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Health Benefits


Those who are at least age 55 when they retire can continue in the University's group for health and dental insurance. If a retiree's spouse or domestic partner is on the policy at the time of retirement, then he/she can continue the coverage after the faculty or staff member's retirement.

The University makes a contribution to the health insurance premium for retired faculty, P&S and non-organized Merit staff members who were at least 62 at the time of retirement and had at least 10 years of service. No contribution is made for spouse or domestic partner coverage. When retired staff become 65, their primary source of health insurance is Medicare (see below). They can, however, stay on the University's health plan after reaching 65. This plan is called a Medicare carveout, and provides additional coverage for some hospital, medical and surgical services that are only partially covered by Medicare. The benefits provided in this plan are payable regardless of Medicare's coverage. The only difference is that Medicare pays first and then the carveout coverage will settle the remainder of eligible expenses. The University plans also provide prescription drug coverage.

The spouse/domestic partner of a retired faculty, P&S, or non-organized Merit staff member can stay in the group plan after the retiree's death. The spouse of an organized Merit staff member can continue coverage under COBRA for 36 months.  P&S, faculty, and non-organized Merit retirees currently have two healthcare plans and organized Merit retirees have five plans from which to choose. P&S, faculty, and non-organized Merit retirees also have two dental plans from which to select. Organized Merit retirees have the option of choosing a dental plan, however this may only be done during an annual open enrollment period prior to retirement. Retirees usually receive information in October or November, which provides details on the cost and coverage for the various plans. This information is sent prior to the annual enrollment period during which changes in coverage may be elected for the following calendar year. If a retiree does not receive the information, a copy may be obtained from University Benefits at 319-335-2676. Other sources of information regarding healthcare coverage are Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Faculty/P&S Staff: 1-800-643-9724 or Merit Staff: 1-800-622-0043) and Delta Dental (1-800-544-0718).

Web site:


Medicare is a federal health program for individuals who qualify by age and for some people with disabilities. The program has basically two parts: Part A, Hospital Insurance and Part B, Medical Insurance. Retirees do not pay a fee for Part A since it is supported by taxes that were paid while working. Monthly charges, deducted from Social Security checks, are assessed for Part B. Enrollment is required for both parts and must be completed by age 65 or date of retirement, whichever is later, unless in the case of Part B, the retiree's spouse is still employed and the retiree is being covered by the spouse's health insurance. In that case, Part B enrollment must take place within nine months of the spouse's retirement. However, if the retiree will be returning to a UI or State of Iowa plan, they must enroll within 30 days of the event in order to be eligible for coverage. Failure to do so may result in addition of an extra Medicare premium.

The Medicare Part D that has been widely discussed should not be chosen if you are covered under the University of Iowa health plan. If the UI plan is dropped, you will not be permitted to return to the UI coverage at a later date. The UI plans are considered to be equivalent to Part D coverage and you will avoid penalty charges if you do enroll in Part D at a later date.  Individuals age 65 or older will receive an annual Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage Notice from the University Benefits Office.  Retirees on State of Iowa plans be sent this notice by the insurance company.  This should be retained as documentation or prescription coverage if you should choose to leave the University plans and go to other coverage.

More information on how the University plans interact with Medicare can be found at

For further information on Medicare, contact the local Social Security Office. The phone number of the local office is 866-964-0172. Information can also be found at their web site:


Last Updated: 11/23/2010
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