Benefits available to City retirees
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If you receive a retirement or pension allowance from the Boston Retirement Board, you are eligible to take part in the City of Boston health and life insurance.Family members:
If you are eligible for health insurance, you may also cover your family members. Eligible family members include:
- children, until they reach age 26
- your spouse (as defined by Massachusetts state law), and
- any disabled children you have over the age of 26. They need to depend on you for principal support and be unable to earn a living due to their mental or physical condition. The disability needs to have started before age 19 (or before age 26 if they still depended on you for principal support), and your child must continue to meet the plan’s definition of "disabled." Contact your health plan directly to confirm disability status.
If you wish to enroll family members, you must provide documents that verify their eligibility:
- For your spouse, you need to provide a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the town or city where you were married.
- For your children, you must provide a certified copy of their birth or adoption certificates, or legal guardian paperwork. We will accept a birth or hospital announcement if a child was born within the last 30 days.
- We also need Social Security Numbers for your spouse and dependents.
Effective July 1, 2011, Massachusetts law mandated that all cities and towns require retirees age 65 and older to apply for Medicare Parts A and B. If eligible, these retirees must also transfer to a Medicare plan to continue their health insurance coverage.
- the spouses of retirees
- Medicare-eligible dependent children (if they are disabled), and
- surviving spouses.
If you are eligible to receive Medicate Part A for free, you must enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B. To learn more, review the Medicare and your City of Boston health insurance fact sheet.
Non-Medicare Health Plans
If you are retired but are not eligible for Medicare, you may remain enrolled in one of the City's non-Medicare health plans. The health plan options and retiree contributions are the same as that of active employees.
Non-Medicare Plans contact info
By law, all retirees, spouses, and dependents of retirees who are eligible for Medicare must:
- apply for Medicare Parts A and B, and
- transfer to a Medicare plan to continue health insurance coverage.
We offer six Medicare plans to supplement Medicare Parts A and B for our retirees.
- View the Medicare comparison chart (Effective July 1, 2021)
Please submit completed applications and supporting documents (such as marriage certificate or birth certificate) to the Health Benefits and Insurance Office. Forms can be faxed, emailed, or mailed:
Health Benefits and Insurance
Boston City Hall, Room 807
Boston, MA 02201
Medicare Plans contact info and forms
Blue Cross Blue Shield
BCBSMA Medex 2 with Blue Medicare RX PDP:
BCBSMA Managed Blue for Seniors:
BCBSMA Medicare HMO Blue:
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Harvard Pilgrim Enhance with Aetna SilverScript PDP:
- HPHC Medicare Enhance Schedule of Benefits
- HPHC Medicare Enhance Prescription Drug Coverage
- HPHC Medicare Enhance w/ SilverScript PDP Formulary
Tufts Health Plan
Tufts Medicare Preferred Supplement:
- Tufts Medicare Preferred PDP - Summary of Benefits
- Tufts Medicare Preferred Supplement - Plan Highlights
- Tufts Medicare Preferred PDP - Formulary
Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO:
Basic Term Coverage:
The City offers a group term life insurance to employees and retirees in the amount of $5,000. The City and the employee or retiree each pay for half of the cost for the benefit.
Optional Life insurance:
Employees can also take part in additional term life insurance coverage based on their salary. The maximum insurance amount is $74,000. We base the cost on an employee’s age, and the employee pays the full amount.
After you retire, the cost increases to $3.95 for every $1,000 worth of coverage. Coverage ends at age 75, at which time all benefits end with the City of Boston. You are then able to convert your coverage into a Boston Mutual plan.
Dental and vision
The City does not offer dental coverage for retirees, but you may be eligible to continue your dental benefits for up to 36 months with COBRA. Employees who were enrolled in the Massachusetts Public Employees Fund will receive their COBRA coverage information by mail from the Fund.
Boston Public Schools workers who were enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental Blue plan will receive COBRA coverage information by mail from the Health Benefits office.
A small number of employees may opt to take part in a dental and vision plan through their union. These unions include:
- the Boston Teachers Union
- the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association
- the Boston Police Superior Officers Association
- the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, and
- the Boston Firefighters L718.
Employees in these unions should contact their union representative for more information about eligibility as a retiree.
Savings and Investment Benefits
Flexible Spending Accounts
These programs allow employees to set aside a portion of their paycheck tax-free to pay for expenses, including:
- dependent care
- medical and dental care, and
- work-related parking fees and mass transit.
The result is a reduction in your taxable income, which will give you an increase in your take-home pay.
- Annual Enrollment for Flexible Spending is every fall, with coverage effective on January 1.
- Enrollees retiring before the end of the plan year on December 31 may use their debit card up to their retirement date.
- After retirement, retirees have until the end of the plan year to submit paper claims for services they used before their retirement date.
- Please plan ahead when you enroll in Flexible Spending in the year that you retire to ensure you do not lose money.
We offer three types of retirement planning programs:
City workers are welcome to join the City of Boston Credit Union. The credit union offers competitive interest rates, club discounts, and other benefits.
If you receive a benefits billing statement related to your City of Boston health or life insurance, you have two options to pay for the coverage:Make a check out to 'City of Boston':
1 CITY HALL SQUARE
Attn: Health Benefits and Insurance
Boston, MA 02201
- Visit our payment website. Please refer to your Benefits Billing Statement. Complete the requested information to submit your payment online.
- Payments made by electronic check / ACH are not subject to a service charge. The online credit card service charge is 2.75 percent of the total payment ($1 minimum).
- Upon receipt of your payment, it will be processed and posted to your account within two to four business days.
NOTE: If you are receiving an active paycheck or pension, your deductions will not be affected.
Medicare Part A - Hospital Inpatient Insurance
The insurance helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice, and home health care. This is not for long-term care, and limits apply.
If you are eligible for Medicare, Part A is FREE.
Medicare Part B - Medical Out-Patient Insurance
This insurance helps cover doctors’ services, hospital outpatient care, and home health care. It also helps cover some preventive services. Please keep in mind:
- Most people pay the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium ($121.80 in 2016).
- Higher Part B premiums (Income-related Monthly Adjustment Amounts) may apply to some retirees based on their income level.
- If you collect a Social Security check, your premium will be withheld from your check.
- If you do not collect a Social Security check, you will be billed on a quarterly basis for your premium. You must pay this invoice or you will lose your Medicare and your Medicare plan through the City.
Glossary of Terms
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
A plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who contract with the HMO. It generally will not cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO requires you to live in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMO plans also require a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist.
Value Network HMO
A plan that excludes the highest cost providers, as determined by the health insurance provider, and includes only lower-cost providers that meet a certain quality threshold.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
A plan in which you pay less to use providers that belong to the plan’s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network for an additional cost. PPO plans do not require a PCP referral for a specialist visit.