Answers to Your Top Questions on Preparing for Retirement

Have you worked at MSU for at least 25 years in a benefit-eligible position? Or are you at least 62 years old and worked at MSU for at least 15 years in a benefit-eligible position? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be thinking about retiring from MSU someday (or even soon).

To help you prepare for retirement, we’ve compiled a list of the top questions we receive as employees think about transitioning to retirement:

Q1: What will be the retiree health care plan?

A1: This depends on whether you, your spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) or any covered dependents are eligible to enroll in Medicare when you retire. Review the Effect of Retirement on Benefits for details about your situation and the applicable year Open Enrollment Guide for Retirees for health plan information.

Q2: How much will retiree health care cost?

A2: Most retirees are eligible to receive the full university contribution level towards retiree health and dental benefits. To determine your level of university contribution, please review the Retiree Benefits Policy to understand your “Retirement Calculation Date” and your level of “FTE Service Months” (both can be viewed in your Personal Profile tile in the EBS Portal), and how they will affect the amounts that you pay in retirement. Then check the appropriate health care Monthly Plan Premiums chart in the applicable year Open Enrollment Guide for Retirees to determine the cost.

Q3: Am I eligible to cover my spouse/OEI or dependents on my retiree health care plan?

A3: Your “Retirement Calculation Date” (which can be viewed in your Personal Profile tile in the EBS Portal) will determine the university’s contribution for your spouse/OEI and dependents toward retiree health and dental coverage based on university policy. To see which contribution you will qualify for, please review the Retiree Benefits Policy. Even if you’re not eligible to receive a university contribution toward retiree health care for your spouse/OEI or other dependents, you can still enroll them in the university’s group retiree health care plan by paying the full premium cost.

Q4: How is retiree health care different from my current coverage?

A4: Please review the Health Plan Coverage Summary in the applicable year’s Open Enrollment Guide for active employees (faculty or support staff) and retirees to compare the benefits offered.

Q5: What does retiree health care cover?

A5: Please review the Retiree Open Enrollment Guide to view the Health Plan Coverage Summary for benefits offered.

Q6: Does the retiree health care plan include prescription drug coverage?

A6: Yes. Your retiree health care plan and prescription drug coverage is bundled together in one plan. To learn more about the prescription drug coverage, please review the Summary of Health and Prescription Plan Provisions in the Retiree Open Enrollment Guide.

Q7: Is Medicare necessary?

A7: Yes. If you, your spouse/OEI, or any other covered dependent are eligible for Medicare by being age 65 or older, or due to disability (SSDI), the eligible individual must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B (please do NOT enroll in Part D). Please review this Medicare and Social Security Information for more details about enrolling. Once you’re enrolled, you will need to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number from your Medicare card to enroll in MSU’s retiree health care plan.

Q8: Which parts of Medicare do I need?

A8: You must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B (please do NOT enroll in Part D). Please review this Medicare and Social Security Information for more details about enrolling. Once you’re enrolled, you will need to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number from your Medicare card to enroll in MSU’s retiree health care plan.

Q9: When should I sign up for Medicare?

A9: You should enroll in Medicare Parts A & B at least 2-3 months in advance of the effective date, as it will take time for Medicare to process your application and send you your Medicare card (which you will need in order to send MSU Human Resources your MBI number to enroll in the MSU retiree health care plan). If you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period with Medicare, contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 to complete the required form.

Q10: How early do I have to request retirement from MSU?

A10: We suggest you submit your MSU Retirement Form at least 90 days prior to your planned retirement date so we can ensure your enrollment in Medicare and/or the MSU retiree health care plan is completed smoothly and timely. You can submit your completed form up to 120 days in advance of your planned last day of work (for support staff positions) and up to 365 days in advance of your planned retirement date (for faculty, academic staff and executive management positions). You will submit your Retirement Form in the EBS Portal. Instructions to complete and submit the form are available.

Q11: How do you request retirement?

A11: You will submit the MSU Retirement Form via the EBS Portal. Instructions to complete and submit the form are available for your assistance.

Q12: As a support staff employee, what are my options regarding my unused vacation, personal and compensatory time?

