Retired Couple Smiling

Retiree Benefits

You may be aware of the recent ruling by the PA Supreme Court regarding the termination of the Consent Decree between Highmark and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for Medicare Advantage plans, such as Freedom Blue PPO, effective July 1, 2019.  Penn State remains committed to ensuring that its Medicare-eligible retirees continue to have access to high quality providers and facilities, regardless of where they reside.  The University will inform retirees of details of the 2019 Medicare Advantage plan as soon as possible.


Retiree Resources
Resources for All Retirees
University Health Services Pharmacy Retiree Billing Lifetime Benefit Solutions Website
2019 Rates Retiree Summary Plan Document
Dental & Vision Options for Retirees with PARSE FAQs
Non-Medicare Eligible Summary of Benefits
2019 PPO Plan Overview of Coverage Grid 2019 PPO Savings Plan Overview of Coverage Grid
2018 PPO Plan Schedule of Benefits 2018 PPO Savings Plan Schedule of Benefits
Becoming Medicare Eligible Resources Freedom Blue Resources
Freedom Blue Informational Packet Freedom Blue Website
Freedom Blue Application 2018 Highmark Freedom Blue Network Sharing
2018 Freedom Blue Summary of Benefits 2018 Freedom Blue Annual Notice of Change

2019 Retiree Plan Information

  • Non-Medicare eligible retirees will remain with Aetna and CVS in 2019 for the PPO Plan and the PPO Savings Plan
  • Medicare-eligible retirees will remain covered under the Highmark Freedom Blue PPO for 2019

Below are electronic copies of the letters being mailed to retiree homes the week of October 29, 2018. Please click on the letter that is applicable to your retiree status.

Highmark will be issuing new identification cards to all members enrolled in Freedom Blue PPO. Please know there is no change to your information.

    Retiring and Over Age 65-Creditable Prescription Coverage

    If you are over the age of 65, you may receive a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services stating “it appears you did not have prescription drug coverage that met Medicare’s minimum standards.”  The letter goes on to indicate you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.

    If you receive this letter, please complete the form and send it back to Highmark. They will adjust their records accordingly to ensure they reflect your creditable coverage during the time you were enrolled in a Penn State sponsored medical plan.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact HR Services at 814.865.1473.

    Retiree Request for Change Form

    If you wish to refuse medical coverage, you must complete the Retiree Request for Change Form. Retirees who refuse coverage will not be able to re-enroll at a later date.

    If your eligible dependent loses coverage and needs to enroll in the Penn State Retiree Medical Benefits as your dependent, please complete the Retiree Request for Change Form. If your dependent is also Medicare eligible, they will also need to complete a Freedom Blue application and provide a copy of their Medicare card outlining the Part A and Part B effective dates.

    If you have a dependent child turning age 26, you may be eligible to continue the dependent child coverage if that dependent is physically or intellectually handicapped, so as to be incapable of earning a living when coverage would normally terminate due to age. In order to receive the needed information regarding coverage for a dependent child over the age of 26, you will need to contact HR Services, (814) 865-1473, to initiate a request on the process. Once you initiate the request, Penn State Employee Benefits will be in touch with further information.

    After a dependent child is no longer eligible under your retiree plan, they will receive information from Lifetime Benefit Solutions regarding continuation of benefits under COBRA.

    Retiree Billing Process

    We have contracted with Lifetime Benefit Solutions to administer, bill, and collect the health care premiums from all of our retirees who have the Penn State medical benefit. 

    Important Notes for Retiree Billing Process

    • ACH forms need to be completed with Lifetime Benefit Solutions.
    • ACH withdrawals will now be taken monthly.
    • Penn State ID’s can be used instead of SSN for Member Portal and ACH-just call Lifetime Benefit Solutions (800) 828-0078.

    Retiree Davis Vision Discount Program

    Retirees can take advantage of a FREE vision discount program available through Davis Vision. Enjoy discounts on eyeglasses, accessories, and examinations. Simply present the card at a participating Davis Vision provider.

    Davis Vision discount pricing is available to anyone enrolled in a Highmark medical plan. See our guide for how to access the Davis Vision Member Portal.

      Retiree ID Card

      In accordance with HR102, all retirees will be required to surrender their active Faculty/Staff id+ card to their department supervisor. Retirees who meet the years of service requirement are eligible to obtain a new Retiree id+ card after their official retirement date.  For more information, please visit Penn State id+ website.

