• New Retirees
  • Steps to Enrolling in Retiree Health Benefits

The transition of your health benefits from active employee to retiree status does not happen automatically. Follow these steps for a smooth enrollment in retiree health benefits.

Deadline: 30 Days After Your Official Retirement Date

Ideally, you should begin the process of enrolling in retiree health benefits 30 to 60 days prior to your retirement date. Retirement processing at the Health Service System (HSS) must be completed no later than 30 calendar days after your retirement date. If you do not submit all required documentation by that deadline, you will not have HSS retiree health coverage for yourself and any covered dependents when your active employee benefits end. You must then wait until the next Open Enrollment period to enroll in HSS retiree benefits. Note: Health Service System Rules requires that to be eligible for retiree healthcare coverage the retiree must have been a member of the Health Service System at some time during their active employment. Other restrictions may apply. Contact HSS Member Services at (415) 554-1750 if you need additional information about your retiree health benefits.

STEP 1: Complete the Retirement Process with your Retirement System

Contact your retirement system. Depending on your City employment status, your retirement system will be either SFERS, CalPERS, CalSTRS or PARS. (Contact your personnel supervisor if you have questions about which retirement system you belong to.) Once your pension benefits have been processed, save copies of all the documents that you receive from your retirement system related to your retirement processing.

STEP 2: Medicare Enrollment

All retiree members and dependents enrolled in HSS medical coverage must also be enrolled in Medicare, if eligible due to age or disability. HSS requires enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B. (Some people will only be eligible for Part B.) Check with the Social Security Administration if you have questions about eligibility for Medicare. If you and/or your Medicare-eligible dependent is not yet enrolled in Medicare, HSS will complete the Social Security “Request for Employment Information” form. You must bring this form back to the Social Security office to complete Medicare enrollment. Note: There is a monthly premium paid to the federal government for Medicare Part B. When you meet with Social Security, request a letter confirming your Medicare enrollment and the date your Medicare coverage will begin.

Individuals who are not eligible for non-contributory (free) Medicare Part A are not required to enroll in Medicare Part A. In that case, you must obtain a letter from Social Security documenting ineligibility for Part A, and submit the letter to HSS. Individuals who are ineligible for Part A must still enroll in, and pay premiums for, Part B. HSS requires proof of enrollment in Medicare Part B, and the date Part B takes effect.

HSS cannot cover a Medicare eligible spouse or partner on your retiree medical coverage without proof of that dependent’s Medicare enrollment. If you have questions about Medicare enrollment for your spouse or domestic partner, contact the Social Security Administration - (800) 772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov for office locations.

If you and/or your spouse or partner are under age 65 and do not have a Social Security-qualified disability, skip to step 3. If you are not yet eligible, you do not need to enroll in Medicare at the time of your retirement. However, you will need to provide proof of enrollment in Medicare to HSS whenever you (or your dependent) becomes eligible: upon age 65, or sooner due to disability.

STEP 3: HSS Retiree Health Benefits Enrollment

Visit HSS with following documents to complete your enrollment in retiree health benefits:

  • Bring your complete retirement packet from your retirement system to HSS.
  • If you or any of the dependents you would like to enroll on your retiree health plan are Medicare eligible, you must bring a Medicare card or a letter from the Social Security Administration confirming Medicare enrollment for yourself and those dependents.
Once you are retired, you must maintain continuous enrollment in Medicare by paying all required Medicare premiums to the federal government. Also, remember to notify HSS whenever you have a change of address. (Your retirement system does not share address information.) This way HSS can notify you about any important events, like the annual Open Enrollment, and changes to your health benefits and retiree premium contributions.