Retiring and Retirees

Wake Forest offers health coverage to qualifying retirees and their eligible family members. Below are some frequently asked questions about retiring from the university. For further information regarding the retirement process, please go to the Retiree Checklist and schedule an appointment with Benefit Advocates by calling the Retiree Benefits Helpline at 336.758.6233 or 855.733.5201.

If you are a retiree on our retiree medical, dental, and/or vision plan, please call or email Benefit Advocates at 336.758.6233 or for any questions related to our benefit plans.

When can I retire from Wake Forest University?

Faculty and Staff members are eligible for retirement from the university when they reach:

  • age 62 and 10 years of credible service
  • age 65 and 5 years of credible service

Retirement Policy

What healthcare benefits am I eligible for when I retire?

In order to participate in the retiree health insurance plans, you must be actively employed at Wake Forest at the time of retirement and must be enrolled in the health care plans as an active faculty or staff member.  Your spouse must also be enrolled in your plan(s) to participate.  Faculty and Staff under age 65 at full retirement can remain on BCBSNC medical, ACS dental and Superior Vision vision plans, if elected. Faculty and Staff age 65 and older at full retirement can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan through Towers Watson’s OneExchange, ACS dental and Superior Vision vision plans, if elected.

When do I enroll in Medicare?

Medicare Part B (doctor visits and outpatient care) enrollment is required when you first become eligible at age 65 to avoid a late enrollment penalty.  You may delay enrollment without penalty if you continue working when you turn 65, and you remain on the University’s active group medical insurance plan.  If you are on your spouse’s employer’s active group medical insurance plan, please check with that employer to insure you can remain on their plan at age 65.

Medicare Part A (in patient hospital stays) enrollment is optional until full retirement.  There is no charge for Medicare Part A coverage.  If you decide to enroll in Medicare Part A prior to full retirement, please call the local Social Security Administration office at 800.772.1213. Their office is located at 1370 Lockland Avenue, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103. We recommend making an appointment before visiting their office.

What happens to my Long Term Care, Legal and Life Insurance plans when I retire?

You may convert your long term care and legal plans to direct billing within 31 days of retirement.

  • John Hancock (LTC) 800.482.0022
  • ARAG (Legal plan) 800.247.4184

If you are interested in converting to an individual policy for your life insurance plans through Wake Forest University, you will need to complete a Life Insurance Conversion form and contact NEBCO, a third-party administrator for CIGNA. NEBCO will calculate your rates which are based on your age.

  • NEBCO (third-party administrator for CIGNA) 800.423.1282

Should I meet with someone to discuss my retirement plan distribution options?

We recommend meeting with TIAA, the university’s 403(b) retirement plan investment provider several months before retirement to discuss accumulated balances, current allocations, and distribution options. You may meet with a counselor on campus or call TIAA to speak with a consultant. To make an appointment with a campus counselor please go to the PDC website.

TIAA: 800.842.2776


As a staff member, what are the pay-out limits for Paid Time Off (PTO)?

Staff members shall be paid for paid-time off as described in the PTO policy. It is recommended you speak with HR to help determine your retirement date and PTO accumulation.


All accumulated length of service awards and safety awards may not exceed $400 per person per year.  A traditional retirement gift (e.g. a personalized rocking chair, a plaque, a gold watch, etc.) is allowed in addition to and separate from all other gifts provided to an employee during the year.

The tax law treats a “typical retirement gift” as a de minimis fringe benefit, not subject to tax.

In order for the Wake Forest Service Appreciation Program to remain a Qualified Award Plan for IRS purposes,

  1. it cannot discriminate in favor of highly-compensated individuals,
  2. the non-cash gift must be awarded as part of a meaningful presentation or ceremony,
  3. the award must be for employee achievement in safety or length-of-service, and
  4. it must be awarded under circumstances sufficient to indicate it is not disguised compensation.

Service and Safety Awards presented under this policy will not be subject to federal or state taxes. If the average cost of awards provided to all individuals during the year exceeds $400 per person, then each recipient will be taxed on the excess value (or cost, if higher) over $400. A traditional retirement gift is considered de minimis and is not included in the $400 per person per year limitation.