(a) The board may, without compliance with any provisions of law relating to competitive bidding, contract with one or more vision care plans for annuitants and eligible family members, provided each vision care plan carrier has operated successfully in the area of vision care benefits for a reasonable period, as determined by the board.
(b) The board, as the program administrator, has full administrative authority over this program and associated funds and shall require the monthly premium to be paid by the annuitant for the vision care plan. The premium to be paid by the annuitant may be deducted from his or her monthly allowance. If the annuitant's monthly allowance is insufficient to cover the full premium, the annuitant shall be responsible for paying the required balance directly to the vision care plan carrier.
(c) A vision care plan or plans provided under this authority shall be funded by the annuitant's premium. All premiums received from annuitants shall be deposited in the Retired Public Employees Vision Care Program Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury. Any income earned on the moneys in the Retired Public Employees Vision Care Program Fund shall be credited to the fund. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, moneys in the fund are hereby continuously appropriated for the purposes specified in subdivision (d).
(d) The board shall have the exclusive control of the administration and investment of the Retired Public Employees Vision Care Program Fund.
(e) An annuitant may enroll in a vision care plan provided by a carrier that also provides a health benefit plan if the annuitant is also enrolled in the health benefit plan provided by that carrier. However, nothing in this section may be construed to require an annuitant to enroll in a vision care plan and a health benefit plan provided by the same carrier. An annuitant enrolled in this program shall only enroll in a vision plan or plans contracted for by the board.
(f) No contract for a vision care plan may be entered into unless the board determines it is reasonable to do so, and any contract shall take effect only if funds have been made available to cover the startup costs of the program. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any premium moneys paid into this program by annuitants for the purposes of the member vision care plan that is contracted for shall be used for the cost of providing vision care benefits to eligible, enrolled annuitants and their eligible and enrolled dependents, the payment of claims for those vision benefits, the cost of administration of the vision care plan or plans under this vision care program, and any reasonable cost or expense incurred by the board in connection with the startup of the program, those costs being determined by the board.
(g) If the board determines that it is not economically feasible to continue this program at any time after its commencement, the board may, upon written notice to enrollees and to the contracting plan or plans, terminate this program within a reasonable time. The notice of termination to the plan or plans shall be determined by the board. The notice to enrollees of the termination of the program shall commence no later than three months prior to the actual date of termination of the program.
(h) Premium rates for this program shall be determined by the board in conjunction with the contracted plan or plans and shall be considered separate from any active employee premium rates.
(Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 265, Sec. 1.)