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Retiree FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions related to retiree benefits offered to eligible employees through the University of Rochester’s Total Rewards package. Visit the Retiree Benefits page for more information.

General questions

Am I eligible to retire?

The University has established criteria in determining retirement eligibility. We use several key factors to determine eligibility and appropriate retirement grandparent level:

  • Your hire date and employment status
  • Years of cumulative service
  • Your age at the time you plan on retiring

There are additional factors that are detailed in our Retiree Eligibility page. We encourage employees to read through the information and contact Retiree Benefits.

How do I apply for a service credit?

You will need to complete a Retiree Service Credit form and submit it to the Office of Total Rewards for review. 4Rs (those hired before 1/1/96) should complete the 4R Retiree Service Credit Form, and 5Rs (those hired 1/1/96 and after) should complete the 5R Retiree Service Credit Form.

Does the University of Rochester provide retiree health benefits?

Yes, we do. A comprehensive list of retiree health benefits is located here.

How do I enroll in retiree health care benefits?

You will need to complete a Retiree Qualifying Event/Change Form. This form should only be completed once you have met with a Retiree HR Representative and have selected your retirement date.

If you’re Medicare Eligible, you will need to contact Via Benefits at (833) 945-1110 or in order to enroll in health coverage.

How much does a retiree health plan cost?

Your cost for retiree health plan benefits are determined by the health plan that you are enrolled in and your subsidy from the University.

Non-Medicare eligible retiree health plan costs are located here.

For Medicare eligible retirees, your rate will depend on the plan you select with Via Benefits. Subsidy amounts through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement are listed here.

How do I pay for my retiree health care plan?

For Non-Medicare eligible retirees, you will be billed quarterly by Administrative Services for your retiree health insurance. Covered spouses and domestic partners will be included on billing statements. The billing statement will include amount due, where to send payment and date payment is due by. Example: Health and/or dental coverage for January, February and March will be billed in February.

For Medicare eligible retirees, you will be billed by the insurance carrier in which you select a health plan with.

For retiree dental coverage, you will be billed quarterly by Lifetime Benefit Solutions. For more information on the retiree dental billing process, please visit the Retiree Dental page.

When will my retiree health insurance begin?

If you are Medicare eligible, you will want to enroll in a Medicare eligible plan that will be effective the first of the month following your retirement date. Example: You retire January 20th and enroll in a plan prior to January 31st, your coverage will start February 1st.

What needs to be done once I or my spouse turns age 65?

Three months before turning age 65 you and/or your spouse should begin the process to apply for Medicare. If you are both currently working and are not covered by a UR Retiree Health Care Plan, you may not need to apply for Medicare. Please contact the Office of Total Rewards to speak with Retiree HR Representative to review your situation.

What do Medicare Parts A, B & D cover?

Generally, Medicare Part A covers hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice, home health services.

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary and preventative services such as clinical research, ambulance services durable medical equipment (DME), and inpatient/outpatient mental health.

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. There are two ways to get prescription drug coverage – enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that has Part D coverage or purchase drug coverage through Medicare Private Fee-for-Service plans and Medical Savings Account plans.

How do I sign up for Medicare Part A and B?

There are several ways to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. Apply online at Social Security, visit your local Social Security office or call Social Security at (800) 772-1213.

What happens if I return to work Part-Time or Time-As-Reported after I retire?

You may be eligible for active employee health benefits and will become ineligible for retiree health benefits.

If you are planning to retire and return to work TAR, contact the Office of Total Rewards at (585) 275-2084 as this will potentially change your benefit eligibility.

If you are planning to reduce your work schedule to Part-Time, employees can now retire at a part-time status and receive the full-time contribution if they cumulatively meet the full-time equivalent service requirement. While working Part-Time, you will receive active Part-Time benefits.

Who do I contact if I lost my Medicare card?

Please contact the insurance provider in which your plan is through.

For retiree dental cards, please contact Excellus at (800) 659-2808.

Who do I contact if I lost my health insurance card?

Please contact the appropriate TPA/insurer:

Who do I provide a Power of Attorney notice to?

Power of Attorney (POA) documents should be emailed to or faxed to (585) 273-1054 in confidence to the Post Retirement Administrator.

Where can I get direct assistance or guidance with my Medicare and/or Health Insurance?

HIICAP provides free, accurate and objective information, counseling and assistance on Medicare and other related health insurance information or coverage plans. You can contact a local HIICAP counselor at (800) 701-0501 or visit their local offices webpage.

What happens if I don’t elect retiree health care when I retire?

If you choose to enroll in a plan outside of the University coverage, current policy allows for you to change to University of Rochester Retiree coverage if you experience a qualifying event or during the University Open Enrollment period (typically occurring in the Fall).

Via Benefits

What is Via Benefits?

Via Benefits is a private health insurance marketplace that allows retirees to choose from a wide variety of plan options and carriers and to purchase the plans that make sense for them. Via Benefits also administers the HRA, so their representatives can help retirees with both their plan and their funding.

What is a Health Insurance Marketplace?

Health insurance marketplaces are “stores” where individuals can shop for a health insurance plan through a concierge service, either online or over the phone, and enroll in a plan that fits their needs and budget. The individual marketplace and private health marketplaces offer more choices for affordable, quality health care than ever before.

