[Note: The following information describes benefit policies and coverage in effect as of January 2011. Please refer to the latest Summary Plan Description or contact the Office of Human Resources for current information.]
RETIREE MEDICAL BENEFITS
Full-time faculty and professional staff with 15 consecutive years of eligible service may be eligible for retiree medical coverage under the Plan.
To be eligible for the fully-paid benefit, you must:
• have at least 15 consecutive years of eligible service immediately prior to your retirement date;
• retire at age 55 or later;
• have been hired before January 1, 2006; and
- before September 1, 2011, if you are not a faculty member who has, by May 31, 2011, entered into irrevocable agreements to retire before September 1, 2011; OR
- before September 1, 2013 if you are a faculty member who has, by August 31, 2011, entered into irrevocable agreements to retire before September 1, 2013
You may be eligible for a retiree medical benefit at a cost to you if you do not meet the requirements above.
Retirees aged 60 and over with at least 5 years of continuous eligible service may continue medical insurance coverage for self by paying the full cost of benefit regardless of the date of hire.
Eligible retirees under age 65 continue with the same coverage as active employees until age 65. Eligible retirees aged 65 and over must be enrolled in parts A and B of Medicare on the date of retirement to receive full plan benefits if the retiree will not be employed elsewhere. Even if the retiree will be employed after retiring from Teachers College, s/he should enroll in Medicare Part B upon reaching age 65 unless the retiree takes health insurance from the new employer. If the retiree enrolls after age 65 without having had health insurance through active employment, the retiree will be responsible for a penalty of 10% increase in Medicare premium per 12 month period of late enrollment. Medicare will be the primary insurer, and the Teachers College sponsored plan will be secondary. For people who retire on or after September 1, 2011, reimbursement of expenses will not be duplicated between Medicare and the College retiree medical program.
Depending on your eligibility for the Retiree Medical Benefit, coverage may be provided for the spouse covered by a TC health plan on the date that the staff member retires and dependent children on record as of the date of retirement. Dependent child who is not eligible for other group coverage due to his or her own employment or as a spouse shall be eligible for benefits until the date the child turns age 26, regardless of marital status, employment, student status or support.
Retiree who is 65 years of age or older must show his or her Medicare card to an HR Associate in order to be enrolled. When a retiree reaches 65 years of age after retirement, one should show his or her Medicare card to an HR Associate or send a copy for our records.
Cost for retiree and spouse coverage varies depending on certain factors. Retiree must submit premium for the total cost of coverage for each dependent child. Retiree may submit monthly premium checks to TC by the first of each month, or a check for multiple months at a time.
Spouse and Dependent Coverage Upon the Death of the Retiree eligible for Retiree Medical Plan1
If your surviving spouse was covered at the time of your retirement but not covered by the Retiree Medical Plan at the time of your death, s/he will assume the retiree "self" contribution rate (depending on the age of the surviving spouse), and will be able to enroll once reaching Medicare-eligible age. If your surviving spouse had reached Medicare-eligible age prior to your death, s/he will not be able to enroll into the plan. Once enrolled, s/he will remain covered as long as s/he continues to pay the premium in a timely manner (if applicable).
If your surviving spouse was covered by the Retiree Medical plan at the time of your death, s/he will assume the retiree “self” contribution rate (depending on the age of the surviving spouse). Once enrolled, s/he will remain covered as long as s/he continues to pay the premium in a timely manner (if applicable).
If your eligible dependent children on record at the College were not covered by the Retiree Medical plan at the time of your death, they can enroll with your surviving spouse once the spouse reaches Medicare-eligible age.
If your eligible dependent children were covered by the Retiree Medical plan at the time of your death, they can remain covered for as long the plan terms provide for dependent children, as long as your surviving spouse continues to pay the premium in a timely manner.
Any surviving spouse not covered and dependent children not on record at the time of your retirement will not be eligible for this plan.
These provisions only apply if the rules for coverage in place when you retired allow for spouse or dependent coverage. If your category of retiree medical coverage does not permit spouse or dependent coverage, your dependents would not be eligible for surviving spouse and dependent coverage under this section.
1- If the eligible retiree had not elected to participate in the retiree medical plan upon retirement, and passes away prior to enrolling into the plan, surviving spouse and eligible dependents will be eligible based on requirements listed.
Spouse and Dependent Coverage Upon the Death of Active Employee Prior to Retirement
o your spouse who is covered on the active plan will be considered for the Retiree Medical plan under the terms as if you had retired. There will be two entry points: 1) within 30 days of your death and 2) upon your surviving spouse’s becoming Medicare-eligible.
o your eligible dependent children on record at the College at the time of your death may enroll with your surviving spouse when s/he enrolls at one of the two entry points above.
