Many faculty who are considering retirement find that the whole process can be quite daunting.
Here is some general guidance that should be useful:
If you are an active employee of any age or a retiree under 65, CalPERS’ many plans, with a very few exceptions, are yours to choose from.
Once you retire and are 65, you will still have great options but not as many as you had before. The four options that are utilized the most and that come with the least restrictions are:
CalPers Care: PPO 90:10 Medicare Supplemental
Medicare becomes your primary insurance and Anthem Blue Cross is secondary. (This PPO is recommended for retirees.)
CalPers Choice: PP0 80:20 Medicare Supplemental
Medicare becomes your Primary Insurance and Anthem Blue Cross is secondary. (This is what most active employees have.)
Kaiser HMO Medicare Advantage Plan
Kaiser remains your primary insurance -- they recover costs from Medicare for you. (This is the HMO recommended for retirees.)
United HealthCare PPO Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare becomes your primary insurance and United Healthcare is secondary. (This one is not recommended because of its limited provider network.)
Medicare Part A (major medical) is automatic when you turn 65 if you are already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board. Otherwise, you should be signing up at least three (3) months before your 65th birthday during your Initial Enrollment Period unless you have other union or employer-sponsored coverage due to you or your spouse's current employment. Part C is an alternative to electing Parts A and B for Medicare-eligible individuals but is not a common selection made by LACCD retirees. Additionally, you will not need to sign up for part D since you will have “creditable drug coverage” included in the medical plans you get as a retiree from the LACCD.
You do not need to buy Dental or Vison coverage as an addition to Medicare or as an addition to your medical plan thru CalPERS. The LACCD provides that coverage and it is independent of your medical plan or Medicare choices. These are the plans:
- Safeguard or Delta for Dental
- VSP for vision
Until this current collective bargaining agreement, your Medicare Part B premiums were paid by you, the employee. Going forward those premiums will be covered by the LACCD, but because of IRS and California Government Code regulations, the process is required to be a reimbursement and not a direct payment. This means that you will still be required to pay the premiums out of pocket for Part B, but you will be able to submit requests for 100 percent reimbursement of those premiums. Since this is so new, the Guild and the District are still in the process of setting up the process, but we anticipate that it will work similarly to the way HRA reimbursements have been handled. We are shooting for it to be operational by April 2021. The contract became effective July 1, 2020, so the first period of coverage was from July 1 to Dec 31st, 2020. After that it will be for each calendar year.
One more note: There is no such thing as just rolling over your current coverage. You will need to process paperwork on two or three tracks:
1. Retiring from the LACCD and applying for your retiree benefits
2. Retiring from CalSTRS and,
3. Enrolling in Medicare if you have not done so yet.
These are separate actions.
Start by sending a request to Health Benefits at HealthBenefits@email.laccd.edu. You will be contacted by email with the directions and paperwork to get the process moving. Make sure you provide them with your private email, too, since it works faster.
If you need any assistance with understanding your options on medical coverage, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but remember that I am not an advisor and am making no official recommendations. However, as the chair of the Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee, I do have a fair understanding of our benefits and I should be able to help or at least point you in the right direction to ask the right people.
If you need assistance figuring out what your pension will be and any other CalSTRS concerns, contact Sharon Hendricks, Guild VP and Retirement Liaison at email@example.com.