Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
March 5, 1990
Honorable J. Edward Caldwell
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Mr. Caldwell:
This is in reply to your letter of March 17, 1989, requesting our advice concerning the eligibility of a state retiree, now serving in the General Assembly, for group life insurance. Specifically, you ask whether the individual is eligible to participate in group life insurance coverage as a member of the legislature as provided in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(a) while also maintaining paid-up group life insurance provided for retired State employees in e 5-257(d). It is our opinion that the individual is eligible to maintain his paid up insurance and to participate in a group life insurance policy under Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(a) as a member of the General Assembly.
The Comptroller is authorized to procure any and all group policies necessary to effect the mandates of Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257 as follows:
The Comptroller, with the approval of the Attorney General and of the Insurance Commissioner, may revise the group insurance plan for employees of the State by amendment of any existing group life insurance policy or policies or by procuring from one or more life insurance companies authorized to do business in Connecticut, a policy or policies of group life insurance covering employees of the State.
Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(a).
Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(a) further provides that active State employees and members of the general assembly are eligible for group life insurance after six months service. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(d), such coverage ceases for state employees on termination of their employment and for members of the general assembly at the end of their term of office. Notwithstanding this provision, however, e 5-257(d) provides for reduced amounts of life insurance for "insured employees retired in accordance with any retirement plan for state employees." Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(d). Finally, Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(d) states that:
For purposes of this section, no employee shall be deemed to be retired so long as his employment continues under subsections (b) and (e) of section 5-164.
Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-164(b) and (e) deal with members of the retirement system who continue in state service beyond age seventy. There is no indication, however, that this exception applies here. The person in question is thus entitled to the reduced life insurance coverage for retired state employees.
With regard to additional coverage as a member of the general assembly, we can find no statute which would preclude this retired employee from eligibility for life insurance upon qualification as a member of the general assembly as provided in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-257(a). We cannot read into a statute an exception that does not appear; rather "the statute will be applied as its words direct." Muha v. United Oil Co., 180 Conn. 720, 730 (1980) Duguay v. Hopkins, 191 Conn. 222, 228 (1983). Moreover, while not controlling as to insurance benefits, Conn. Gen. Stat. e 5-164a (c) specifically allows retired state employees subsequently serving in the general assembly to retain their retirement income during their term of office.
Based upon the foregoing it is our opinion that this retired state employee may retain his paid-up insurance and obtain new coverage as a member of the general assembly.
It is recognized by this office, however, that in order to accomplish this, the Comptroller may be required to secure additional policy or policies, as deemed necessary.
Your question number two asks this office to determine the basis for this individual's paid up group life insurance at the end of the term of office. This is not a legal question and therefore we decline to respond. We do, however, remind you that the paid up group insurance, as per our discussion above, is a benefit that is unaffected by the additional coverage offered to the legislator under current law.
Very truly yours,
CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
Jacqueline K. Houser
Assistant Attorney General