What is Premium Assistance?
Participating in HOP may entitle you to a special financial incentive that is not available with a commercial program such as AARP or Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Premium Assistance is provided by PSERS to help eligible retirees pay for health coverage through HOP or another Commonwealth public school employer or district health plan. If you are eligible for Premium Assistance, PSERS will pay part of the premium for your coverage.
If you are eligible for Premium Assistance and choose HOP-sponsored medical coverage, PSERS will pay up to $100 per month for your HOP monthly premium. The amount of the Premium Assistance benefit is determined by the Pennsylvania legislature and is subject to change.
If you receive Premium Assistance, it will be added to your monthly retirement benefit. Premium Assistance is not taxable income.
If you are receiving Premium Assistance for your participation in your school employer plan and that coverage terminates, you must enroll in HOP to maintain your Premium Assistance.
If you do not enroll in HOP when your school employer’s coverage ends, you must send a written termination request to PSERS. Please contact the Premium Assistance Unit for details at 1-866-483-5509. If you do not notify PSERS, you will be billed for any overpayments made. PSERS identifies retirees who receive overpayments annually, but it is your responsibility, not your school employer’s, to notify PSERS when you are no longer enrolled in a plan approved for Premium Assistance.
Am I Eligible for Premium Assistance?
You are eligible for Premium Assistance if you are a retiree who meets one of the following requirements:
- You have at least 24½ years of credited service regardless of age, or
- You terminate school employment and retire at or after reaching age 62* with at least 15 years of credited service, or
- You are receiving a disability retirement benefit from PSERS.
Even if you meet the eligibility requirements, you cannot receive Premium Assistance if you do not choose a medical plan offered through HOP or if you do not continue to participate in your former school employer’s plan.
*Note: Age 65 with at least 15 years of credited service if you first become a school employee and an active member or a multiple service member on or after July 1, 2011 (Membership Class T-E and T-F).
Important Note About Premium Assistance
If you elect a standalone prescription drug coverage option, you are not eligible for Premium Assistance.