MUNSTER | Town employees who meet the requirements now have the option to retire early with some health insurance coverage.
The Munster Town Council recently approved the 2013 early retirement program offer, which becomes effective today and runs through Sept. 30. The last time this program was offered was in 2010, but without the insurance component, Town Manager Tom DeGiulio said.
There are 25 town employees who qualify for the package, DeGiulio said. There are 17 eligible, nonelected employees who are age 60 or older. Eight more employees have 30 years of service regardless of age and can opt for early retirement.
“We feel it is important to employees, who are considering as part of this buyout, to offer some limits to health insurance coverage extension,” he said. “The benchmark that most individuals strive for is Medicare eligibility of 65 years of age.”
All retiring employees will receive six months of coverage at 100 percent for medical and dental insurance for the employee only. The prepaid coverage doesn’t extend to spouse, children or family plans.
After those six months, the employee can opt to continue that coverage under COBRA, for which the retiree pays the entire premium.
“Each employee will need to decide if they want to continue on the town’s insurance plan or seek a lower-cost option,” he said.
Early retirees also will receive a cash payout that is based on a number of qualifiers. These include number of years of service, the date the employee signs the cash buyout agreement, accumulated vacation days and cash out for accumulated compensatory time.
There is also a cash bonus for early signups in the first 15 days for those with 30 years or service and 20 days for those with 35 years of service. The bonus period will be from July 1 to 15.
This cash buyout will help those opting for the retirement package to pay for health care coverage under COBRA, DeGiulio said.
Depending on who elects to retire, the town will chose one of the following options: not fill the position at the current salary, modify the job duties or reorganize the departments.