Health Insurance Buyback
Q: What is the Health Insurance Buyback program?
A. The Buyback program allows all active employees and retirees who have other health insurance coverage to receive a payment in exchange for declining health insurance from the County. Participants in the Buyback program receive one-twelfth of the annual buyback amount for each month of non-coverage within a calendar year.
The current buyback amounts are:
$2,000 annual Buyback amount for declining family coverage;
$500 annual Buyback amount for declining individual coverage.
Payments are made twice a year; on or about June 1 and December 1.
Q. How do I join the Buyback program?
A: To buy back your health insurance coverage, obtain the Buyback application form from your department’s Human Resources Representative or from the Comptroller’s Health Benefits Unit for retirees. You are required to provide a notarized affidavit stating that you have insurance coverage from a source other than the County, and you must attach proof of your other insurance coverage. In addition, please note that you may only join the Buyback program during the open enrollment period
Q: If I take the Buyback, may I re-enroll into the County’s health insurance the future?
A: Yes, voluntary re-enrollment to health insurance can be done during the open enrollment period by applying through your department’s Human Resources Representative or through the Comptroller’s Health Benefits Unit for retirees. You must obtain the re-enrollment form (PS-501.3) from your department’s Human Resources Representative or the Comptroller’s Health Benefits Unit and send it to the Comptroller’s Health Benefits Unit.
Enrollees participating in Buyback can also re-enroll at any time during the year if they have a qualifying event, such as loss of coverage.
An employee or retiree who has decided to re-enroll in the County’s health insurance program after having participated in the Buyback program may not participate in the Buyback program again for a minimum period of one year.
Q: What if I have to go from the Buyback to health insurance coverage because my spouse and I have divorced or my spouse or partner died and I no longer have another source of health benefits?
A: Please inform your department’s Human Resources Representative or the Comptroller’s Health Benefits office immediately if you may lose or have lost your other source of health benefits. A death or divorce is considered a “qualifying event” under NYSHIP rules and your coverage can be restored without a waiting period if timely notice is given.
Q. I am currently on Buyback and plan to retire soon. Can I remain on Buyback while in retirement?
A. Yes, effective immediately, NYSHIP amended it policy to allow enrollees who are on Buyback and go into retirement to remain on Buyback without losing their benefit. Enrollment into health insurance will be subject to the usual late enrollment waiting period, except for those who experience a qualifying event. Please note that if you are on Buyback and go into retirement, your retirement is a qualifying event that would enable you to go back onto insurance immediately.