The University of Arizona logo

Planning the Transition

What do I need to do?

UA Information

Article

  • Tips for People Who Will Retire in 2016 By Emily Brandon, U.S. News & World Report
    Here are some of the final preparations you should take care of in the months leading up to retirement. Though written in 2016, the information is applicable for anyone within 12 months of retirement.

I am a tenured faculty member. What special considerations do I need to think about in the transition to retirement?

  • Curriculum decisions can made a year or more in advance. If your department head will have to arrange new instructors for specialized courses you teach, it is recommended that you give ample notice. Ideally, you would consult with your department head on transition planning.
  • Faculty who are leaving the UA generally provide copies of lecture notes or similar materials to guide future instructors in designing an equivalent course.
  • If you a tenured professor on medical or general leave of absence, or on sabbatical, please keep your department head apprised if you decide to retire rather than return to UA employment.   

    What are my Medicare options?

    All the talk about different Medicare parts and the hype about Medicare advantage plans can be confusing. In short, there are four parts to Medicare:

    • Part A covers hospitalization only. There is no cost to the insured individual. You should enroll in Part A at age 65, even if you're still working. Please contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213, or visit www.ssa.gov, prior to your 65th birthday for more information.
    • Part B is sometimes referred to as “Original Medicare.” It covers medically necessary outpatient services, such as doctor’s visits, home health services, and medical supplies, at 80%. Part B also covers some preventive services. There is a monthly premium for Part B.
    • Part C is commonly known as a “Medicare Advantage plan.” Part C allows Medicare-approved insurance companies to offer Medicare Parts A and B services through an HMO, PPO, or similar arrangement. Some plans may offer extra coverage such as basic vision, dental, hearing and/or health and wellness programs. Most plans also include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
    • Part D is the prescription drug coverage component of Medicare, which also carries a premium. Plans vary in premium cost and drugs covered. Joining a Part D plan is voluntary, and you pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage.
    • Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, is optional insurance to help pay costs not covered under Medicare Parts A and B. It is generally not compatible with Part C, and you may have to enroll within the initial 6 months to get guaranteed-issue coverage.

    Websites

    I’m planning to keep working past 65. Do I have to enroll in Medicare while I’m still working?

    Medicare Part A, the hospital coverage, is premium-free, and UA employees should enroll when they turn 65. If you are not yet retired, you can apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration website or visit the Tucson Social Security Office at 3808 N. First Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719; Phone: (800) 772-1213.

    As long as you remain benefits eligible, you are able to continue your UA-provided health insurance (through the Arizona Department of Administration or the UA Alternative Plan for Domestic Partners) rather than enrolling in Medicare Parts B and D. Be aware that enrolling in both Medicare and ADOA/UA health insurance costs you two premiums and provides duplicate coverage.

    How does Medicare work in combination with my UA-provided (or other private) insurance?

    As long as you are a UA employee covered under the ADOA or UA Alternative health plan, you are not required to enroll in Medicare Part B. Nor would it be cost-effective to do so, as you would be largely duplicating coverage. 

    Once you are retired, if you enroll in Medicare Part B, your retiree medical plan will function as a secondary plan. Medicare is billed first, and the retiree plan would cover only what Medicare does not cover. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), then you may want to consider discontinuing your retiree plan, as Part C provides comprehensive coverage.

    For more information contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or the Pima Council on Aging at (520) 546-2011.

    So what are my retiree health insurance options?

    Whether you are enrolled in the UA Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS), you are eligible to enroll in health insurance through either ASRS or ADOA.

    Important: To continue your ADOA health insurance, you must enroll in ADOA coverage within 30 days of your retirement date. If you decline or cancel your coverage, you will not be able to re-enroll with ADOA in the future. If you choose to keep either medical or dental coverage through ADOA, you may elect either or both during future Open Enrollment periods. However, you may decline retiree coverage through ASRS initially, but elect coverage during future Open Enrollment periods.

    I really like my UA health insurance. Can I just keep it when I retire?

    Yes, you can keep your health insurance with the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA) as a retiree. However, you will be responsible for paying the full cost of ADOA insurance premiums with no UA employer contribution. You also have the option of enrolling in retiree health insurance through the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS), whether or not you have ASRS retirement. Premiums will vary depending on whether you are Medicare-eligible or not.

