Ask Benny: Retiring from Penn? We’ve got you covered

Dear Benny,
I’m approaching my 15-year mark at the University as a monthly paid employee. Along the way, I’ve heard about a medical benefit but cannot find any information addressing it on the Human Resources web site. Here’s what I recall: You must work at Penn for 15 consecutive years to become fully vested; the benefit becomes active when you reach age 55, regardless of your current employer; you may choose to buy into the University’s medical plan pool at the rate of other Penn employees.

Benny, please let me know if I’m hanging on for hope or hanging out to dry.
— Looking Forward to Retirement

Dear Anticipating,
Good news: You can keep hope alive—at least as long as you stay here.

Human Resources has confirmed most of your vague recollection. People who retire from Penn between age 55 and age 61 with 15 years of continuous full-time service, or people who retire at age 62 or older with 10 years’ service, can receive retiree medical benefits from Penn.

Retirees under age 65 receive the same benefits current faculty and staff enjoy. Once you reach 65, you may choose traditional Medicare coverage with supplemental insurance from Penn or a Penn-sponsored Medicare HMO. All retirees pay a portion of the premium for whatever plan they choose; retirees over 65 must also enroll in and pay the premium for Medicare Part B.

For more information about this and all other Penn benefits, visit, click on “Benefits,” then click on “Summary Plan Descriptions.”

Got a question for Benny? You can ask Benny about benefits, worklife issues, University history or trivia, or other matters pertaining to life at Penn. Send it via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106. A Current coffee mug goes to those whose questions we publish.

Originally published on March 18, 2004