A12: There are 3 options:

  1. Receive payment after your retirement date.
  2. Use all your time before your retirement date. After you indicate your last day worked on the Retirement Form, Human Resources will review your form and your available unused vacation, personal and compensatory time to determine your official retirement date.
  3. Combination of the options listed above: On the Retirement Form, please fill in the Notes section with the number of hours and type of hours (vacation, personal, and/or compensatory time) that you would like to use after your last day worked.

For more information on preparing to retire from MSU, please review the retirement resources on the HR website. These include a Roadmap to Retirement webinar, the effect of retirement on your benefits, information about Medicare and Social Security, a retirement checklist and much more. If you’re ready to take the next step, we recently made updates to the Retirement Form in the EBS Portal to make it more user-friendly.

Job of the Week: Health Care Representative

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Health Care Representative (Posting #694623) for Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS). CAPS is an on-campus facility that provides students with services on mental health concerns, including individual and group therapy, psychiatric services, screening/triage appointments, multicultural engagement, intensive integrated clinical services, clinical care coordination, hospitalization coordination and support, as well as other related services.

As a health care representative, you will be responsible for performing front desk functions in person and over the phone in a mental health setting. Other responsibilities include greeting visitors, scheduling appointments, checking in and checking out patients to the clinic, data entry and medical insurance verification, among other tasks. The positions requires you to greet visitors in a friendly manner and provide assistance and direction within the office, register and schedule patients for all necessary appointments, maintain patients’ medical records, participate in cross coverage, participate in meetings and training as necessary, maintain confidentiality of protected health information, collaborate with providers to develop the master schedule, as well as enter and update the schedule in the electronic medical record as needed. 

The ideal candidate will have the knowledge acquired in a high school education, a minimum of one year of related or expansive work experience in a mental health office, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Desired qualifications include completion of a healthcare assistant certificate or college course work in a health care related field or business or certification as a medical assistant. Knowledge of computer software including Microsoft Office Suite, patient scheduling software and Athena EHR are also preferred. Excellent interpersonal skills are needed to interact with students, visitors and clinicians.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS portal.

Reminder to Take Advantage of Optional MSU Benefits and Resources

Like many, during the pandemic your family has probably experienced an increased need for virtual health care options, mental health resources, and opportunities to save money. MSU is committed to offering valuable benefits to support you and your family, especially during this difficult time. As a benefits-eligible employee, you’re probably aware of MSU’s health and dental care benefit options. However, on top of those, there are a wide range of optional benefits we’d like to remind you about as well.

Beyond meeting your health care needs, these optional benefits can help you save money on needed products and services, all while staying safe with virtual or socially distanced options. We realize keeping track of all these different resources can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve created the following recap to jog your memory with links to more detailed information to learn more.

This infographic provides a quick summary of these optional benefits (click the image for a downloadable PDF version):

Optional benefit programs available:

  • Teladoc: virtually speak with a doctor 24/7 via web, phone or mobile app. They can even write you a prescription if necessary. Employees have described Teladoc as “a game changer,” and particularly helpful during the pandemic (read employee experiences here). If you haven’t already, we recommend you sign up for Teladoc now, so you’re prepared when you need it.
  • Livongo: this diabetes management program provides free supplies delivered right to your door whenever you need it and support with optional virtual coaching. Save time and money on needed supplies, while staying safe at home. Read an employee’s perspective on Livongo and find instructions to sign up.
  • Best Doctors: get medical advice from experts on your specific medical condition and feel empowered to make the best choice possible for your care. Their Behavioral Health Navigator tool offers expert advice on the diagnosis and treatment options for mental health conditions. Learn more about how Best Doctors can help during the pandemic.
  • Voluntary Benefits and Employee Discounts: these are optional benefits offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Find insurance offerings such as vision, long-term care, legal, pet, home/auto, and critical illness (some have enrollment periods). Additionally, there are a variety of discounts on everything from electronics, home goods, meal delivery services and much more.
  • On-Campus Services: save time by getting your MRI, x-ray, or CT scan done right on-campus at MSU Radiology or have the MSU Pharmacy deliver your prescriptions directly to your home if you live within 30 miles of campus (on-campus delivery still available for free). MSU Pharmacy also has a new on-campus location you can visit with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

You might not always need or think of these resources, but keeping them tucked away can make it easier and more cost-effective to manage your family’s health. As always, if you have any questions about these benefits options, please visit the HR website to learn more or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.