Insurance FAQs

1. What kind of insurances are available?
2. What is the cost of insurance?
3. How do I qualify for insurance?
4. What dependents are eligible for coverage?
5. Will insurance be available to my beneficiary after my death?
6. If I defer my retirement, will I qualify for insurance?
7. When do I qualify for Medicare?
8. When does the insurance go into effect?
9. When will I get my new insurance cards, and what do I do in the meantime?
10. How can I change my insurance effective date?
11. Can I enroll in the insurance coverage later if I do not enroll at retirement?

1. What kind of insurances are available?
 

When you retire, you may enroll yourself and your eligible dependents in the Retirees' State Health Plan PPO, State Dental Plan, and State Vision Plan. These plans are the same as those offered to retired State employees.

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2. What is the cost of insurance?
 

For all trial court judges (Circuit, District, Probate) - you would pay the total premium for the State Health Plan PPO as well as the State Dental and Vision Plans.

For all non-trial court appellate judges and elected/appointed officials (including Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices) - you would pay the total premium for the State Dental and Vision Plans. Your cost for the State Health Plan PPO would be 20% of the monthly premium prior to age 65; at age 65 and thereafter there would be no cost. At age 65 your coverage under the State Health Plan PPO becomes supplementary to Medicare and you would be responsible for the Medicare co-pay.

For all members - Contact your Judiciary Human Resources office or the Office of Retirement Services for current retiree insurance rates. The insurance premiums are deducted from your monthly pension check. If your insurance premiums exceed your pension payments, ORS will create a monthly payment plan for you. You will be notified in advance of any rate changes, which typically occur in October.

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3. How do I qualify for insurance?
 

All pension recipients are eligible to enroll in medical and dental/vision, coverage upon retirement or at a later date.

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4. What dependents are eligible for coverage?
 

The following people are eligible to enroll in the insurance plans as dependents:

  • Your spouse.
  • Your unmarried children through the end of the month in which they reach age 19. 
  • Children must be members of your immediate family by birth or adoption or other children who live with you in a parent-child relationship and are dependent on you for support.
  • Your child from age 19 through the last day of the month he or she reaches age 26 or graduates, whichever comes first, if he or she is an unmarried student who is enrolled at least half time in an accredited educational institution and is dependent on you for financial support.  
  • Your child age 19 or older who is physically or mentally handicapped and dependent according to Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code. Proof of dependency must be submitted at the time of application, including (1) a letter from the attending physician stating the child is handicapped and incapable of self-sustaining employment, and (2) a copy of the page of the IRS form 1040 which identifies the name of the dependent.

If an enrolled dependent becomes ineligible for coverage, insurance(s) can be picked up under COBRA for up to three years. COBRA premiums, which are the fund cost plus an administrative fee, are paid directly to ORS.

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5. Will insurance be available to my beneficiary after my death?
 

Yes. Your beneficiary and your eligible enrolled dependents may continue medical, dental, and vision coverage after your death.

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6. If I defer my retirement, will I qualify for insurance?
 

Yes, you may enroll in the State Health Plan, dental or vision plans at the time you apply for your retirement benefits, or at a later date.

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7. When do I qualify for Medicare?
 

Generally, eligibility for Medicare occurs at age 65, unless you are disabled. At age 65, or at an earlier age if you are eligible, you must enroll in Medicare health insurance (both hospital - Part A, and medical - Part B) through the Social Security Administration to maintain maximum benefit coverage. Your Judges Retirement System  health coverage adjusts automatically to supplement Medicare coverage at age 65. From that point on, the Judges Retirement System no longer covers your expenses normally covered by Medicare.

Persons under age 65 who are receiving a Social Security disability pension become eligible for Medicare after receiving 24 months of disability benefits. Judges Retirement System health care coverage will be adjusted to supplement Medicare (both hospital - Part A - and medical - Part B).

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8. When does the insurance go into effect?
 

You can begin your coverage on your retirement effective date. If you enroll after your retirement date, your coverage begins on the first day of the month that is six months after the Judges Retirement System receives your completed application. Coverage always begins on the first day of a calendar month.

You should check with your municipality payroll office to determine when your present insurance(s) will terminate to be certain of continued coverage and prevent duplication of coverage.

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9. When will I get my new insurance cards, and what do I do in the meantime?
 

Insurance cards can take three to four weeks to arrive in the mail after we have notified the carrier. However, your insurance begins on your selected insurance effective date. If you do not have your cards on your effective date and you require services, contact the insurance carrier directly to get your policy number or to verify coverage. If you are still in the enrollment process the vendor may instruct you to contact ORS. If this happens, please contact ORS and we will let you know the status of your enrollment.

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10. How can I change my insurance effective date?
 

To change your insurance effective date, you must send a written request to the Retirement Office containing your name, Social Security Number, and your requested insurance effective date.

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11. Can I enroll in the insurance coverage later if I do not enroll at retirement?
 

Yes. If you choose to enroll in insurance coverage at a later time, your coverage will begin six months following the date ORS receives your completed insurance application and proofs.  Insurance always begins on the first day of a calendar month.  If you have a qualifying event and notify ORS within 30 days of the qualifying event, your coverage can begin the first of the month following the date ORS receives your completed insurance application and proofs. Qualifying events include:

  • Adoption: Acceptable proof is adoption papers, a sworn statement with the date of placement, or a court order verifying placement. In a legal adoption, a child is eligible for coverage as of the date of placement. Placement occurs when you become legally obligated for the total or partial support of the child in anticipation of adoption.
  • Birth: Acceptable proof is a birth certificate.
  • Death: Acceptable proof is original death certificate.
  • Divorce: Acceptable proof is divorce papers.
  • Marriage: Acceptable proof is a marriage certificate.
  • Involuntary loss of coverage in another group plan: Provide a statement on letterhead from the terminating group insurance plan explaining who was covered, why coverage is ending, and the date coverage ends.

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