Via Benefits is a “private” marketplace. Marketplaces that are private are run by private businesses, while “public” exchanges are run by state and federal governments.

Is Via Benefits a for-profit company? How does Via Benefits make its money?

Yes, Via Benefits is a for-profit company. The company (not the Benefit Advisor) receives commissions from the insurance companies. The premium for your coverage through Via Benefits is the same as it would be if you purchased the coverage directly from the insurance company – there is no mark-up in the premium for coverage through Via Benefits. But, you will only receive the HRA if you enroll in medical coverage through Via Benefits.

Who licenses the Via Benefits Benefit Advisors?

Licenses are issued by each state and they have to pass a test for each insurance company in that state. A Benefit Advisor can be licensed in many states; in fact, most are licensed in several states. The Benefit Advisor you work with will be licensed in the state in which you reside.

Since I will provide my medical conditions and prescription drug information to the Benefit Advisor how do I know that he or she will keep my information confidential?

The Benefit Advisor is required to follow the HIPAA and insurance company’s regulations and they will not disclose the information you share.

Are there Benefit Advisors designated just for the University of Rochester?

The advisors are not dedicated only to the University of Rochester, but they are generally in a “pod” having received University of Rochester training. Many Via Benefits Advisors have experience with higher Ed retirees.

Do you talk to a different Benefit Advisor every time you call?

When you call, if the Benefit Advisor you last spoke to is available, the Via Benefits phone system will automatically route you to that same advisor. If you would like to speak to the same Benefit Advisor every time, you can request that person. They may not be available when you call, so you can ask for that person to call you back.

Do the Benefit Advisors work on commission?


Do I have to fill out applications to enroll?

No, you will not complete paper applications. You will answer questions on the phone for the enrollment specialist to complete the application(s) for you. Please note that you may answer the same question multiple times.

How do I update information i.e. add new doctors or change medications?

You can contact Via Benefits directly at (888) 586-0693 or log in to your online Via Benefits account to add the updated information.

Can I change plans in the middle of the year?

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan you can make changes for your next calendar year’s coverage during the enrollment process held October 15 through December 7 each year. If you are enrolled in a Medigap plan, you can make changes during the year. Speak to a Benefit Advisor for more details.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)

How does the HRA work?

The HRA is a reimbursement arrangement, which means you will first pay the premium and out of pocket expenses; you can then be reimbursed for eligible expenses, up to the amount in your HRA.

  • UR funds the HRA each January 1
  • The insurance company you choose will bill you the full premium for your coverage and you pay that full premium directly to the insurance company.
  • You can be automatically reimbursed from the HRA for the premium amount. The quickest way to be reimbursed is to set up direct deposit so Via Benefits can send the premium reimbursement to your bank account automatically. If you prefer, they can send you a check. The Benefit Advisor will explain more about the automatic reimbursement process.
What expenses are eligible to be reimbursed by the HRA?

Retirees and eligible spouses will be able to use their HRA funds to be reimbursed for medical and prescription drug premiums.  If a retiree is also enrolled in the University Dental plan, those premiums may be eligible as well.  Effective January 1, 2023, the University of Rochester HRA may be used to reimburse qualified out-of-pocket health care expenses. Please contact Via Benefits for more information.

Does the retiree and eligible spouse share an HRA?

Yes. The HRA is a joint account for the retiree and eligible spouse.

What happens to the retiree’s coverage and HRA if the spouse dies?

The retiree continues to be eligible for coverage through Via Benefits; the spouse’s coverage will be cancelled as of the date of death. In addition, the Retiree HRA credit will continue each year; there will be no future HRA allotment for the spouse amount.

Can I contribute to the HRA or can I roll over money from my HSA or IRA?

No, this is not allowed under law.  You can still use your HSA for medical expense and is a separate account, but cannot move that money into your HRA.

Is there a maximum amount that can be carried over year to year?

No, you can carry over any amount from year to year. There is no maximum or minimum.

Who do we pay the premiums to?

You will pay the premium directly to the insurance company. You can then be reimbursed from your available funds in the HRA.

What if my medical expenses are higher than the HRA amount?

You will be reimbursed for eligible expenses up to the value of your HRA. If your expenses are higher, you will not be reimbursed.

Can I have my reimbursements sent directly to my bank account?

Yes, you are able to set up direct deposit.

Do we submit premium claims for reimbursement at one time on an annual basis or do we submit as they come up?

You submit premium claims for reimbursement as they come up.

Is there a deadline to submit manual claims for reimbursement?

Depending on the situation, there may be.  Please contact Via Benefits for detailed instructions.

What is my HRA going to be?

Review the subsidy charts on our HRA webpage to determine your amount.

I will be working in a time as reported position (TAR) after retirement. Will I be eligible for the HRA subsidy?

The HRA is a retiree only plan, governed by the IRS. This means you cannot be employed in any capacity with the University and receive funding. Once your TAR assignment ends, access to the HRA restarts and you will receive a prorated HRA contribution. Please note, this does not affect your enrollment in your chosen health insurance plan.

I will be working a time as reported position (TAR) after retirement. I understand that I cannot access the HRA for expenses incurred while I am employed by UR. Can my spouse have access to the HRA while I am employed by UR?

No, neither of you will be able to access the HRA for premiums that occur during the time you are working.

I know I cannot access the HRA if I work for UR. Can I access the HRA if I work for a different employer?


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