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Considering Retirement

If retirement is on your horizon, make sure your transition will be smooth as you prepare to leave Tufts. Below are steps you need to take, things you need to know about your benefits, and a few other things to consider.

If you're approaching 65 and not ready to retire, there are also some important steps to consider.

Staying in Touch

Make sure your permanent home, mailing address, email, and phone number are up to date on eServe so we can send your annual tax forms and other important information. If you are enrolled in Retiree Health Plan and/or Retiree Dental Plan, please reach out to these vendors directly to make any changes to your contact information so that you receive updates about Retiree Open Enrollment (if applicable).

Pre-Retirement Checklist

Ideally, you should begin preparing for retirement at least a full year before your retirement date. Here are some important things for you to do before the big day.

6 to 12 Months Prior to Your Retirement

  • Contact Tufts Support Services (TSS) to request retirement planning information. Any questions you may have will be addressed through your TSS case.
  • Meet with representatives from TIAA (800-732-8353) and/or Fidelity (800-343-0860) to review your retirement savings and distribution options.
  • Contact Social Security to make sure you understand your Social Security income options. Elect option at least 4 months prior to retirement.

4 to 6 months Prior to Your Retirement

Assess your Retiree Health, Retiree Dental, and other benefit plan options:

  • Under age 65: Retiree Health and Dental plan design options same as active employees.
  • Age 65 and over: Contact Via Benefits to assess health plan options.

3 Months Prior to Your Retirement

  • Provide written notification to your manager of retirement date (the last day of a month is recommended to streamline the transition).
  • Age 65 and over: Apply for Medicare Parts A & B (No earlier than 3 months, at least 6-12 weeks prior to retirement)

1 Month Prior to Your Retirement

Confirm your vacation balance with your supervisor and confirm what benefit plan deductions will be taken from this payment.

Elect your Retiree Health, Retiree Dental and other benefit plan options:

Under Age 65:

Age 65 and Over:

1 Week Prior to Your Retirement

  • Log into eServe to confirm/update home address, email, and vacation balance
  • Check with manager to confirm they have submitted a personnel action for separation in eServe Workforce Portal
  • Wrap up any "loose ends" and personally prepare for your retirement

After You Retire

  • Set up HRA subsidy with Via Benefits if eligible with Via Benefits if Age 65 and Over , and eligible (Hired by 1/1/94)

Retirement and Changes to Your Benefits

If you are enrolled in benefits, they will change when you leave Tufts. There are two options for continuing coverage:

  1. Under age 65: Tufts Plans OR Age 65 and Over: Medicare
  2. COBRA Coverage

If you are eligible for Retiree Health and Dental coverage, you most likely will not need to enroll in health or dental COBRA coverage. However, you should review the information to understand your choices.

COBRA Coverage

Per federal regulations, you will automatically be sent a COBRA informational packet upon retirement. EBPA, the university's third party enrollment administrator, will mail you a COBRA notification within 10 business days of your last day. If electing COBRA, you must do so within 60 days from the date of notification.

Enrollment is complete once EBPA receives your first premium payment. For more information on enrollment and billing contact EBPA at 888-232-3203.

Tufts Plans and Medicare

When you retire, you and your dependents may be eligible to enroll in the university retiree health and dental plans. If you are under age 65 and eligible for Retiree Health coverage, you may enroll yourself and your eligible family members in any of the four options offered through the Tufts University Health Plan. If you or your eligible family members are age 65 or over, you should enroll in Medicare Part A and B for health insurance coverage.

Changes to Core Benefits

Your benefits will change when you retire. Here are some things to consider:

Health Plan Coverage

Health coverage will end at 11:59 p.m. on your last day of employment. You may be able to continue coverage through the Tufts Retiree Health Plan or through the Tufts COBRA vendor.

You may be eligible for university's Retiree Health Plan if:

  • You are age 60 or older and have five years of eligible service with the university
  • OR your age plus your years of eligible service with the university equals 75 or more

At the time of your retirement, EBPA, the university's COBRA vendor, will also send you rates and enrollment information for continuing your health coverage under COBRA. If you enroll in COBRA benefits, you forfeit your right to enroll in the Tufts Retiree Health Plan.

If you have questions about choosing the right option for yourself and your family, or if you do not receive a COBRA notice within two weeks of your retirement date, call EBPA at 888-232-3203.

Dental Plan Coverage

Dental coverage will end at 11:59 p.m. on your last day of employment.

If you are eligible for Retiree Health, you and your eligible family members may continue dental coverage through the Tufts University Retiree Dental Plan offered through Delta Dental, starting on your retirement date.

At the time of your retirement, EBPA will also send you rates and enrollment information for continuing your dental coverage for up to 18 months under COBRA. If you have questions about choosing the right option for yourself and your family or if you do not receive a COBRA notice within two weeks of your retirement date, call EBPA directly at 888-232-3203.

Vision Plan

Vision plan coverage will end at 11:59 p.m. on your last day of employment. EBPA will send you a COBRA notice and information about continuing your vision coverage for up to 18 months. If you do not receive a COBRA notice within two weeks of your last day of employment, call EBPA at 888-232-3203.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance will end on your last day of employment. There is no provision for continued coverage.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

If enrolled, you may incur expenses for reimbursement from your Health Care FSA and/or Dependent Care FSA accounts up to your last day of employment. You must submit eligible expenses for reimbursement within the 120-day run-out period following your date of retirement. Salary reduction ends on the date of your last paycheck.

