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April 27, 2006

Retiree transition period ends June 30

Eligible employees who agree to leave the University by June 30 will have a choice of retiree medical insurance plans.

The University introduced a new retiree medical program, dubbed the defined dollar benefit (DDB) program, July 1, 2004, with a two-year transition period that ends in June. During that period, eligible employees who leave Pitt can retain their current health plan coverage or join the new DDB plan.

Current employees who were born on or before Dec. 31, 1946 (that is, who will be 59.5 years or older on June 30) are eligible.

Eligible employees who leave the University voluntarily by June 30 can choose to continue their existing health insurance coverage or opt for the DDB plan. After June 30, only those who meet the University’s minimum retirement age of 62 will be eligible for health coverage upon leaving Pitt, and they automatically will be enrolled in the DDB plan when they retire.

Under the DDB program, credits will be placed monthly into an account for employees and eligible spouses/domestic partners. The credits may be used for the purchase of retiree medical coverage sponsored by Pitt, to purchase non-Pitt coverage or be accrued for use at a later date.

Effective July 1, the program will provide participants and their spouses/domestic partners $256 in monthly credits, which is equal to the current monthly premium for the University’s post-65 major medical program, its most expensive retirement medical plan.

John Kozar, Pitt senior health care manager, doesn’t expect many faculty to sign up at this point, because by now they should have alerted their departments of their plans to leave by the end of June.

“Staff who are considering this should as a courtesy alert their supervisors of that,” he said. “In addition, they should do what I would advise anyone who is thinking about retirement to do and that is make an appointment with the Benefits office, as well as with TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard to see if they can afford to leave the University.”

Human Resources will hold information sessions on these health care options during May and June at dates to be announced, he said.

More details are available on the Human Resources web site: The web site offers an array of links, including one to a matrix that will display the medical plan options an employee and his or her spouse/domestic partner are eligible for based on their respective ages. Other links provide details for each medical plan and retiree life insurance options.

To schedule an individual appointment with Benefits staff, call 412/624-8160.

—Peter Hart

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