Retiree Insurance Benefits Overview
When you retire, you will remain enrolled in your active Windstream Benefit Plans through the end of the month in which you retire. We have three ways for you to enroll in retirement health benefits. You can wait on the enrollment form that will be mailed to you, print the enrollment form online, or call the Windstream Service Center at least 7 days after your retirement date.
Enrolling by Form Sent by Mail
Once you retire the retirement status will feed over to the Windstream Service Center and the status change will trigger a retiree enrollment packet to be mailed to you. Retiring at the beginning of a month will allow 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, just know that the coverage will begin first of the month following 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.
Medical Plans Overview
Windstream eligible retirees and dependents under age 65 may elect coverage from the Windstream Retiree High Deductible Health Plans. The insurance medical providers are Blue Cross Blue Shield or UMR. Please visit windstreambenefits.com to find out which insurance provider is cheaper by state of residence and the rates for the plans. The medical plan options available are the $1850 deductible plan, $2850 deductible plan, $4500 deductible plan, $6550 deductible plan. For pre- 65 eligible retiree and dependents, 2 packets will be mailed to you in separate mailings. One packet is for retiree insurance and other packet will be for COBRA continuation coverage. Please allow three weeks to receive the retiree enrollment packet and cobra packet. Delta Dental and VSP is our dental and vision coverage providers. The retiree Life and Accidental Death &Dismemberment coverage is offered through Standard Insurance Company.
COBRA provides certain former employees, retirees, spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of group health plan coverage at group rates. It allows you to continue your current group health plan coverage for up to18-months. Coverage may be continued longer than 18 months in certain circumstances. COBRA coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain events. You cannot elect COBRA continuation coverage and retiree insurance coverage for the same benefits. 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, 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. For retiree and/ or dependents over 65, you may receive up to 3 packets. One packet is your welcome kit from Mercer Marketplace 365 for your over 65 coverage, one packet will be for your dental, vision or life insurance benefits if you were enrolled in those benefits at the time of retirement, and a cobra continuation packet. In order to elect individual coverage through Mercer Marketplace 365, you or your dependent age 65+ must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
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.