Health Benefits for Retirement On or After Jan. 1, 2006

The following rules and information applies if you retire(d) on or after Jan. 1, 2006.  If you retired prior to Jan. 1, 2006, please review Health Benefits for Retirement Prior to Jan. 1, 2006.

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In order to have access to the retiree medical plan you must be at least age 55 and have at least five consecutive years of service as a Benefits Eligible Employee through retirement.

Plan Coverage and Medicare Coordination

If you meet the eligibility requirements, lifetime retiree medical coverage is available to you and your qualified dependents. You may elect to be covered under either the medical plan you were enrolled in at the time of retirement – SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro – or you may switch your plan option. If you were not enrolled in a Syracuse University health plan prior to retirement, you may elect coverage for yourself and your qualified dependents upon retirement. Once your retirement elections are made, you will not be able to add any additional dependents.

Your retiree coverage under SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro will be consistent with the coverage provided to active employees, with the following exceptions upon Medicare-eligibility:

  • You and your qualified dependents are required to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as soon as eligibility for such coverage commences, and you will be responsible for the cost of Medicare Part B. Medicare will pay primary and the University will pay secondary under the Medicare carve-out integration method. As a participant, this will not change the amount you have to pay for cost-sharing (copays, deductibles, coinsurance, etc.). Your physician will first submit your claims to Medicare and any unpaid balance will be forwarded to Excellus BCBS automatically. Excellus BCBS will then apply the University’s plan benefit after reducing for Medicare coverage.
  • Even if you do not enroll in Parts A and B immediately, the Syracuse University Retiree Medical Plan will reduce the benefit available by the amount Medicare would have paid, which will increase your costs for any services that Medicare would have covered. In addition, you may pay increased Part B premiums if you fail to enroll within three months of your retirement date.
  • Prescription drug coverage is not available under the University plans. Retirees are encouraged to consider prescription drug coverage offered through Medicare Part D. The cost for this coverage is paid for directly by the retiree.

It is important to know that Medicare does not allow individuals to enroll in partial month coverage. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to be enrolled in Medicare Parts A, B and D as of the first day of the month in which you retire, or become eligible for Medicare if later.

Retirees or their covered dependents who become eligible for Medicare early due to a disability should review the information regarding Retirement Disability Coverage. See also, the effect of Medicare for those retiring on or after age 65.

Enrollment Process

Upon retirement, you will receive an enrollment packet from Lifetime Benefit Solutions. Your packet will include information on the benefit options you can choose from as a retiree, including information regarding any medical, dental/vision and health care flexible spending account coverage that you may have under COBRA, as well as election forms to designate your selections. When you receive your packet, the Office of Human Resources would be happy to review your materials with you. To schedule a meeting or simply request a phone consultation, you may contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042.

Be sure to review the information about the Retiree Opt Out/Opt In feature regarding the ability to discontinue coverage through the University’s plan and return at a later time.

Your Cost

The University’s subsidy is based on the retiree’s years of credited service as a Benefits Eligible Employee after age 45, as shown below:

Credited Service After Age 45University Subsidy
toward Retiree Medical Coverage
1 - 9 yearsnone
10 years30%
11 years33.5%
12 years37%
13 years40.5%
14 years44%
15 years47.5%
16 years51%
17 years54.5%
18 years58%
19 years61.5%
20 or more years65%

The subsidy schedule is applied to the capped retiree-specific premiums to determine the University’s subsidy. Retiree contributions represent the difference between the total cost and the University’s subsidy. The cap on retiree-specific premiums is a rising ceiling indexing the initial University cost in 2006 to the general rate of inflation plus 3.0 percent in succeeding years. The University’s share of the per capita costs in each succeeding year is incremented by the percentage increase in the actual medical cost trend, or to this ceiling, whichever results in the lesser increase. The retiree is responsible for any additional cost above the cap.

The Health Plans and the Marketplace

All three retiree health plans, SUBlue, SUOrange and SUPro, meet the coverage and affordability requirements of the Affordable Care Act. However, given the variety of health insurance options available through the Marketplace of private insurers and the subsidies available, you may want to consider whether private insurance is a good option for you and your dependents. More information on the Marketplace is available by phone at 800.318.2596 (Federal) and 855.355.5777 (New York State), and online at (Federal) or (New York State). You should also compare the coverage and cost of these plans with those available to you through a spouse or domestic partner.

Dental and Vision

Upon retirement, your coverage under the dental and vision plans will cease at the end of the day of your last day worked. You will receive information about continuing coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months. If you choose to continue coverage, you pay the full cost of coverage, plus a 2% administrative fee.  You can terminate COBRA coverage at any time.

Should you have any questions, please contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042.

Helpful Links

The benefits listed above apply as indicated to retired and emeritus faculty and retired staff members of Syracuse University. All benefits programs are subject to change. If any discrepancies exist between program-related communications and the Plan Document, the terms and conditions detailed in the Plan Document will control.