BENEFITS THAT TERMINATE AT RETIREMENT
When a person retires from Teachers College, under provisions of a federal law known as “COBRA”, the person may remain in the Teachers College group dental plan (either Columbia Dental or MetLife), vision plan (EyeMed) and/or Health Care Flexible Spending Account for up to 18 months after the termination/retirement date. The individual is responsible for paying the total cost of coverage. Coverage may be cancelled any time during the 18 months, but once cancelled cannot be renewed. If you choose not to remain in the Health Care Flexible Spending Account through COBRA, you will not be able to use the funds that you contributed toward that account beyond your retirement date.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, Long Term Disability and Commuter (Public Transportation and Parking) benefits will be terminated upon the retirement date.
Duration of COBRA
When the qualifying event is the covered employee’s termination of employment or reduction in hours of employment, qualified beneficiaries are entitled to a maximum of 18 months of continuation coverage.
When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of the employee’s hours, and the employee became entitled to Medicare less than 18 months before the qualifying event, COBRA coverage for the employee’s spouse and dependents can last until 36 months after the date the employee becomes entitled to Medicare. For example, if a covered employee becomes entitled to Medicare 8 months before the date his/her employment ends (termination of employment is the COBRA qualifying event), COBRA coverage for his/her spouse and children would last 28 months (36 months minus 8 months).
Note on Medicare enrollment & COBRA
Termination of COBRA coverage does not count as the loss of group health insurance for SEP purpose, and you must wait until the next GEP to enroll for the following year.
If you qualify for Medicare based on age or disability, whether you can have both COBRA and Medicare depends on which you have first.
• If you already have COBRA when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA coverage usually ends on the date you enroll in Medicare. If you have COBRA and become Medicare-eligible, you should enroll in Part B immediately because you are not entitled to a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when COBRA ends. Your spouse and dependents may keep COBRA for up to 36 months, regardless of whether you enroll in Medicare during that time.
Note: You may also be able to keep COBRA coverage once you get Medicare for services that Medicare does not cover. For example, if you have COBRA dental insurance, you may be allowed to drop your medical coverage but keep paying a premium for the dental coverage for as long as you are entitled to COBRA.
• If you already have Medicare when you become eligible for COBRA, you must be allowed to enroll in COBRA. Unless you qualify for Medicare because you have ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease), Medicare acts as the primary payer and COBRA as the secondary payer, so you should stay enrolled in Medicare Part B. You may wish to take COBRA if you have very high medical expenses.
LIFE INSURANCE OPTIONS AT RETIREMENT
Employees are automatically enrolled in a Basic Group Life Insurance plan paid for by Teachers College. Employees may also have Supplemental and/or Dependent Life Insurance coverage paid for through payroll deductions. All of these insurance programs are term insurance plans, which means there is no cash reserve or surrender value in the policies. The coverage stops at the end of the month of the retirement date. During the 31-day period following termination of coverage, a person may normally “port” the Basic, Supplemental and/or Dependent group term life insurance to an individual term policy with pooled term rates.
The portable coverage amount is limited to a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of the less of (1) the amount in effect on the date your employment terminates; or (2) $300,000 (including Basic and Supplemental life coverage). The portable coverage amount for Dependents Life Insurance is limited to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of the lesser of (1) the amount in effect on the date your employment terminates; or (2) $5,000. For a personalized portability kit, which includes rates and additional information, please call the Standard portability customer service number at 1-800-378-2409 x6785. Someone who is retiring due to illness or injury, or who prefers “whole-life” insurance, has the opportunity to “convert” the Basic and/or Supplemental Life Insurance to an individual “whole-life” insurance policy. “Whole-life” insurance is more expensive, especially at retirement age. For more information, call The Standard at 1-800-378-2409 x6785.
DEPENDENT TUITION BENEFITS AT RETIREMENT
Dependent tuition benefits will be provided to members of the full-time professional, instructional staff and professorial staff who were in continuous service at the College for a period of 15 or more years immediately preceding their retirement. Children of record at the time of the employee’s retirement may use this benefit, provided they meet the other conditions of the tuition policy.
Hired prior to 1/18/79:
1. Full tuition at Columbia-affiliated schools
2. Must meet admission requirements and be formally admitted to TC or Columbia University-affiliated schools
3. Maximum of 35% of Columbia University’s tuition at non-Columbia undergraduate schools
4. Must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited four-year College or in a non-terminal program of a junior college
5. 8 semesters only (exceptions given based on proof of longer program)
1. Full tuition at TC or Columbia University-affiliated schools
2. Must meet admission requirements and be formally admitted to TC or Columbia University-affiliated schools
Hired on or after 1/18/79:
1. Maximum of 35% of Columbia University’s tuition.
2. Must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited four-year college or in a non-terminal program of a junior college
3. 8 semesters only (exceptions given based on proof of longer program).
1. Full tuition at TC; must be matriculated in a degree program at Teachers College.