Every municipality shall have plenary power and authority to negotiate for, secure and adopt for the regular employees thereof (other than provisional, temporary, emergency and intermittent employees) who are in employee status with such municipality on and after the effective date of this section and for their spouses and dependents, a policy or policies of group insurance written by a carrier or carriers chartered under the laws of any state and duly licensed to do business in this state and covering life; health; hospital care; surgical or medical diagnosis, care, and treatment; drugs and medicines; remedial care; other medical supplies and services; or any other combination of these; and any other policy or policies of group insurance which in the discretion of the governing body bear a reasonable relationship to the foregoing coverages. The provisions and terms of any such group plan or plans of insurance shall be approved in writing by the Insurance Commissioner of this state as to form, rate and benefits.
The municipality is hereby authorized and empowered to pay the entire premium cost, or any portion thereof, of said group policy or policies. Whenever the above-described regular employees shall indicate in writing that they have subscribed to any of the aforesaid insurance plans on a group basis and the entire cost thereof is not paid by the municipality, the municipality is hereby authorized and empowered to make periodic premium deductions of the amount of the contribution each such subscribing employee is required to make for such participation from the salary or wage payments due each such subscribing employee as specified in a written assignment furnished to the municipality by each such subscribing employee.
When a participating employee shall retire from his employment, he may, if he so elects, remain a member of the group plan and retain coverage for his spouse and dependents, by paying the entire premium for the coverage involved. Spouses and dependents of any deceased member may remain a member of the group plan by paying the entire premium for the coverage: Provided, That nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting the municipality from paying a portion or all of the cost of any coverage. In the event that a municipality changes insurance carriers, as a condition precedent to any such change, the municipality shall assure that all retirees, their spouses and dependents, and the spouses and dependents of any deceased member are guaranteed acceptance, at the same cost for the same coverage as regular employees of similar age groupings, their spouses and dependents.