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Total Rewards frequently asked questions

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Will retiree insurance change for current retirees on 1/1/18?

Changes to retiree insurance eligibility and subsidies, effective in 2018, have little effect on current retirees. All current retirees, as well as their spouses and other dependents, who are enrolled in UM’s insurance plan(s) will:

  • Retain their UM insurance coverage—including medical, dental, life, and vision insurance.
  • Retain the current subsidy from UM—including subsidies for spouses and other dependents.

In other words, if you are a current retiree, the changes being communicated to active employees do not impact you. For a list of all current plans available to retirees—including dental, vision, and life—visit the retiree benefits overview on the Total Rewards website.

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What research was conducted to support the changes to retiree insurance?

The Retiree Medical Study provided the research on which the Total Rewards Advisory Committee (TRAC) made its deliberations when developing its retiree insurance recommendations, which have since been approved. For more information, access the Retiree Medical Study webpage or the Changes to retiree insurance webpage.

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How will retiree insurance change for current faculty and staff on January 1, 2018?

Under the approved changes, employees’ eligibility for retiree insurance benefits, as well as their eligibility for a UM System premium subsidy, will be different depending on their age and years of service. Visit the Changes to retiree insurance webpage for general information on eligibility, or access the resources below, which can be especially helpful in determining how you will be affected:

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When deciding which Access Category I am in, does UM round my age and years of service?

Effective January 1, 2018, employee’s eligibility for the university’s retiree insurance plans will change. Eligibility will differ based on whether an employee falls into Access Category A, B, C, or D. The Access Category you are assigned to is based on whole numbers; partial years are not counted. For example, if you are age 50.5 and have 5.5 years of service, you drop the half a year on each and add 50 and 5. In this example, the calculation is 50 + 5 = 55. It’s not 50.5 + 5.5 = 56.

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Do changes to retiree insurance affect all retiree insurance benefits, or just medical plans?

The changes pertain to eligibility and subsidies for these retiree insurance plans: medical, dental, and vision. In the future, as recommended by TRAC, the university will conduct a review of retiree life insurance as well to leverage the marketplace and provide focused value to retiree needs. 

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How does an employee become eligible for UM retiree insurance right now?

Prior to 1/1/2018, or for those employees in Access Category A, an employee is eligible for retiree insurance if he/she is:

  • Eligible for retirement* and
  • Enrolled in a UM insurance plan prior to retirement

This is the structure of retiree insurance benefits and applies to any employee retiring before January 1, 2018, or any employee in Access Category A. Changes to retiree insurance take effect on January 1, 2018, and change eligibility criteria. Read about how eligibility criteria changes in 2018.

* Learn about current retirement eligibility criteria by watching the Retirement eligibility and the defined Benefit Plan on-demand online seminar.

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What tools are available to help me with my retirement decision?

If you're interested in tools that can help you decide if it is better to retire before retiree insurance benefit options change or to wait until later, the university has many resources to support you.

In summer of 2016, UM mailed personalized retirement estimates to employees who wanted to better understand their retirement options. To better understand your retirement options now, you may use UM’s Retirement Calculator to estimate what your pension payout would be if you retired at different points in time.

The decision of whether and when to retire is an individual decision and involves many factors, including pension benefits, other retirement savings, medical coverage options, and an individual’s own career and personal aspirations. UM cannot provide retirement advice, but both Fidelity and TIAA offer free, objective retirement guidance and education on every campus. Visit the Changes to retiree insurance webpage for tools and resources.

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If I have a sick or vacation time accrued, what happens to it when I retire?

When you retire, you will receive day-for-day service credit for accrued sick leave, and there is no cap on sick leave accruals. 

For unused accrued vacation time, you will receive service and salary credit. Unused accrued vacation time is paid out over time at retirement; there are caps on vacation accrual based on your accrual rate. 

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What happens to my service credit if I become disabled in 2017, prior to retiree insurance changes?

The years of service credit necessary to retire and to enroll in retiree insurance will be measured the same way in 2018 as it has always been. In other words, the changes to retiree insurance have no effect on how service credit is accrued.

Under the changes to retiree insurance that go into effect on January 1, 2018, each employee is placed in an access category based on the employee’s status as of December 31, 2017, whether an employee is on Long Term Disability (LTD) or not. If an employee was vested before going on LTD, his/her service credit up to and including December 31, 2017, will be counted. If an employee is NOT vested when the LTD leave begins, he/she will not accrue service credit up to and including December 31, 2017.

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If an employee retires and returns to a benefit-eligible position, could this benefit change again?

We can't tell you absolutely that retiree insurance will never change again. But at this time, we don’t anticipate additional changes. If an employee retires and comes back to a benefit-eligible position, the person would return to their original access category they were in based on age and years of service as of Dec. 31, 2017.

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I’m in Category B with 19 years of service on 1/1/18. Can I enroll in ret. insurance after 1/1/18?

If retiring on or after 1/1/18, you must work to age 60 and attain 20 years of service to be eligible for retiree insurance. Category B employees who work to age 60 and attain 20 years of service can enroll in the university’s retiree insurance plans, regardless of what date the employee reaches those two benchmarks.

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I’ve heard I can only retire at certain times of the year; is that true?

If you are in a 9-month appointment, you may retire on 3/1 or 9/1. All others can retire on any day of the year after meeting the eligibility requirements to be a retiree.

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If spouses work for UM, what if one retires while eligible for ret. insurance and the other doesn’t?

If a spouse loses his or her eligibility for a UM benefit(s), the retiree may add the spouse as a dependent for retiree insurance benefits. Please keep in mind, the newly covered spouse is eligible only for continued coverage under the same programs he or she was enrolled in as an eligible employee. Additionally, such a change must be made within 31 days after the change in status.

