Research Foundation Retiree Health Benefits and Pension

Questions and Answers

1. Will my health insurance coverage continue in retirement?
If you meet the eligibility requirements and pay the required premium, the RF will continue your group Health Care coverage after you retire until you reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The RF will continue Health Care coverage for your eligible dependents if they have been covered under your plan for at least one year before you retire. No new dependents can be added to your coverage after you retire.
2. What are the eligibility requirements for continuing health insurance/prescription drug coverage in retirement?
A) You must be 55 years of age or older at retirement
B) At retirement, you must have completed a minimum of 10 years of full-time service (or the equivalent in part-time service)
C) You must be participating in a health insurance plan immediately preceding your retirement date. (Your spouse must be insured a minimum of 1 year prior to your retirement)
3. Will my dental and vision care benefits or life insurance continue in retirement?
Retiree health insurance does not include dental, vision or life insurance. When you retire, you will have the opportunity to pay for dental and vision care through COBRA, if you do not have coverage through any other group insurance plan. At the present time, the cost for individual dental coverage is $35.22 and vision coverage is $3.83 per month, employee and spouse, employee and children and family dental coverage is $83.27 and vision coverage is $9.08 per month. You can contact Securian Life Insurance Company, (877) 491-5265, once you retire, to see what it would cost you to continue the same life insurance coverage you had as an active employee.
4. How are these benefits obtained? Are there any forms to fill out? How much advance notice do you require?
The Benefits Office, (631) 632-6180, should be advised that you are considering retirement a few months before the scheduled date. We will notify the Central Office in Albany to check their records to confirm your eligibility for the retiree health benefit. You should then call the Benefits Office approximately 2-3 months before your retirement date so we can call Albany with an exact retirement date.
You should also notify your department, so they can send a RF change form to the Payroll Office with your definite retirement date. Albany will send you a letter explaining your benefits, how to make the health insurance payments; if necessary, the procedure to use for any Cobra payments you may wish to make, and information on the procedure to follow when you become eligible for Medicare at age 65. This information will be sent to you after you actually retire.
5. How many hours of sick, vacation, personal, and holiday leave are paid at the end of RF service?
You will be paid for up to 30 days of vacation accruals and any comp time you have earned. If you are eligible for the retiree health benefit, the Research Foundation in Albany will contact the Payroll Office to find out how much sick time you have after you actually retire. They will make an additional pension contribution to TIAA by multiplying the value of your accrued sick days (to a maximum of 200 days) by the current percent they contribute for your retirement. You will lose any remaining personal and holiday accruals.
6. Can the retiree health insurance benefits ever be taken away?
The Benefits Handbook, under Health insurance coverage continuation at retirement, it states: "This section describes retiree health insurance rules now in effect. The Research Foundation reserves the right to change these rules in the future."
7. Does my retiree health insurance coverage change when I, or my covered dependent, reach age 65?
Yes, when you and/or your covered dependent reach age 65, you must apply for Medicare B, which will become your primary health insurance coverage. Your Research Foundation health insurance plan will end and you will be offered to choose from a wide variety of Medicare supplemental medical and prescription drug plans available through the Aon Retiree Health Exchange. The RF will make an annual contribution to an HRA for most retirees to help pay for health and prescription drug insurance premiums and other eligible health care expenses.
8. When and how do I apply for Medicare B?
Approximately three months before you and/or your covered dependent reach age 65 or, within 3 months of your retirement date at age 65 or older, contact your local Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to apply. If your dependent is under the age of 65 but is receiving Social Security Disability payments for 24 months or more, your dependent must also apply for Medicare B.
9. Is there a cost associated with Medicare B?
Yes, the monthly cost of Medicare B usually changes each year on January 1 and is automatically deducted each month from your social security check. Please contact the Social Security Administration to determine the current cost of Medicare B coverage.
10. Is there a percent coinsurance that retirees are required to pay based on what a provider charges, what Medicare pays, and what the RF health insurance pays?
Your out-of-pocket cost would be determined by your health insurance plan and whether or not you use participating doctors. You would be responsible for the deductibles and co-insurance amounts your health insurance plan specifies if you use non-network doctors. Your doctors should bill Medicare first and then bill your RF insurance.
11. How does the RF pension work? How is monthly payment determined?
TIAA provides a number of alternatives from which you can choose to receive your retirement money. These are detailed in the RF Benefits Handbook on pages 41-45. We also have a TIAA representative you can meet with for assistance in choosing an alternative and completing the necessary paperwork to start your pension payments. If you wish to meet with them, you can call (516) 454-4025 to schedule an appointment
12. Can my spouse continue the health insurance if I die?
Yes, if you die, health insurance for your covered dependents will continue for the remainder of their lifetime, while your depends remain in eligible status.

You will find details about "Staying Connected: A Program for Retirees" on the HRS webpage at :

The program provides ongoing connectivity between our retiree population and the University.