Department of Management Services

Surviving Spouse

Surviving spouses are also eligible for coverage. The term “surviving spouse” means the widow or widower of:

  • A deceased state officer, state employee (including OPS/variable-hour employees) or retiree if the spouse was covered as a dependent at the time of the participant’s death;
  • An employee or retiree who died before July 1, 1979;
  • A retiree who retired before Jan. 1, 1976, under any state retirement system and who is not eligible for any Social Security benefits.

The surviving spouse and dependents, if any, must have been covered at the time of the participant’s death. To enroll, the surviving spouse has 60 days to notify the People First Service Center of the death and 60 days to enroll after receipt of the enrollment package. Coverage is effective retroactively once the enrollment form and premiums have been received. Coverage begins the first of the month following the last month of coverage for the deceased; in other words, coverage must be continuous.

Coverage for surviving spouses ends on the first of the month following remarriage; however, they are eligible to continue coverage under COBRA for a limited time, provided they send a copy of the marriage certificate within 60 days of the marriage to People First.