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Preparing for your early retirement

(BLET Editor’s Note: The following is a list of important Information for railroad employees eligible for GA-46000 who may be planning an early retirement. It was prepared by United Healthcare.)

When am I Eligible for Early Retirement?
Preparing for early retirement can be overwhelming, but if you understand the transition process as you move from actively working to early retirement, it will be that much easier. The first thing you must do is determine if you may be eligible to retire early from the Railroad. If you are age 60 and you have at least 30 years of service, and you are either an Age Annuitant or a Disabled Annuitant, as explained below, you may be eligible for the early retirement plan under GA-46000. If you are unsure of your eligibility for a Railroad annuity, please call your local Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or visit their website at https://secure.rrb.gov/.

Am I an Age Annuitant?
You are an Age Annuitant if you satisfy the following requirements:

· You have 30 years of service and apply for your retirement annuity on or after you reach age 60, or during the three months prior to your 60th birthday if you continue to work (or take vacation) into the month prior to the month you turn age 60, and

· You are covered for employee/dependent health benefits under The Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan or the National Railway Carriers and United Transportation Union Health and Welfare Plan (“National Railroad Plans”) other than by reason of COBRA on the day immediately before the date you applied for your annuity.

Am I a Disabled Annuitant?
You are a Disabled Annuitant if you satisfy the following requirements:

· You are eligible for a disability annuity from the RRB; and

· You are covered under the National Railroad Plans when you reach age 60; and have 30 years of service.

If you become disabled and stop working at age 58 or 59, you may qualify for GA- 46000 if:

- Your disability coverage under the National Railroad Plans extends beyond your 60th birthday, and

- You have 30 years of service.

Note that vacation pay received in a year subsequent to the year in which your disability began will extend coverage for you and your covered dependents under the National Railroad Plans.

What Other Important Criteria Should I Know Regarding Eligibility for GA-46000?
The most important thing to know regarding your eligibility for GA-46000 is that as a union member:

· You must be covered under the National Railroad Plans at the time you apply for your annuity through the RRB. The best way to ensure this is to apply while you are still employed.

· If you work in the month you retire or take vacation, you will have coverage under the National Railroad Plans for the following month. For example, if you work in October and retire in October, you are still covered under the National Railroad Plans through November. Your coverage under GA-46000 would not begin until December 1.

· Your spouse does not need to be age 60 to be eligible for coverage under GA-46000; eligibility of your dependents is based on you as an employee.

What Do I Need to Do?
If you meet the requirements to be either an Age Annuitant or a Disabled Annuitant, follow these important steps as you prepare for your early retirement:

1. Contact your local RRB office approximately 90 days prior to your retirement date to prepare for your application for retirement benefits.

2. Next, contact UnitedHealthcare at 1-800-842-5252 and ask to speak to a Retirement Specialist to request a Railroad Retirement Kit. The retirement kit contains all of the necessary information and UnitedHealthcare forms you will need to enroll for coverage under GA-46000 and GA-23111 Plan E.

3. Plan to mail all of the information listed in item 4 below to UnitedHealthcare no more than 30 days prior to your actual retirement date to the following address: UnitedHealthcare, P.O. Box 30791, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0791.

4. Mail the following completed forms to UnitedHealthcare and remember to include the Social Security Numbers for all applicants on every form that requests this information:

a. The Group Health Plan GA-46000 Application for Coverage form;

b. The Enrollment Form for Coverage under Group Policy GA-23111, if enrolling in Plan E;

c. The Notice of Qualifying Event COBRA election form if you wish to continue your vision/dental coverage;

d. The Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) form if you would like your GA-23111 Plan E payment deducted from your checking or savings account;

e. The BA-6 form you receive from the RRB; and

f. The Receipt for Claim form you receive from the RRB;

5. Payment for the first month of GA-23111 Plan E should be included with the materials noted in number 4 above, even if you plan to have the EFT automatic withdrawal process set up.

6. Once your GA-46000 and GA-23111 Plan E enrollment have been processed, you will receive new ID cards from UnitedHealthcare and Express Scripts.

