Retiree Insurance Benefits Overview
When you retire, you will remain enrolled in your active Windstream Medical, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance Plans through the end of the calendar month in which you retire. Following retirement, you have access to the following suite of benefit programs provided you were enrolled in them as an active employee at the point of retirement and meet the age and service requirements to be a retiree.
- Life Insurance
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Enrollment in both the Retiree and COBRA programs are managed by teams at Mercer. They will be able to assist you 10 business days after your retirement when the information makes it to them. Mercer will not be able to assist you until your retirement information arrives via a weekly file feed from Windstream.
Once you retire, your retirement record will feed over to the Windstream Service Center and the status change will trigger a retiree enrollment packet and a COBRA packet to be mailed to you. Retiring at the beginning of a month will allow the most time to receive enrollment info and make benefit choices during the last few weeks of active coverage. If you choose to retire at the end of the month, please know that the coverage will still begin the first of the month following your retirement date, but administratively it takes at 3-4 weeks to mail information, make choices, and mail benefit selections back to the Windstream Benefits Service Center.
Benefit Plan Overview
Windstream eligible retirees and dependents under age 65 may elect coverage from the Windstream Retiree High Deductible Health Plans and those age 65+ can shop for Medicare supplement plans via the Mercer Exchange. For pre- 65 retirees, 2 packets will be mailed to you one packet is for retiree insurance and other packet is for COBRA continuation coverage. For age 65+ retirees, you may receive 3 packets – one for the Mercer Exchange for Medicare products, one for Windstream group retiree dental, vision, and life insurance, and one for COBRA. Please allow three weeks to receive all enrollment packets so you can compare costs and options.
COBRA continuation coverage allows you to continue only your medical, dental and vision insurance for a limited period of time. Retiree insurance coverage allows you to continue your medical (up to age 65), dental and vision insurance as long as you continue to pay for coverage. If you are interested in maintaining your medical, dental, or vision coverage for longer than 18 months, you may want to consider electing retiree insurance coverage for those benefits (although there are not any guarantees of its continuation into the future).
At age 65 or older, you will have the option to select individual medical insurance coverage through Mercer Marketplace 365. Mercer Marketplace 365 is not an insurance company; they provide an “insurance exchange” that allows individuals to choose coverage that best meets their needs and budget from leading health insurance carriers. Mercer Marketplace 365 will mail you a welcome kit when your date of retirement is communicated by Windstream to Mercer Marketplace 365. The welcome kit provides detail about your new health care options, instructions on how to setup a consultation, and explains how your Mercer Marketplace 365 Benefits Counselor will assist you with your enrollment.
Here are few ways to research and reach out to the Social Security Administration:
- To enroll in Medicare coverage, visit www.socialsecurity.gov on the web, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
- To learn more about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov on the web, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
- You may also go to your local Social Security Administration and talk to someone in person.