Retiree Benefits

Date:  May 2019

Policy: An employee who leaves College employment, having completed at least fifteen years of continuous service in a regular position after reaching age 40 (and attaining age 55) is considered a retiree of the College and eligible to participate in the retiree medical offerings outlined below. We recommend that individuals who are considering retirement arrange a meeting with Human Resources to review benefit plans.  Retirees who will be age 65+ at the time of retirement or cover a spouse age 65+ are advised to confirm their retirement date with Human Resources 2 to 3 months in advance.

Retiree Medical Benefits (under age 65). Eligible employees and their dependents who are already enrolled in a Bowdoin College medical plan when the employee retires may enroll in the medical plan in place at the time of retirement in the retiree group.  These are the same medical plans offered to active employees.  Retirees pay the same monthly cost as active employees, paying the highest contribution tier (subject to change each calendar year).

Employees anticipating retirement should be sure to enroll along with any eligible family members in medical coverage during the annual open enrollment prior to their intended retirement date because, outside of a qualified event prior to retirement, there is no opportunity to enroll or add family members to the retiree medical plan at the time of retirement or after retirement.  If retiree medical coverage is declined at the time of retirement or it is elected and later dropped, there is no opportunity for re-instatement and the retiree will not be offered benefits available to retirees age 65+.

Retiree Medical Benefits (age 65 and older).  Medical coverage for retirees under age 65 may continue until the 1st of the month in which the retiree turns age 65 and becomes Medicare eligible.  A covered spouse under age 65 can continue coverage in the medical plan in place when the retiree turns age 65 (or passes away), but must pay the full monthly cost in order to continue coverage under the spouse then turns age 65.

Retirees age 65 and older are offered enrollment in a Medicare plan of their choice through Via Benefits.  Via Benefits is the nation’s largest Medicare marketplace, operated by Willis Towers Watson.  Through Via Benefits, retirees of the College choose from Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplement Plans, and Part D Drug plans.  Via Benefits provides retirees and their eligible spouses with free advisory services to help them make informed decisions and enroll in the plan of their choice that best matches their needs, along with providing ongoing support.

Eligible retirees receive a College funded Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) in the amount of $100 a month, which can be used to reimburse themselves for the Medicare coverage they purchase, Part B premiums, or other out-of-pocket medical expenses.  To be eligible for the College funded RHRA the retiree must purchase a Medicare plan through Via Benefits.  If at any time the coverage purchased through Via Benefits is dropped, eligibility for the College funded HRA will end and there is no opportunity for re-instatement going forward.  Spouse’s pay 100 percent of the plan they purchase, but have access to the exchange services through Via Benefits.

For employees hired on or after July 1, 2019, the College will discontinue eligibility for future HRA contributions, but allow access to the guidance and choice services provided through the Via Benefits Medicare exchange.

The Bowdoin College Retirement Plan. Employees are eligible to participate in the Plan on the first day of the calendar month following the attainment of age 26 and one year of service with 1,000 hours. Employees are fully vested from the time that contributions begin. This means that 100% of the funds belong to the employee immediately, but withdrawals from the plan are not allowed until employment terminates.  More information about the Bowdoin College Retirement Plan is available in The Summary Plan Description for the Bowdoin College Retirement Plan, available in the Benefits Section at the HR Website.

A representative from Fidelity Investments visits campus on a regular basis.  Individual appointments may be made by contacting Fidelity at 1-800-642-7131.

Dental and Vision Insurance. Dental and Vision insurance is not a retiree benefit.  Coverage as an active employee ends at the end of the month following retirement.  Retirees and/or covered family members may elect coverage under COBRA continuation coverage for up to eighteen months.  COBRA must be elected within 60 days of the coverage end date.  By electing COBRA, the participant pays the full monthly cost plus 2%.

Life Insurance. Basic Life and Supplemental Life Insurance end on the last day of employment.  An individual may apply to Aetna to port the coverage as term life or to convert the coverage to a whole life policy within 31 days of their last day of work.  If elected, the retiree will pay the insurance company directly for coverage.  Life insurance amounts are reduced by 35% at age 65, 50% at age 70 and 75% at age 75 (minimum of $5,000).

Retirement Date. An employee's retirement date is the last day worked and the employee must be actively at work for at least two weeks prior to the retirement date.  This date cannot be extended by the payout of unused vacation time, College holidays, or other paid time off.  Human Resources reserves the right to review/approve retirement dates on a case-by-case basis.  Accrued but unused vacation time is paid out in the final paycheck. Sick time is not a vested benefit, and no payment for unused sick time is made at retirement. Employees may elect to donate up to half of their sick time balance to the emergency sick time bank at the time of retirement.

Retirees may continue to participate in the life of the College by attending various campus events. They may use athletic facilities by purchasing a facility pass from the Athletic Department, subject to applicable terms and conditions.

Emeritus status is an honorary designation for retired persons with a minimum of 25 years of service who have rendered exemplary contributions and services to Bowdoin College as a member of the faculty or staff.  Emeritus/Emerita status is conferred by the Trustees on the written recommendation of the Senior Officers or the President of the College and may be withdrawn by action of the Board of Trustees.  Senior officers’ written recommendations must include clear evidence of outstanding teaching and/or administrative services beyond normal expectations supported by a recognized record of professional achievement, growth, and development.

Emeritus status can also be granted posthumously with applications made on behalf of the deceased that follow the policy guidelines.

Upon receiving the title of emeritus/emerita, the former employee will be eligible to have an Emeriti ID card with library privileges, a new College email address that will contain their first initial, a period and their last name (e.g.,, invitations to campus activities, and the ability for the employee and his/her spouse to use College athletic facilities at no charge (not withstanding COVID protocols). Other benefits of emeritus status include the title of emeritus/emerita in all College publications and materials and the option to attend commencement in full academic regalia.

Casual Employment.  Retirees who have interest in working at the College as a casual employee may apply and be considered for re-hire after a break in service of greater than six months.