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Retiree Health and Dental Benefits

The State of Iowa provides health and dental coverage to eligible State retirees. 

Eligibility to Continue Insurance Benefits at Retirement


To be eligible for continuing retiree health and dental coverage, you must:

  • Be at least age 55 by your retirement date
  • Apply for a bona fide retirement and begin to receive a State of Iowa monthly pension benefit (IPERS) following termination of employment.
  • Be the policyholder of a State’s health and dental plan at the time of enrollment

If you meet the eligibility criteria above, you can continue to participate in health and dental coverage as a retiree.

If you rescind your retirement and do not receive a pension benefit, you will not be considered to have taken retirement and will not be eligible for this program.

Continuing Health and Dental Benefits at Retirement

If you are the policyholder in the State’s  health and dental plan when you retiree, you can elect:

  • Health insurance only
  • Dental Insurance only
  • Health and dental insurance

You can elect different coverage levels (single or family) between health and dental insurance.  

The same health plan provisions that govern active employees’ coverage also apply to retirees’ coverage. If a new health plan is offered to active employees, retirees have the same opportunity to elect the new plan. If a health plan is no longer offered to active employees, retirees must select a new health plan.

Applying for Retiree Health and/or Dental Insurance

  • Inform your agency’s Human Resources Associate (HRA) you are retiring. Your HRA will provide you with the appropriate retirement applications and forms. 
  • To avoid any disruption in coverage, submit the completed applications and forms to your HRA at least 30 days before your retirement date.

Effective Date of Retiree Coverage

Coverage in the active employee group will cease at the end of the month in which you retire. Your coverage as a retiree must begin the first of the month following retirement.


  • You retiree August 5
  • Your health and dental coverage as an active employee continues through the end of August.
  • Retiree health and dental coverage must begin September 1.

  You cannot postpone the beginning date of retiree health and dental coverage.  

Retiree Health Insurance and Medicare

When you retire, you are no longer on the State’s Active Employee Group but continue coverage with the State’s Retiree/Disabled Group. 

As a retiree if you or any covered family member are eligible for Medicare, the Medicare-eligible individuals must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B in order to continue State's health coverage.

Failure to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B will result in differences in the payments of claims from Wellmark and may result in a penalty from Medicare.  More information about the State's health insurance options and Medicare is at Medicare-Eligible Retirees Health Options.

Continuous Retiree Coverage

The policyholder of a State’s health or dental plan is the employee or retiree who elected the health or dental coverage. Other family members covered by the policyholder are referred to as “dependents.” 

A State retiree who is a dependent under a State policyholder’s health or dental coverage can become a policyholder as long as the dependent has maintained continuous coverage under the State of Iowa’s  health and dental plans. (The State of Iowa health and dental do not include plans offered by the Board of Regents institutions.)

Jack and Jill are married State employees. Jill is the policyholder of the State’s health and dental plans and covers Jack as a dependent under both plans.  

Both Jack and Jill retire from State employment. At this time, Jill remains the policyholder and Jack remains a dependent under Jill’s State retiree health and dental plans. 

This policyholder/dependent arrangement continues for a period of years, and Jack maintains continuous coverage under Jill’s State health and dental plans throughout that time. At some point, Jack and Jill decide to each be policyholders of the State’s health and dental plans. Jack can be a policyholder since he has had continuous coverage under Jill’s State health and dental plans. Unless they have experienced a qualified life event, the change would be transacted during the annual retiree open enrollment period and become effective January 1 of the following year. 

Surviving Spouse

If your spouse is covered under your State of Iowa's health and/or dental plans at the time of your death as a State retiree, he or she can continue health and dental coverage as a surviving spouse.

Cancellation of Retiree Health and Dental Insurance

If you are the policyholder and drop the State of Iowa health and/or dental coverage, there is no provision for rejoining the group at a later date. 

A State retiree enrolled in the Group Program F or Group Program N can drop the State’s Medicare Part D plan and elect the State’s Medicare Part D plan at a future Open Enrollment period.

Open Enrollment Period

Retirees have an annual Open Enrollment period which begins in October through December 7. 

During the Retiree Open Enrollment:

  • You can change your health plan. 
  • Add or remove eligible family members to your health coverage.
  • Add or remove eligible family members to your dental coverage.

Any changes made during the Open Enrollment period are effective January 1 of the next year.

Prior to the annual open enrollment period, DAS-HRE sends correspondence explaining health and dental plan changes or options, the following year’s premiums, and other important information to retirees. If you do not receive any information from DAS-HRE by the end of October, please call 866-895-2464 or email

Additional Information

More information about continuing your health and dental coverage as a State of Iowa retiree is available at the additional DAS RETIREE Health and Dental web pages .

Call 866-895-2464
Email the State Retiree mailbox .

The Department of Administrative Services – Human Resources Enterprise is providing this information about the State of Iowa’s benefits. The information on this web page is subject to change. Nothing herein shall be construed as a guarantee of benefits. This webpage is not a complete description of the State of Iowa’s benefit plans. Nothing on this web page supersedes or changes any of the terms and conditions of any plan documents, insurance policies, or other legal agreements. If the wording in this web page contradicts any plan documents, laws, regulations, administrative rules, insurance policies, or other legal agreements, the wording in the official documents and agreements will govern.

Last reviewed 10/22/2022