Choosing to retire is a major step in your life. Navigating insurance, Medicare, and retirement plans can be overwhelming at first, but know the Texas Tech University Benefits team is here to help with your transition into retirement. This section is designed to provide helpful guidelines, information, and resources about retiring.
Upon retirement from the state and Texas Tech, regular employees are eligible to participate in the group insurance options made available under the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) if all the following requirements are fulfilled.
The employee has at least ten years of creditable service under either the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the Texas Optional Retirement Program (ORP), or the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), or any combination thereof, and the employee has not voluntarily forfeited retirement benefits by withdrawal of the retirement account(s). A person who is eligible for a proportional retirement may also apply service credit from the Texas Municipal Retirement system or the Texas County and District retirement system as part of the 10 years.
Individuals must have at least ten years of established service credit and be age 65, or age plus years of creditable service must equal or exceed 80. Individuals participating in the GBP prior to September 1, 2003 who do not meet the requirements set forth above, but who do meet the eligibility requirements for participation in the program as they existed on August 31, 2003, will be eligible to participate in a special retiree insurance program that will be fully paid by the employee. The premiums for this program will be based upon the estimated claims costs of those participating in this special program and can be expected to be considerably higher than those for active employees and regular retiree insurance.
The employee has terminated employment from all state agencies and higher education institutions that participate in the GBP or is no longer eligible for the GBP as an employee.
The last Texas public employment prior to retirement was at a state agency or higher education institution that participates in the GBP.
If the retiring employee enrolls before or within 31 days of separation from employment, the retiree insurance is effective the first of the month following separation. Enrollment, thereafter, will require a 60-day waiting period for coverage to become effective and may require evidence of insurability.
If a participant in the insurance program for retirees obtains re-employment in a benefits-eligible position at Texas Tech, the participant and enrolled dependents will have the option to remain on retiree insurance or elect active employee insurance.
Upon retirement, retirees have the following enrollment options under GBP:
- Decline all GBP coverage by not enrolling and/or electing the Opt-out credit
- Enroll in the GBP (eligible coverage only)
- Retirees and prospective retirees should contact the Human Resources Employee Services Center for detailed benefit booklets and/or additional information regarding available group insurance plans for retirees. Information is also available at https://ers.texas.gov/retirees.
The State of Texas makes a monthly contribution toward the cost of health insurance coverage for those employees with at least ten years of established service credit who are retiring at age 65, or whose age and years of creditable service equal 80. The amount of the contribution depends upon the health coverage selected and whether the person is full time or part time during the last three consecutive months before retirement, as well as the total number of years of GBP participation. If you had less than five years of service on September 1, 2014, the state's insurance premium contribution will be based on the number of years you worked for an agency or institution that participates in the GBP:
100% contribution with 20 or more years, 75% contribution with 15 less than 20 years and 50% contribution with 10 less than 15 years.
The first column in the chart below shows which years of service can be applied to meet the five-year requirement for retiree insurance “grandfathering.” Certain types of service and participation will count even if you waived or opted out of GBP health coverage.
If you are not grandfathered, some service can put you into a higher insurance tier with a higher state contribution. The right column in the chart on the next page indicates which types of service can put you in a higher tier. For example, if a non-grandfathered member had 12 years of service, he or she could buy three years of Additional Service Credit (ASC) to get 15 years and a 75% state contribution to the retiree health premium. To view the chart, click here.
The covered surviving spouse and/or covered surviving dependent(s) of a retiree may continue the health and dental coverages in which they were enrolled on the date of the retiree's death, provided they pay the required premiums and continue to meet the residency requirements of the plans (if applicable). A spouse may continue coverage for life. Dependent children may continue coverage until they lose GBP eligibility, regardless of whether the spouse continues coverage. Texas Tech does not provide employer contributions toward the cost of coverage for the surviving spouse and/or dependent(s).