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Insurance at Retirement

HEALTH INSURANCE

In order to be eligible to continue health insurance coverage into retirement, you must have health insurance at the time you retire. If you have single coverage at the time of retirement, you are only eligible to continue single coverage into retirement.

Retirees do have a “Retiree Option Change Period” every fall. Any changes made during that period will become effective on the following January 1st. 

Retirees may change to single coverage or discontinue coverage at any time during the year. However, to change your coverage status from single to family, a “qualifying event” would have to occur.

Note: If you discontinue your health insurance as a retiree, please be advised you will not be allowed to re-enroll in health coverage through the State Health Benefit Plan.

If your retirement benefit will come from TRS, State Health will send a letter to your home address advising you of a transfer of coverage. They will also include a health insurance benefit form for you to complete in order to take your insurance into retirement.

If you are retiring under the Local Plan, your health insurance enrollment information will be provided directly from the Retiree Benefits Specialist.  

All retiree health premiums change when age 65 is reached. State Health provides a completely different rate sheet for retirees’ single and family coverage for those age 65 and older. The rates will also differ based on Medicare eligibility.

Additional information is available on the Department of Community Health website, www.dch.georgia.gov

On-time enrollment in Medicare is important to the reduction of your State Health rates. The month you turn 65, your premium is automatically adjusted according to whether you have enrolled in Medicare Part B.

MEDICARE

All retirees should enroll in Medicare Part B three months prior to turning age 65. This will insure that you receive the lowest health care premium. If you turn 65 and have not enrolled in Medicare Part B, you will be responsible for the full cost of your medical plan. If you are already 65 at the time of retirement, please make sure that you apply for Medicare Part B prior to your retirement date and make certain that the effective date of your Medicare coverage coincides with your retirement date.

To enroll in the Medicare plan, please contact your local Social Security office. Additional information on obtaining Medicare can be found on the Medicare website, www.medicare.gov

VISION

Vision insurance is currently offered to retirees through Davis Vision at the time of retirement. If you decline the coverage, you may not be eligible to enroll again. Periods of new enrollment for this benefit are not offered annually.

Please refer to the brochure located in your Retiree Benefit Packet for additional information regarding the benefits offered by Davis for vision insurance.

Note: The vision insurance plan offered to retired employees is the same as that offered to active employees. There is no difference.

DENTAL

Dental insurance is currently offered to retirees through Ameritas Group Insurance at the time of retirement. If you decline the coverage, you may not be eligible to enroll again. Periods of new enrollment for this benefit are not offered annually. Please note that there is a mandatory 12 month elimination period on Type III procedures for all new retirees. These procedures include: Periodontal scaling and root planning; Endodontics (Root Canals); Pontics (false tooth); Crown (full cast noble metal); Crown Repair; Maxillary Partial Denture (resin base).

Note: The dental insurance plan and rates offered to “retirees” is not the same plan offered to “active” employees. You will be given information on the benefit at the time of retirement.

LIFE INSURANCE

New retirees are eligible to continue $20,000 of Group Term Life Insurance. Your rates will vary depending on your age at the time of retirement. Applicable rate changes are effective July 1 of every year. You will be provided with updated rate information at the time of your retirement.

If you have additional life insurance that was deducted from your paycheck as an active employee, you must make arrangements with that company to pay the premium directly. (i.e. Group Term Life with UNUM or Whole Life with Colonial) These payroll deductions will not be transferred into retirement.

COBRA

The COBRA provision allows any employee, upon termination, to continue health insurance coverage for a pre-defined period of time. Eligibility for COBRA coverage varies according to an employee’s years of service and the situation.

  • Less than 8 years of service, COBRA can be continued for up to 18 months by paying the full cost of the coverage.
  • With at least 8 years of service but less than 10, required State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) documentation must be provided within 60 days of coverage ending. Full cost of the coverage must be paid and a statement from the employer must be provided indicating the years of service.
  • 10 or more years of service, COBRA can continue until your pension begins provided documentation is submitted within 60 days of coverage ending and full cost of the coverage is paid.

COBRA must be paid in its entirety from the time of retirement through the time the pension payment begins. There cannot be a lapse in coverage. If payments are not made and kept up to date, the retiree will not be eligible for health coverage when pension begins. The rates in effect at the time your pension begins will apply when your pension begins.

Qualifying Events

  • Marriage
  • Birth, adoption or legal guardianship
  • Divorce
  • You or your spouse lose coverage through other employent
  • You, your spouse or dependent move to an area outside of the state-approved service area for he HMO in which you are enrolled