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Benefits - Retirement

I am interested in retirement, so how do I find out what I need to do and what I could get?

The University defines retirement as leaving the University at age 55 or older with 10 or more years of continuous full-time equivalent service.  If you are contributing to a retirement plan with a vendor through the University, you must contact them for information and forms.  The option to continue in the retiree health insurance plan involves premium payments related to your Medicare –eligibility and your years of service.

I am approaching age 65 and I am concerned about enrolling in Medicare, so what do I need to know?

Employees who continue to actively work at the University in a regular position will not need to enroll in Medicare until full retirement.  Medicare A has no cost but Medicare B does have a premium and participation in the Medicare plan (not D) is required after retirement in order to be eligible for the retiree health plan.  Spouses covered by the employee plan would also need to have Medicare A and B when eligible, but only when the employee is retired.  Medicare does require documentation from the University that you were covered by a group health plan prior to electing Medicare coverage after age 65.

I have heard about an Incentive Retirement Plan, so what does that involve?

Faculty hired before July of 1996 and salaried employees hired before July 2006 are eligible for a lump sum incentive paid into the retirement account at full retirement.  This incentive is based on a formula related to years of service and salary at the time of retirement.  If the retiree is on a PPRP agreement, the salary is adjusted to the 100% equivalent.  There is a form available in the benefits office for you to request this payment.  The payment is made into your retirement account and is not paid in your University paycheck.

Is there an incentive related to paying for health insurance?

There is no current incentive to help a retiree pay for health insurance.  The University does subsidize premiums at the time the retiree is Medicare-eligible, and the actual premiums vary related to years of service, whether family members are covered on the health plan, and whether a family member also has Medicare.

How can I find out how much the retiree health plan costs?

Since the premiums vary depending on the individual’s situation, and the premiums tend to increase each January, please contact Kathleen Bell for the current premium for your situation.

Do retiree premiums stay the same throughout my retirement?

Unfortunately, premiums that retirees pay tend to increase each January.  The System Office administers the retirement programs for retirees and will inform you of premium changes.

I am an employee that is still covered by the retirement plan for hourly employees, and now I want to retire.  How do I start that pension? How do I find out how much it is?

There are forms available in the benefits office, and they include your selection of an income option, tax forms, and a direct deposit form.  You also need to submit a document proving your age.  There is a form that can be used to make a request for an estimate, and such a request can include options other than the single life annuity option amount which is sent to you annually.

What forms are required to enter the retiree health plan?

There are separate forms to indicate that you wish to continue or discontinue the health and dental plans.  If not yet Medicare-eligible, you may elect to opt out of the health plan and opt back in no later than Medicare-eligibility.  This form needs to be notarized if opting out.  There is also a form to arrange for the payment of premiums through a savings or checking account.  A dependent will need to create a separate Cigna health plan if not yet Medicare-eligible when the retiree is Medicare-eligible.  Medicare-eligible retirees and spouses complete an enrollment form for the Anthem PPO plan.

How much notice do I need to provide before retiring?

In general 4 weeks to a semester in advance tend to be the typical notices.  For a Medicare-eligible retiree and spouse, there is an Anthem PPO form that needs to be completed no earlier than 90 days before the effective date of the health coverage as a retiree.  Delayed submission of forms may mean that payments made to you will also be delayed, and health insurance cards may not arrive when expected.

What about vacation?

Employees cannot retire on a day used for vacation but you will be paid for unused vacation days at the time of retirement.  Depending on your job, the maximum number of hours paid may vary.

What about the dental and vision plans in retirement? 

The dental plan can be continued by completing the form provided at the same time you are given the health plan form and you arrange to pay the appropriate premium.  However, if you discontinue the plan, you cannot re-enroll.  The vision plan can be continued for 18 months when you are offered COBRA.  This election notice comes from Benefit Concepts, a Rhode Island-based company.

Can I work in retirement?

Retirees cannot be rehired in a full-time regular position at the University.  Outside work or temporary or part-time work at the University may be possible.  Depending on your normal retirement age for social security purposes, earnings may affect social security payments.

 I need to speak with someone in person about retirement options, so how do I get an appointment?

Individual appointments are available with Kathleen Bell, and the TIAA-CREF representative comes to campus about three days per month for appointments.  Contact Anne Marie Michaud in Human Resources to schedule an appointment with the TIAA-CREF representative.

What about social security?

You can visit the web site at www.socialsecurity.gov and get estimates, start your benefits, etc.  For a personal appointment, you can call (800) 772-1213.  Telephone interviews can also be arranged.

What is a Gold Card?

The Gold Card is a policy supported by the President’s Office and is distributed to eligible retirees to enable the retiree to receive benefits such as a Parking Pass and tickets at no cost.  Eligibility generally requires 25 years of service.  A form to request the Gold Card can be sent to you by Kathleen Bell.

What about life insurance in retirement?

The employee life insurance ends at retirement; however, you can convert to an individual policy directly with Prudential.  Premium payments are required.  Call Prudential at (877) 880-2070 for information and a conversion kit.

Can retirees take free classes?

The tuition waiver program is administered through the Bursar’s Office; however, active employment is the requirement for regular classes.

I believe there is an annual pre-retirement seminar.  When is it held?

Eligible employees are invited to the pre-retirement seminar that is held in the spring.  The seminar covers a variety of topics and policies. Attendance is encouraged even when you don’t expect to retire soon in order to start an appropriate planning process.

Am I eligible for Partial/Phased Retirement?

Eligibility for this status is for Faculty or Salaried employees who are least age 55 with 10 or more years of full-time equivalent service or whose age and years of service total 73.

What are the benefits during Partial/Phased Retirement?

An employee remains eligible for the matching retirement plan and Long Term disability and continues to pay the full-time employee rate for the health and dental plans.  Benefits related to salary are reduced to the changed salary including life insurance and pro-rated retirement plan contributions.  The work agreement is negotiated with the peer committee and your department leadership. The duration of the agreement is no more than three years, and at the time of full retirement the employee who is eligible for the Incentive Retirement Plan has the calculation based on the 100% salary.

I am an hourly employee and I want to work a reduced schedule prior to retirement.  What are my options? 

Hourly employees who may be interested in a reduced work schedule may be eligible for the Voluntary Schedule Reduction policy.  This policy has certain similarities to the Partial/Phased Retirement policy.

When can I take money out of my retirement plan?

When you are no longer an employee you can access your retirement plan by contacting your vendor directly.  You would want to be aware of taxation and penalty issues and possible vendor rules around a withdrawal.   You may also be eligible for a rollover.  You are not required to access your retirement plan; however, the latest you should consider taking income is the April after you turn 70 ½. If you are requesting a hardship withdrawal during active employment, the rules are quite strict, and are related to “voluntary” contributions.  Contact the vendor directly and the Employee Benefit Center for assistance.

When am I vested in the University match to my retirement account?

Consult your Collective Bargaining Agreement for information.  Newer employees are not immediately vested.

 


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