If your school district is not listed in the chart as participating in the Retired Municipal Teachers’ Program, your health care coverage after retirement will be administered by your local employer. The health insurance options available to you under this plan will vary according to the insurance plans negotiated within your local community. In most cases, your local community will give you the option of an indemnity plan or a choice of an HMO.
An important notice for charter school employees and inactive members: Be aware that school districts have different rules for providing insurance coverage to active members and retired members, and your district may or may not provide you with insurance benefits in retirement. Accordingly, if you are either an employee of a charter school, or you are not employed by a school district, as soon as you start thinking about retiring, investigate your eligibility for retiree health coverage, as your district's rules may affect your retirement decisions.
Since your health care will be administered by the same community from which you are retiring, there should be no reason for you to experience a lapse in coverage. Approximately three months prior to your date of retirement, you should inform your local benefits coordinator of your intention to retire. At that point, he or she will provide you with the necessary paperwork to enroll for coverage as a retired teacher. At that point, you will determine the type of coverage that will best meet your needs. If you are married, you should consider the need to cover your spouse or dependent children, if any.
If you choose to forego any coverage at the time of your retirement, you should ask your insurance coordinator whether you will be able to enroll for coverage at some later date. You should also ask:
- What will my insurance premiums be when I retire? Some towns pay a different portion for active members than they do for retirees.
- What happens to my coverage at age 65 if I am eligible for Medicare? If I am not eligible for Medicare?
Costs and method of payment
Since the administration of local health care coverage is negotiated on the local level, costs will vary from town to town. The percentage of the premium that you pay as a retiree may remain the same or even go down. However, we would suggest that you contact your benefits coordinator in order to find out what your costs will be when you retire.
The MTRS will be able to deduct your monthly premium from your retirement allowance. In turn, we forward your premium to your local community on your behalf. If, however, you wish to make the payments yourself, you will be responsible for making arrangements with your local coordinator to ensure that you meet your town’s monthly payment dates. By having the MTRB deduct your insurance payment, your insurance will be automatically paid on a monthly basis.
Local plan coverage of a retired teacher’s spouse after the retiree’s death
Note: When thinking about coverage, you should always consider the needs of your spouse and/or dependent children in the event that you should predecease them.
When it is time to enroll for coverage with your local community, you should ask your benefits coordinator several questions about the coverage of your spouse. Specifically, you should determine your local community’s policy regarding the coverage of your spouse in the event that you predecease him or her. Questions you should ask your local benefits coordinator include:
- Can I enroll my spouse at the time that I enroll myself?
- If I do not enroll my spouse now, can I enroll him or her at some point in the future?
- Does my retirement option (A, B or C) have any bearing on the eligibility of my spouse to enroll in health care insurance?
- If I predecease my spouse and he or she is covered at the time of my death, can he or she continue coverage as a survivor?
- If I predecease my spouse and he or she is not enrolled at the time of my death, can he or she enroll as a survivor?
- How much will it cost my spouse for health care coverage?
Since the local communities have jurisdiction over all of the questions listed above, we suggest that you contact your local coordinator prior to your retirement to ask these very important questions. About a year from your effective date of retirement, you should once again ask for clarification of the eligibility of your spouse to participate in your insurance program. Since your health care coverage is negotiated within your own town, coverage and eligibility may change by the time you retire.
When coverage begins
Your health coverage as a retired teacher will generally begin when your coverage as an active teacher ends. It is important to give your local benefits coordinator several months’ advance notice of your retirement so that you do not have a lapse in coverage. We suggest that you notify your benefits coordinator at least three months prior to your effective date of retirement so that you have sufficient time to gather information on your health care options.
For more information
You should contact your local payroll or benefits department coordinator or your Town Treasurer’s office. Also, be sure to review our information on Medicare.