona fide foster child relationship, identifying the foster child by name and setting forth all relevant aspects of the relationship, (iii) if the claims processor accepts the foster child as a participant through a separate written document identifying the foster child by name and specifically recognizing the foster child relationship, and (iv) if at the time a claim is incurred, the foster child relationship, as identified by the employee, continues to exist. Children placed in a home by a welfare agency which obtains control of, and provides for maintenance of the child, are not eligible participants.

(b) Notwithstanding the age requirement under G.S. 135-48.1(9), coverage of a dependent child may be continued beyond the dependent child's 26th birthday if the dependent child is disabled and if the dependent was covered by the Plan on the dependent child's 26th birthday. Verification of the dependent child's disability shall be provided to the Plan no later than 60 days after the dependent child's 26th birthday.

(c) No person shall be eligible for coverage as a dependent if eligible as an employee or retired employee, except when a spouse is eligible on a fully contributory basis or when the person is a disabled dependent child. In addition, no person shall be eligible for coverage as a dependent of more than one employee or retired employee at the same time.

(d) Former employees who are receiving disability retirement benefits or disability income benefits pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes or who are approved for those benefits but not in receipt of the benefits due to lump-sum payouts of vacation, bonus, and sick leave, provided the former employee has at least five years of contributory retirement service with an employing unit of a State-supported retirement system, shall be eligible for the benefit provisions of this Plan, as set forth in this Part, on a noncontributory or partially contributory basis. Such coverage shall terminate as of the end of the month in which such former employee is no longer eligible for disability retirement benefits or disability income benefits pursuant to Article 6 of this Chapter.

(e) Employees on official leave of absence without pay may elect to continue this group coverage at group cost provided that they pay the full employee and employer contribution through the employing unit during the leave period.

(f) For the support of the benefits made available to any member vested at the time of retirement, their spouses or surviving spouses, and the surviving spouses of employees who are receiving a survivor's alternate benefit under G.S. 135-5(m) of those associations listed in G.S. 135-27(a), licensing and examining boards under G.S. 135-1.1, the North Carolina State Art Society, Inc., and the North Carolina Symphony Society, Inc., each association, organization or board shall pay to the Plan the full cost of providing these benefits under this section as determined by the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. In addition, each association, organization or board shall pay to the Plan an amount equal to the cost of the benefits provided under this section to presently retired members of each association, organization or board since such benefits became available at no cost to the retired member. This subsection applies only to those individuals employed prior to July 1, 1983, as provided in G.S. 135-27(d).

(g) An eligible surviving spouse and any eligible surviving dependent child of a deceased retiree, teacher, State employee, member of the General Assembly, former member of the General Assembly, or Disability Income Plan beneficiary shall be eligible for group benefits under this section provided coverage is elected within 90 days after the death of the former plan member. Coverage may be elected at a later time during an annual enrollment period.

(h) No person shall be eligible for coverage as an employee or retired employee or as a dependent of an employee or retired employee upon a finding by the State Treasurer or by a court of competent jurisdiction that the employee or dependent knowingly and willfully made or caused to be made a false statement or false representation of a material fact in a claim for reimbursement of medical services under the Plan or in any representation or attestation to the Plan.

The State Treasurer may make an exception to the provisions of this subsection when persons subject to this subsection have had a cessation of coverage for a period of five years and have made a full and complete restitution to the Plan for all fraudulent claim amounts. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to obligate the State Treasurer to make an exception as allowed for under this subsection.

(i) Any employee receiving benefits pursuant to Article 6 of this Chapter when the employee has less than five years of retirement membership service, or an employee on leave without pay due to illness or injury for up to 12 months, is entitled to continued coverage under the Plan for the employee and any eligible dependents by paying one hundred percent (100%) of the cost.

(j) If a retiree has been hired by an employing unit and is eligible for coverage under subdivision (1), (1a), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), or (10) of G.S. 135-48.40(b) or under G.S. 135-48.40(e), then the hired retiree shall not, during the time of employment, be eligible for retiree coverage under G.S. 135-48.40(a)(1), G.S. 135-48.40(b)(3), G.S. 135-48.40(c)(2), or G.S. 135-48.40(d)(11).

(k) If a retiree is a prisoner serving an active sentence in the State prison system and covered under G.S. 148-19, then the incarcerated retiree shall not, during the time of incarceration, be eligible for retiree coverage under G.S. 135-48.40(a)(1), 135-48.40(b)(3), 135-48.40(c)(2), or 135-48.40(d)(11). (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, s. 29(a)-(l); 1987, c. 738, ss. 29(n), 36(a), 36(b); c. 809, ss. 3, 4; c. 857, ss. 11(a), 11.1, 11.2, 12; 1989, c. 752, s. 22(e), (f); 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1074, s. 22(a); 1993, c. 321, s. 85(b); 1995, c. 278, s. 1; c. 507, ss. 7.21(a)-(c), 7.28(a)-(c); 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1997-512, ss. 17, 19-27; 1999-237, s. 28.29(f); 2000-141, ss. 6(a), (b); 2000-184, ss. 1(a),(b), 3; 2001-487, s. 86(a); 2002-174, s. 4; 2003-358, s. 4; 2004-124, s. 31.21(b); 2004-199, s. 34(b); 2005-276, s. 29.31(e); 2006-174, ss. 1, 2, 3; 2007-323, s. 28.22A(g1), (o); 2007-345, s. 12; 2008-168, ss. 1(a), 3(a), (f); 2008-194, s. 6(b); 2009-16, s. 3(b); 2009-281, s. 1; 2009-570, s. 43.2; 2009-571, s. 3(a), (d); 2010-72, s. 3(a); 2010-136, ss. 1, 2; 2011-85, ss. 1.7(b), 2.6(c), 2.10; 2011-96, s. 3(b); 2011-294, s. 1; 2012-173, s. 2(a); 2014-100, s. 35.16A(a); 2015-100, s. 4(b); 2015-241, s. 30.25(b); 2017-135, s. 8; 2021-125, s. 2.)