      Educational Privileges

      All faculty, staff, technical service employees, and retirees who have a dependent child or spouse receiving or applying for the Grant-In-Aid tuition discount benefit:

      Please be aware that you MUST complete a new Grant-In-Aid form prior to EACH semester or summer session in which the Grant-in-Aid is to be applied. Grant-In-Aid will not be applied retroactively to previous semesters.  Retirees must complete a paper form, which is located in the Additional Resources section below.

      Please contact HR Services if you have any questions regarding the Grant-in-Aid benefit. Your inquiry may be forwarded to Penn State Employee Benefits if additional information is needed. After your Grant-in-Aid request is approved, you will see the discount reflected on your next student account statement in LionPATH.

      If you have not already completed the dependent verification program for a dependent, you will be required to do so in order to maintain the dependent tuition discount. For information on dependent verification, please review dependent verification information or contact HR Services.

      For more details about the dependent verification program please refer to Eligibility and Dependent Information. Dependents who do not successfully complete the verification will have the tuition discount removed from their accounts and will be responsible for the entire tuition amount.


      Educational privileges are available to Penn State retirees eligible to retiree with benefits according to HR54, their spouse, and their dependent children up to the age of 26. The grant-in-aid benefit is a 75% discount on the tuition charge and applies to World Campus, Penn State resident instruction at all campuses, and Pennsylvania College of Technology. Please see University policies HR36 and HR37 for additional information.


      Educational privileges DO NOT apply to courses offered through:

      • The College of Medicine, Medical School Program and Physician's Assistant Program, at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
      • The Smeal College of Business Administration Executive MBA Program
      • The Dickinson School of Law and Penn State Law

      Summer camps or workshops operated by the University unless University credit is given and regular tuition is charged


      A spouse, except one receiving educational assistance from the University, such as a graduate assistantship, is eligible for the grant-in-aid under a Penn State retiree. There is no limitation on the number of credits that may be taken.  All levels of degrees may be earned. Tuition discounts on Graduate level classes for a spouse are a taxable benefit. For more information regarding taxation on Graduate level courses for a spouse, please visit the controller's office FAQ.


      Dependent children are eligible for grant-in-aid under a Penn State retiree. The grant-in-aid applies only toward undergraduate credits only until a Penn State bachelor's degree is attained. The discount does not apply toward Master's level class or higher. Undergraduate classes for dependent children are not a taxable benefit. There is no semester credit limit applied to dependent children.


      Retirees wishing to use the tuition discount for themselves do not need to submit any forms. This will be an automatic process through the Bursar's office to apply the discount.

      NEW - The online form must be completed prior to EACH semester or summer session in which the grant-in-aid is to applied. Grant-in-aid will NOT be applied retroactively to previous semesters.


      Zostavax/Shingles Vaccine For Medicare-eligible Freedom Blue PPO members:

      This vaccine is covered under the Part D drug benefit. You will pay the $20 prescription copay if you receive the vaccine at a pharmacy that provides them. A great resource for you is the pharmacy at Wegman’s, who has stores across the state of Pennsylvania, for your convenience. To find a Wegman’s pharmacy near you, please use the "Find your store" feature on the Wegman's website

      If you have questions regarding coverage of the Zostavax/Shingles vaccine, please call Highmark’s Freedom Blue PPO customer service at (866) 918-5285.

      IRS Forms for 2017

      Form 1095 for the Affordable Care Act is often called the “W-2 of benefits”.

      Updated December 2016: On November 30, 2016, the IRS extended the due date for the 2016 form 1095-C reporting requirements. This means that the original deadline for issuing form 1095-C to employees has moved from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. You will receive your 2016 form 1095-C prior to the revised deadline of March 2, 2017.

      You will only receive this form if you are a benefit-eligible employee with the University. These forms are similar to your W-2 and while not required to file your 2016 tax return, they will be required when filing your taxes with the IRS in future years. The 1095-C will be mailed to your home address from Equifax, Penn State’s partner in 1095 form administration.

      1095-C FAQs

      Important Past Updates

      Geisinger Information

      For the Medicare-eligible retirees in the FreedomBlue PPO, effective March 1, 2013, ALL Geisinger physicians and hospitals will be out-of-network providers, as described within. The out-of-network benefit for the FreedomBlue PPO has a maximum out-of-pocket of $750 per person, per year.

      Learn more about your retiree benefits

      Additional Resources