Last fall, a retiree health care task force comprised of a broad representation from the university community, including faculty, staff, retirees and administrators, was asked to:

  • Consider alternatives for addressing rising health care costs for UNM's retiree population

  • Evaluate retiree health care eligibility criteria

  • Analyze the ratio of premium to claims for retirees under age 65

  • Recommend health care options that more closely reflect the cost of health care for the retiree population.

The task force evaluated retiree health care coverage at 18 institutions of higher education, studied the plans available through the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority, reviewed the New Mexico retirement systems solvency task force and their solvency recommendations, and explored other alternatives.

From these postretirement plan alternatives, recommendations will be implemented in three categories – benefits eligibility, premium contributions and policy changes and contributions.

  1. Benefit eligibility: Effective July 1, new hires must satisfy an age requirement of 60 and service requirement of 20 years, or an age requirement of 65 and service requirement of seven years.

  2. Premium contribution: Effective July 1, the university contribution to early retirees will be reduced by five percent, and retiree contributions will be increased five percent. The retiree contribution will increase one percent per year for five years. The one percent per year contribution is not associated with any potential increases attributable to rising premium costs.

  3. Policy changes: Effective July 1, employees who retire and are eligible to participate in UNM's retiree medical plan must enroll within 60 days from their retirement date and maintain continuous coverage thereafter. Employees retiring after July 1, 2016 must be enrolled in UNM medical insurance for five consecutive years, immediately preceding retirement, to be eligible to participate in UNM's retiree medical plan. Other policy provisions remain in effect.

To read the full retiree health care task force report and recommendations, visit the Human Resources Web site at and click Retirement, then Retirement News.

By Helen Gonzales, vice president, Human Resources