What Are the Benefits of GA-46000?
The GA-46000 early retirement plan is available to you at no cost and provides a Major Medical Benefit and a Managed Pharmacy Services Benefit. The Major Medical Benefit is administered by UnitedHealthcare and provides for the following:

· The plan pays 80% of covered expenses after a $100 calendar year deductible.

· A lifetime maximum that generally increases annually at the beginning of each calendar year.

· No requirement to use in-network providers, but if you choose to do so, there is a cost savings to you.

· No preventive benefits under GA-46000, however, some are provided for under Plan E.

· No vision benefit or dental benefit, however, you can extend coverage for these benefits, up to 18 months, through COBRA which is administered by UnitedHealthcare:

- Your application for COBRA needs to be done within 60 days after your retirement date.

- UHC can mail you a COBRA form or you may obtain one from the Railroad Information Depot website (www.rrinfodepot.com).

The Managed Pharmacy Services Benefit (Rx) is administered by Express Scripts and provides for the following:

· No deductible; Rx benefits are not subject to the lifetime maximum under the medical plan.

· In-network benefit - Rx copayments are $2 and $6 retail, up to a 21-day supply; $5 mail order, up to a 90-day supply.

· Out-of-network benefit – If you go to an out-of-network pharmacy, you pay the entire retail cost at the time you have the Rx filled. The Rx benefit will reimburse you for 75% of the cost you paid, up to a 21-day supply if you submit a claim.

· If you purchase an Rx at an in-network or out-of-network pharmacy, in excess of a 21-day supply, you will receive no benefits under the Rx benefit.

What is GA-23111 Plan E?
GA-23111 Plan E is a supplemental plan to GA-46000 and is available for a monthly premium paid by you. Plan E pays 70% of eligible expenses of the 20% not covered under GA-46000. Your Plan E enrollment must be done within a 4-month period which begins in the same month your coverage under the National Railroad Plans ends. If you miss this enrollment period, you must wait until the next open enrollment period which is held each November/December of every even year.

The GA-23111 Plan E Major Medical Benefit is administered by UnitedHealthcare and provides for the following:

· $100 calendar year deductible and a lifetime maximum of $500,000 for each enrolled member.

· The $500,000 lifetime maximum under Plan E is important because the lifetime maximum under GA-46000 is limited, and in the event you, or your dependent, have a serious illness, it may not be sufficient to help cover your medical bills.

· There is some, but limited, coverage for routine and/or preventive benefits. For example:

- Pap smears and mammograms services are covered at 100%, and not subject to the deductible.

- However, an office visit charge for the preventive service is not payable under Plan E.

When Does Coverage End?
Your coverage (including the coverage of your dependents) ends under GA-46000 and GA-23111 Plan E when you, the early retiree, become eligible for Medicare. All coverage for your dependents would also end under GA-46000 and GA-23111 Plan E when you become eligible for Medicare. If your dependents are not yet eligible for Medicare when you become eligible, there are two options available to obtain dependent health care benefits.

1. Continuation of their coverage under GA-46000 is available for up to 36 months through COBRA until they become Medicare eligible, or

2. If the COBRA cost is prohibitive, you can purchase coverage under GA-23111 Plans A, B, or C, which are medical plans sponsored by all of the unions and administered by UnitedHealthcare. For more information on Plans A, B, or C visit www.rrinfodepot.com and click on the Retirement Center tab.

Summary
Although planning for your retirement can be stressful, you have many resources available to help make the process easier for you and your family. Begin by calling UnitedHealthcare at 1-800-842-5252 and ask to speak to a Retirement Specialist. They will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have, and ensure that a Retirement Made Easy Kit is mailed to you. And remember, you can also visit www.rrinfodepot.com and click on the Retirement Center tab for additional information regarding your medical coverage options as you plan to make the retirement decisions that are best for you and your family.

A PDF flyer of this document is available here:
www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/Early_Retirement.pdf

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
bentley@ble-t.org

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