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What are the current retiree insurance plans?

UM medical insurance options are different for retirees who are enrolled in Medicare versus those who are not eligible or not enrolled. The following plans are available for 2017.

For a list of all current plans available to retirees—including dental, vision, and life—visit the retiree benefits overview on the Total Rewards website.

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Who receives a 1099-R?

Anyone who receives a distribution from the Retirement, Disability and Death Benefit Plan (i.e., receives a pension payout) during the tax year, will receive Form 1099-R from the university.

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When will I receive Form 1099-R?

If you receive a pension payout, Form 1099-R will be postmarked to you by the end of January (or early February if the end of January falls on a weekend) for delivery by the US Postal Service. Please allow 10 business days for delivery.

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I didn’t receive my Form 1099-R. How can I obtain a reprint?

Form 1099-R will be postmarked by the end of January (or early February in year's where the end of January falls on a weekend) for delivery by the US Postal Service. Please allow 10 business days for delivery. If you have not received your 1099-R form by February 16, please contact the HR Service Center to request a reprint via the contact information below.

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What is ERIP

ERIP stands for Employee Retirement Investment Plan. Learn more on the ERIP webpage.

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What is RDD?

RDD stands for Retirement, Disability and Death Benefit Plan. Learn more about RDD.

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If I’m 62 or older, can I continue to work in the UM System (UM) after retirement?

If you are at least age 62 at retirement:

  • You must complete all the necessary paperwork to apply for and initiate your retirement.
  • You may return to work, but only on a part-time basis. In other words, you may work at less than 75% full-time equivalency (FTE) at the department’s and university’s discretion.
  • The “less than 75% FTE” threshold is measured by including all appointments you may hold at any given time.
  • The decision of whether you will be offered continued employment is at the department’s and the university’s discretion.

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I won’t be 62 when I retire; can I continue to work for the university after retirement?

Those who retire before age 62 must execute a “bona fide” termination, as required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you are younger than age 62 at retirement, you must complete all the necessary paperwork to apply for and initiate your retirement, and you are not eligible to return to work unless meeting certain criteria.

The following factors are key in determining if a “bona fide” termination took place:

  • The employee and the employer did not engage in discussions regarding reemployment before the employee’s separation from service. The IRS has singled out this factor as critical to support the occurrence of a true separation. Therefore, for employees who have not reached normal retirement age, discussions about reemployment are prohibited.
  • The length of the break in service before reemployment is reasonable—at least 90 days.
  • Upon separation from service, the employee surrendered something of value, such as seniority rights or access to benefits available only to active employees.
  • The employer processed the employee as if he or she were separating from service. For example:
    • A COBRA election or information on retiree health insurance coverage was provided to the employee upon separation, or
    • A separation date was entered into the payroll/personnel system.

If you are under age 62 at the time of retirement:

  • There can be no discussion of rehire before your retirement date has passed.
  • You must have a break in service of at least 90 days before returning to work.

If these criteria are met, then at the department’s and university’s discretion, you may return to work, but only on a part-time basis. In other words, you may work at less than 75% full-time equivalency (FTE).

  • The “less than 75% FTE” threshold is measured including all appointments you may hold at any given time.
  • The decision of whether you will be offered employment is at the department’s and university’s discretion.

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Does the “90-day break” apply to retirees moving from one appointment to another?

If you are under age 62 at the time of retirement, no, the requirement that you must have a 90-day break in service does not apply.  The requirement that you must have a 90-day break in service only applies when the employee separates from service from the university and elects to take their retirement benefit.

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Can retirees be rehired as independent contractors/consultants since they’re not UM employees?

If the retiree meets all of the IRS and UM criteria required to be an independent contractor or consultant, the retiree may be hired as such since contractors are not considered UM employees. However, this mechanism must not be utilized in order to circumvent the policy of reemploying retirees. Contractor and consultant appointments must be approved in advance by campus business services.

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If I retire and return to work at less than 75% FTE, am I eligible for active employee benefits?

No. Only employees in benefit-eligible positions are eligible for employee benefits, and employees must work at 75% FTE or more in an appointment duration of at least nine months to be benefit-eligible. (See Subchapter 320.050: Employee Status of the University of Missouri’s Collected Rules and Regulations.) As a retiree, you may be eligible for retiree benefits if you were enrolled in coverage prior to retirement. For more information on this, see our guides online:

For those who are Medicare-eligible: University of Missouri Medical Benefits Plan: myRetiree Health Plan and myRetiree Health Plan, no R/X.
For those who are non-Medicare-eligible: University of Missouri Medical Benefit SPD.

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How will laid-off employees who retire within/at the end of layoff leave of absence be treated?

If retirement eligible, these employees may choose to retire in order receive any retiree pension benefits and health and welfare benefits for which they may be eligible, even though they in fact wished to continue working. Pursuant to UM layoff policy, applicable individuals are entitled to the right to recall and preference for reemployment, and may return to work in a career position if a recall or reemployment opportunity arises. But these individuals must agree to suspend their monthly retirement payments at the time of rehire. If the retiree is under age 62, then they must meet the guidelines to be eligible for rehire.

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Am I automatically enrolled in ERIP upon employment?

Yes, you are automatically enrolled in the Employee Retirement Investment Plan upon employment. You do not need to enroll.

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How do I know if RDD is my core retirement plan?

Employees first hired before October 1, 2012, or those rehired after October 1, 2012, who were vested when they left the university but did not take a distribution of their benefit, are enrolled in RDD.

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What Voluntary Retirement Plans are available to me?

There are three voluntary retirement plans available to those that are eligible. They are:

  • 403(b)

  • 457(b)

  • Supplemental Retirement Plan (SRP) 401(a)

Learn more about these voluntary plan options on the core and voluntary plans page.

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