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Employee Benefits

Retirement/Medicare FAQs

Who is eligible for retirement coverage?

To be eligible for retirement coverage, you must:

  • Be drawing an annuity through a participating retirement system.
  • For employee hired prior to June 30, 2022, must be enrolled in the plan on their last day of employment.
  • For employees hired after July 1, 2022, must be enrolled in the Plan for at least five (5) cumulative years.
What do I need to do to enroll in coverage?

The retiree packet contains all forms and information needed to enroll in retirement coverage.  

2024 Arkansas State Employee Retiree Packet

2024 Public School Employee Retiree Packet

When do I need to send in my paperwork?

Employee Benefits Division (EBD) will begin accepting retirement paperwork thirty (30) days prior to your retirement date.  You have until 30 days after your retirement date to enroll in retirement coverage.

What are the different plans?

Non-Medicare eligible retirees may choose between the Basic, Classic, or Premium plans.  The plans are the same as active employee coverage.

Arkansas State Employee:  

Public School Employee:

Medicare Eligible retirees may choose between the Health Advantage Primary Plan or the UnitedHealthcare Group Medicare Advantage (PPO) Plan.

When would my coverage start?

Coverage will start the first of the following month we receive your enrollment form and required documentation.  For example, if we receive your Retiree Enrollment Form on April 10th, then your coverage will start May 1st.

If you are enrolling on the UnitedHealthcare MAPD plan, you must be approved by Medicare, which can take up to 21 days.  Once you are approved for the plan, then you will start the beginning of the next month after approval.  If there is a potential gap in coverage you will be enrolled on the Health Advantage Primary Plan until you begin the MAPD plan. 

What are the different parts of Medicare?

Medicare Part A covers inpatient care at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some outpatient home health care.  Part A is free if you worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.  You may also be eligible because of your current or former spouse’s work.

Medicare Part B helps cover services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventative services.  Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B and the exact premium depends on your income level.  

Medicare Part C is known as Medicare Advantage.  It is an alternative to Parts A & B that bundles several coverage types.  This includes Parts A, B, and usually D and may also include vision, hearing, and dental coverage.  You must sign up for Parts A & B before enrolling in a Part C plan.

Medicare Part D helps cover prescription drug costs.  You must be signed up for Parts A & B before enrolling in Part D.  

If you are a state retiree on the Health Advantage Primary Plan, you do not need to sign up for Part D coverage.  

If you are a public school retiree on the Health Advantage Primary Plan, you do need to sign up for Part D coverage.

If you are a state or public school retiree on the UnitedHealthcare MAPD Group Plan, you do not need to sign up for Part D coverage.  If you do enroll in a Part D plan while on the MAPD Group Plan, you will be disenrolled and you will lose eligibility to all ARBenefits coverage.  

Can I delay my enrollment in the retirement health coverage?

Yes.  You can go be a dependent on a spouse’s employer sponsored group health plan and once you lose that coverage involuntarily, you will have 30 days to enroll in the ARBenefits retirement plan.

Can I add dependents?

Retirees can bring over any covered dependents they had as an active employee at the time of retirement. 

Certain qualifying events where the retiree gains new dependents (marriage, adoption, loss of employer sponsored group coverage) allow retirees to add those dependents within 30 days of the qualifying event date.  Retirement itself is not a qualifying event to add children/spouses.  

Can I drop dependents?

Yes, but once those dependents are dropped from retirement coverage, then they cannot come back on to the plan, even with a qualifying event.  

What if I go back to work?

Non-Medicare eligible retirees who return to work for the state or a public school district can choose to stay on their retirement coverage or enroll on to the active coverage plan.

Medicare eligible retirees who return to work must enroll in active coverage.

To maintain eligibility for ARBenefits retirement coverage you can only go back to work for a state agency or public school district in Arkansas.  

When is Open Enrollment for retirees?

The Open Enrollment period for retirees in 2024 will be November 1-30. Retirees are only able to change plans during open enrollment, changes to coverage types or adjustments to your coverage is not permitted.  Any changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective January 1 of the following year. 

NOTE: This window is different from the Medicare Open Enrollment period and you can only change ARBenefits plans during this time.

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