Retiree Health Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to take my retiree health benefits when I leave the University?
Yes!! You need to retire if you can and claim the benefits within 120 of separating from the University. If you wish to defer benefits after that because you have health benefits from some other source you can.
What will my retiree health benefits cost?
The cost will be from a $100 per month to $1000’s per month, and that will likely increase. Figuring out exactly what your retiree health benefits will cost can be very challenging because there are many different factors the affect the cost. Here are some of the main ones and the impact they may have on you:
How many years did you work at UC? If you have 20 years of service credit UC plans to pay 70% of the premium. Premiums range from $700 to $1500 and they increase each year. If you have 10 years of service UC will only pay 35% of the premium. There is a sliding scale from 10 years up to 20 years.
When were you hired? If you were hired after 12/20/2013 you only get the 70% employer contribution if you retire at age 65. You get nothing until you are 55 and there is sliding scale from 55 to 65. If you were hired before 12/20/2013, you need only be over 50 to get the employer contribution dependent on your years of service.
Are you over or your dependents over 65, that is medicare eligible? Your premiums will drop from $100’s to $10’s
Do you take regular medication? The co-pays are currently $20 for most medications on most plans but not all. Some make you pay a percentage of the cost up $1500 per year.
Do have regular medical visits? Like medications, co-pays are usually but not always $20 and they may increase
Does the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, impact our health care?
Not directly. ACA has provided millions of uninsured with health insurance. That means we will not be paying the bills of the uninsured as much. Also UC as a medical provider will not be engaging in as much uncompensated care. So in the medium run, the ACA will probably bring down our costs, but there is no direct impact on our plans.
Why should I care if I will probably not stay long at UC?
UPTE-CWA has set a goal to bargain retiree health benefits for everyone. Even if you leave the University, you could get benefits later or receive your contributions back with interest. Also, if we cannot preserve quality retiree health benefits at UC, it is unlikely that you will get them at any other job in California in the future.
What does bargaining for a retiree health benefit trust fund mean?
Currently UC has no fund to pay retiree health benefits and covers the cost out of today’s operating income. This is like not having a fund for a pension plan and expecting to pay for it after you retire. Not surprisingly this lack of pre-funding means that UC wants to eliminate these benefits for nearly everyone under 65. However, if there is pre-funding and the savings are institutionally invested, the returns can often outpace the member contributions and provide a significant resource to offset health benefits when we retire.
Do you have additional questions that you would like answered? Please email them to UPTE’s President, Jamie McDole, and we will post the answer here.