If you are enrolled in the Health Care FSA, you may continue it through COBRA until the end of the current plan year if you have contributed more than you have been reimbursed in the year so far. However, your COBRA contributions will be on an after-tax basis. Contact EBPA for FSA COBRA information and to help you decide whether to continue Health Care FSA coverage. Please call EBPA at 888-232-3203 if you have any questions.

Life and Supplemental Life Insurance: Employee, Spouse/Domestic Partner, and Dependent Children

Life Insurance coverage will end on the 31st day following your last day of employment. You have conversion rights during this 31-day period. For more information about conversion or portability, call Prudential at 800-778-3827 and refer to customer number 46493.

Long-Term Care

Tufts no longer offers long-term care plans. If you have questions regarding your coverage, call CNA at 877-777-9072 or Prudential at 800-732-0416 to speak with a long-term care advisor.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

Long-Term Disability coverage will end 31 days after your last day of employment. If you are retiring, there is no provision to continue your coverage.

Tufts University-Funded Retirement Plan - 401(a)

If you have met the requirements to be fully vested*, this means that you own the funds that have been contributed by Tufts University on your behalf. Your account will continue to be invested as directed until you choose to withdraw/transfer your retirement plan accumulations. You will continue to have online access to view your statements and change your investments. Please contact TIAA at 800-732-8353 or Fidelity Investments at 800-343-0860 for information and/or distribution options.

*You are 100% vested in the Tufts University-Funded Retirement Plan once you have completed three years of eligible service. If you have not met the requirements to be fully vested, your account will be forfeited. However, if you become re-employed with Tufts University within 5 years, your account will be reinstated. Please see the Summary Plan Description (PDF) for details on vesting.

Self-Funded Retirement Plan - 403(b)

If you were enrolled in the 403(b) Plan, your participation ends your last day of employment at Tufts University. You are always 100% vested in the 403(b) Plan. Your account will continue to be invested as directed until you choose to withdraw/transfer your retirement plan accumulations. You will continue to have online access to view your statements and change your investments. Please contact TIAA at 800-732-8353 or Fidelity Investments at 800-343-0860 for information and/or distribution options.

Changes to Other Benefits

Auto and Home Insurance

If enrolled, MetLife will automatically send you information about your options for continuing your Auto and Home Insurance coverage. You have the right to convert your plan to direct pay. If you are interested in conversion, please call MetLife at 800-438-6388.

Commuter Benefits

Your commuter benefit ends on your last day of employment or for the last time period you have purchased the benefit, whichever is later.

When you leave the university, your contribution to the Parking & Transit Program will be discontinued. You can submit a paper reimbursement request for expenses you incurred before your retirement date.

If you wish to discontinue your commuter benefit before your final day of employment, remember that you must cancel your EBPA enrollment before the 4th of the month so that funds will not be withdrawn from your paycheck for the subsequent month. If this occurs and you have funds on your EBPA card that you can not use before your final day at Tufts, you can purchase a Charlie Card or other MBTA pass by your last day of employment. Please call EBPA directly at 800-258-7298 if you have questions.

Legal Plan

If you were enrolled in the MetLaw Legal Plan, your coverage ends on your last day of employment. This will not affect any current legal claim that is in process. You have the right to convert this plan for 30 days from your last day of employment. For more information about conversion, please call MetLaw's Client Service Center at 800-821-6400.

Pet Insurance

If enrolled, Nationwide will automatically send you information regarding continuing your Pet Insurance coverage. You have the right to convert your plan for 30 days from your last day of employment. If you are interested in continuing your benefits, please contact Nationwide at 877-738-7874.

Tuition Reimbursement

If you have completed paperwork under the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Program, you will be eligible for reimbursement only if you satisfactorily complete your class requirements before your last day of employment at Tufts University.

Tuition Remission Plan

If you or your family members are currently enrolled in a class at Tufts and have been approved for the Tuition Remission Benefit, your benefits will end on the last day of the current semester.

Tufts University hopes to continue its plans indefinitely, but reserves the right to amend, modify, or terminate plans at any time.

Not Ready to Retire at 65

You may not be ready to retire, but turning age 65 marks an important federal milestone. Once you turn age 65, the Social Security Administration will contact you about signing up for Medicare.

Medicare Parts A and B

To qualify for Medicare, you must have worked for at least ten years and have at least forty working credits on record with Social Security. You can find additional information about requirements on the Medicare website.

Medicare consists of two parts:

  • Parts A is for hospital services; provided at no cost if you have the required working credits
  • Part B is for medical/doctor services; provided for a monthly premium

Individuals covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, such as the Tufts University Health Plan, are not required to apply for Medicare Part A or Part B.

When to Enroll

While you are employed you do not need to take any action regarding Medicare. Individuals covered by a Tufts University health plan, or one provided by a spouse/partner's employer, are not required to apply for Medicare Parts A or B. We recommend that you contact Social Security no sooner than 3 months before your planned retirement date to begin your enrollment process.

If you choose to enroll, you can do so at your local Social Security office or online.

Planning Ahead

If Age 65 or over: Three months prior to retirement from Tufts, we advise eligible individuals start the Medicare A/B enrollment process (see timeline above).

More Information

If you have additional questions, contact Tufts Supports Services or visit the Medicare Website.