City council OKs policy to cover three months of health coverage for dependents after death of employee

Edmonds artist Michael Reagan completed this sketch of Edmonds police offer Tyler Steffins for the fallen officer’s family.

In a special meeting Thursday prompted by the off-duty death of Edmonds police officer Tyler Steffins, the Edmonds City Council voted unanimously to approve a city policy to pay for up to three months of health insurance coverage for the family of any city worker who dies while an active employee.

The 33-year-old Steffins was off-duty in Las Vegas March 26 when he was attacked by a knife-wielding suspect. He was transported to an area hospital but did not survive his injuries. The Las Vegas Metro Police Department has a 58-year-old man in custody and has launched a homicide investigation. Steffins is survived by his wife and two elementary-age children.

Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett, who was present during the virtual meeting, thanked the councilmembers for their vote, adding that it “means a lot to this (Steffins’) family and the (Edmonds police) officers.” She also thanked the community for the outpouring of support, including flower bouquets and cards left at a memorial outside the public safety building as well as numerous baked goods delivered to the police department.

Edmonds artist and Vietnam veteran Michael Reagan, founder of the non-profit Fallen Heroes Project, also provided a sketch of Steffins for the officer’s family.

In explaining the proposed policy change to the council, Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson said that Steffins’ death prompted the city to look at changing the city’s policy. “When an employee dies, they may have dependents and spouses on their health care coverage,” Neill Hoyson said. In addition to dealing with a variety of other issues, those dependents will be facing the additional cost of paying Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) to ensure their health insurance remains in effect, she explained.

The policy “gives us an opportunity to help a family who is already in grief, transition a little more smoothly,” Neill Hoyson said.

The new policy approved by the council Thursday states that when an active employee dies, the surviving spouse and dependents who are enrolled in the employee’s active health insurance (medical, dental, vision) will receive up to three months of COBRA paid by the city.

 

 

 

6 Replies to “City council OKs policy to cover three months of health coverage for dependents after death of employee”

  1. I don’t understand why that isn’t the case already? It should be paid by the insurance company’s not the city. Don’t people pay a lot of money for coverage they rarely use? A lot of jobs have a certain amount of death insurance included in the contract or through the union. A lot of jobs pay for your insurance for a short time if you’re injured. Anyway seems odd it’s something the city should have to cover in this case? Maybe the city needs to negotiate with the insurance company or union. On their employee benefits. Strange.

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  2. Kudos to our Council on this kind and benevolent action. I’d rather see our money spent on this than use it to pay expert consultants to tell us what is already obvious.

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  3. Excellent! This is the right thing to do. A family should not have to worry their healthcare coverage will expire at the end of the month. This gives them time to explore options.

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  4. So we’re applauding 3 months of healthcare coverage for a city employee who dies while employed ? Imagine your healthcare coverage expires in 3 months . How would you feel about that ? He left his wife and 2 young kids . What are they going to do in 3 months when their health care coverage expires ?

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  5. That’s an easy one to answer, Rich. Depending on the amount of life insurance cash the survivor has available, she will either have to find employment that includes health care coverage or she will have to purchase a family plan Obama Care (Affordable Health Care Act) private insurance co. policy for health care. She may also have to purchase day care for their children if she has to work.

    As a nation we have rejected Medicare for all or universal health care coverage so, for better or worse, that’s just how it is for this unfortunate person. I see nothing wrong with giving ourselves a little hand for trying to help out just a bit. Our politicos, mostly of the Conservative persuasion, do not see government as having any place in private health care issues and availability except in terms of telling people what they can’t have by law. And the beat goes on.

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