    We encourage UA retirees who are Medicare eligible to carefully evaluate all their health-care choices, including both UA retiree options and various Medicare plans to find the best and most cost-effective coverage for their needs.

    Websites

    • ADOA Retired State Employees Benefit Guide: The plans offered through ADOA function as secondary coverage to Medicare.
    • ASRS Health Care: ASRS offers a Medicare supplement plan. 
    • UA employees who are applying for their ASRS pension and have at least five years of service are eligible to receive a premium subsidy from ASRS that helps offset the cost of retiree health insurance premiums offered by ASRS and ADOA.

    Video

    Do I have the option to keep my life insurance when I retire?

    Yes, retiring employees may continue (convert or port) their basic, supplemental, and dependent life insurance policies. For more information, please contact The Hartford and Aetna. If you continue your life insurance within 30 days of your retirement date, you do not have to worry about medical underwriting.

    Websites

      What is RASL, and do I qualify?

      RASL, Retiree Accumulated Sick Leave, is a benefit offered to state employees who have amassed 500 or more hours of unused sick leave. You can receive a payout for part of the value of that time upon retirement. Note: You must apply for a distribution from the ORP or a pension from ASRS no later than 31 calendar days after your termination of employment. You also must submit the RASL application to the UA Financial Services Office no later than 31 days after your last day of work. If these deadlines are missed, you will forfeit the RASL benefit.

      Click here for more information

      Frequently asked questions about RASL

      RASL Forms

      What I really want to know is how much my pension will be. How do I find out?

      Unfortunately, Human Resources cannot calculate your pension benefits. You will need to contact your retirement plan representative (either Arizona State Retirement System or Optional Retirement Plan ) to discuss retirement income estimates. If you’re not sure which retirement plan you are contributing to, you can look on your Benefits Summary in UAccess or contact the Human Resources Solutions team at (520) 621-3660.

      Financial Advising Services

      The ASRS website has a generic pension calculator where you can estimate your benefits. To access your personalized information, register for an online myASRS account. ASRS also conducts a series of group seminars, either online or at the Tucson or Phoenix offices. You can also schedule an individual appointment with an ASRS representative.

      You can arrange to meet in-person with a representative from Fidelity Investments or TIAA.

      • Representatives can meet with any University employee for a financial advising session, whether or not you have a Fidelity or TIAA account. 
      • If you do have an ORP account, you will want to schedule a consultation to discuss your investments and plan distributions. 

      Plan to meet with ASRS or your ORP representative about 3–6 months before you end UA employment. We recommend that you apply for your ASRS pension or ORP distribution approximately 4 to 6 weeks prior to your expected retirement date, to allow processing time.

      Website Customer Service
      Fidelity Investments

      (800) 343-0860

      Consultant: Damond Petersen (866) 588-2612

      TIAA

      (866) 548-3705

      Consultants:

      Mark Largent (866) 548-3705 ext. 453249
      Donn Fitch (480) 350-3209

      Arizona State Retirement System Tucson: (520) 239-3100
      Phoenix: (602) 240-2000
      Areas outside Tucson & Phoenix: (800) 621-3778

      Website

      • Social Security Administration: You will also want to determine your Social Security pension. There is a pension calculator on this site, and you can also set up a "My Social Security" account to manage your benefits more easily. Many people can apply for retirement benefits online. The main Tucson Social Security office is at 3808 N First Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719; Phone: (800) 772-1213.

      What are my options for phased retirement?

      The answer depends on whether you are enrolled in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

      • Optional Retirement Plan

      Employees in the ORP have the option to negotiate a three-year phased retirement agreement with their dean or vice-president. Phased retirement allows you to take distributions from your ORP account while gradually reducing your workload and hours.

      There is no formal phased retirement program for ASRS participants, but the UA does support Flexible Work Arrangements. For more information or to schedule a FWA consultation, contact Caryn Jung, MS, at Life-Work Connections, (520) 621-9870. You would need to negotiate changes in your work situation individually with your supervisor. Reducing your FTE may impact your pension benefit. Contact ASRS for more information.

      Handout

      Flexible Work Options for Tenured Faculty and Continuing Professionals