Thursday, November 14th, 2013

PSEBA Recipient Reporting Forms

On August 27, 2013, Governor Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 1245 (codified as 820 ILCS 320/17).  The bill amended the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”), effective immediately, and instituted an employer’s periodic reporting obligation with the State Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (“COGFA”).  Senate Bill 1245 was initially introduced in an effort to define “catastrophic injury” as an injury that prevented an individual from performing gainful employment.  However, the bill’s sponsors did not have sufficient support behind it and, as a result, the bill was amended to require the collection of data regarding the costs of PSEBA across Illinois.  By now, employers should have received forms from COGFA, which seek information regarding the number of PSEBA applications received in the last two years (the reporting period) and since PSEBA’s inception. The reports are due to COGFA 120 days after receipt of the form.

COGFA’s report forms found in contain detailed instructions and are fairly easy to complete.  The employer form requests information regarding the number of PSEBA claims, the number of awarded claims (assuming claims qualify under PSEBA requirements), and the aggregate costs of providing PSEBA benefits, specifying the premiums paid per recipient.  The forms also seek historical information as to the number of PSEBA claims filed and/or awarded since the inception of PSEBA in 1997 and the related costs as well as a specific breakdown of the monthly costs and the type of health plans afforded to PSEBA recipients.  Employers are also required to provide applicable forms to each PSEBA recipient.  The PSEBA Recipient forms, also found in the website link provided above, are just as simple to complete.  Recipients’ responses are due to employers within 60 days.  Employers can provide an additional 30 days in the event of non-compliance, and give notice that failure to so comply will result in the recipient’s obligation to reimburse employer for health care premiums for the period the form is due and not filed.  The information gathered by employers and submitted to COGFA is exempt from disclosure pursuant to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, thus any privacy concerns on the part of PSEBA recipients should not be a factor in their compliance.

We encourage employers subject to PSEBA to timely submit the requested information.  To date, the extent of costs associated with PSEBA across the state is unknown.  Each employer can attest to PSEBA’s impact and significant strain on its budget.  While in some situations the employee awarded the benefits is truly unable to engage in gainful employment as a result of his line of duty injuries, there are those instances where PSEBA recipients can still work, do work, and are capable of obtaining health care benefits through their new employers.  Data obtained pursuant to this amendment may lend support to proponents of the redefinition of “catastrophic injury.”  At a minimum, data ought to provide a complete picture of what are likely astronomical costs, thereby potentially curbing further efforts to expand PSEBA.

Carlos S. Arevalo

Author: Carlos S. Arévalo