Benefits Information

The members of the Chapter Benefits Committee will continue to review and update the information on benefits available to retirees and other annuitants in issues of The Annuitant, here on the chapter website, and on the chapter Facebook page.

Current Critical Information

Claims Payment Delays
Funding availability for the Quality Care Health Plan, HealthLink OAP, Aetna OAP and Quality Care Dental Plan is based on State revenue which fluctuates from month to month. Claim payments are released according to available funding. Due to a large bond issued by the State in November 2017, CMS was able to fund group health insurance and reduce a portion of the payment backlog. This is a reminder that updated information regarding such delays appears on the CMS website A late payment will include an interest payment on claims that take longer than 30 days. As of August, 2022, claims are all being paid on a timely basis.

Benefits Choice Periods
CMS has hired an online vendor to assist with the administration of the State’s insurance programs. Members will view and make changes to their coverage through the MyBenefits Marketplace website. According to the SURS website, SURS will no longer assist with processing health insurance coverage for its members, but members have the option to call a State group insurance customer service representative (1-844-251-1777) or TTY 1-844-251-1778). Detailed information will be included in the Benefits Choice materials. Each Benefits Choice Period provides an option to Opt-Out of coverage. It is important to note that choosing to opt out of coverage can have considerable impacts and all CMS information should be carefully reviewed when considering this choice.

The Central Management Services Benefits Choice period for Medicare-eligible annuitants and their Medicare-eligible dependents is November 1 - November 30 and always coincides with the federal Medicare choice period.  An annuitant who is Medicare-eligible will not qualify for this period if that annuitant has a dependent who is not eligible for Medicare on the annuitant's health insurance through the State.  During the Benefits Choice period, an annuitant may choose to opt out of health insurance.  When opting out, an annuitant may lose other benefits such as vision and prescription coverage.  Be sure to read the CMS information carefully before making a decision.  Thus far any annuitant and/or dependent must be Medicare-eligible before the beginning of the Benefit Choice period, the date being determined by the Medicare system.

The Benefit Choice Period for annuitants and dependents who are not Medicare eligible will likely be May 1 to May 31, with changes effective July 1. CMS will release information regarding options closer to the beginning of the spring Benefit Choice period.

Special note for those who previously opted out of health benefits: A new law is now in place that allows you to opt back in during your Benefits Enrollment period or during a qualifying event that changes your status. See the TRAIL website.

Most state retiree health insurance plans fully cover the cost of flu shots, which are available at some pharmacies, doctors' offices, clinics, and at the UI's McKinley Health Center. Please note: a high dose flu shot designed especially for seniors was available in some locations but it is unlikely to be available at McKinley, so check ahead before selecting a provider for your flu shot.

Perks available to those in the C-U area

I-card alert: : The classic original I-card is now invalid as of February 1, 2019! If you still use your I-card for identification or card-based service, and it is the classic version (white background with I-card logo in the upper left corner), you should replace it. For more information on how to replace your old I-card, or to obtain an I-card if you don't have one, visit the I-card website or call the ID center located in the Illini Union Bookstore (corner of Wright and Daniel) at 217-244-0135. Bring another form of ID.

Some benefits will be principally for those living in the Champaign-Urbana area.  These include the following: 

Access through I-Cards.  Retirees with I-Cards have access to many discounts or special programs on campus, in the community, and as far away as Chicago and Springfield. A list of participating merchants is posted here. In addition, the I-Card serves as a free pass on any Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) bus.

Other retiree benefits: The Office of Human Resources posts a Guide to Benefits and Services available to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Retirees on their web site: The guide includes such items as (a) benefits associated with I-Cards; (b) access to Faculty/Staff Assistance Services; (c) clinics in departments on the UIUC campus providing various services and (d) programs and facilities available to promote fitness and improved health -- some are listed below.

General note on university building access. Public spaces on campus (the Union, the Library, Museums, Krannert Center) allow visitors. There are no COVID-19 vaccination/testing requirements for visitors. However, everyone is encouraged to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if they are able to do so. If visitors are unvaccinated, they are welcome to utilize the SHIELD CU testing program. All visitors must wear masks.

At some facilities (academic buildings), you may be required to show your building access screen (which shows if you are compliant via being vaccinated or testing, by using the Safer Illinois app or the Boarding Pass). The Boarding Pass system accesses both the Safer Illinois testing data and any vaccination cards you may have uploaded and creates a page you may print out and bring to gain access to a building. You are not required to share or prove your vaccination status at the point of building access. The building access screen only shows if someone is compliant or not – either through vaccination or testing. This is to protect everyone’s private health information.

All students, faculty, staff and visitor participating in on-campus activities start with their building access status set to Access Denied. To initially have your status changed to Access Granted, you must have a recent negative COVID-19 on-campus test result OR a university-verified Vaccination Record Card.

University Library. Access to the University Library is currently unrestricted despite COVID-19; face coverings, of course, are required. You may check out materials (books, dvds) with a valid I-card, or you may apply for a courtesy library card. Access to online databases and resources, such as newspapers, genealogical websites, and online journals is available from computers in the library to anyone; however, to access these materials online from an off-campus site, you must have emeritus status and a valid I-card or be an active particpant in the OLLI program. See for more details about library access.

Employee Assistance Program.  The services of the Faculty Staff Assistance Program are available free of charge for employees, retirees and family members or significant others living in their households.  Services include assessments, short-term counseling, crisis services, and referrals to appropriate resources.  The offices are located at 1101 West Springfield, Urbana.  (Phone 217-244-5312, website Donations to support this program are welcome and can be made through their website or by mailing a personal check (indicate Faculty and Staff Emergency Fund in memo line) to: University of Illinois Foundation 1305 West Green Street, MC-386 Urbana, IL 61801.

Audiology Clinic and Speech-Language Pathology Clinic in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. The Audiology Clinic (217-333-2230) provides services to individuals of all ages who may be experiencing hearing difficulties, with such services including hearing assessment. The Speech-Language Pathology Clinic (217-333-2205) serves individuals of all ages who have communicative impairments. Further information is available on the departmental website


Fitness/Exercise Programs & Facilities

SilverSneakers Programs
Some State-provided health plans for retirees over 65 include coverage for the SilverSneakers program. Note, United Healthcare's Trail plan has dropped Silver Sneakers as of January 1, 2021. They have a new plan in place). All SilverSneakers members have access to facilities and wellness programs throughout the country. For a listing of facilities and more information, visit the SilverSneakers website.

The Lifetime Fitness Program
This program is sponsored by the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and is designed for residents of the Champaign-Urbana area who are age 55 or older The program has also teamed up with Silver Sneakers, thus giving access to facilities and some classes at no cost and providing a discount for other classes. Activities include group fitness, individual training and aquatics. Members of OLLI receive a 20% discount on fees. Further information can be found at:

Campus Recreation
Retirees may continue (or start!) using Campus Recreation facilities such as CRCE and the ARC for an annual fee of $480 which can be paid by having a monthly fee of $40 deducted from their SURS annuity. Your spouse/partner can be added for an annual fee of $276. More information about membership is available at the Campus Recreation website:

Walking in UI Armory
NOTE: Walking is not permitted in the Armory at this time due to COVID-19. Previously, seniors 55 and over could purchase a lifetime registration for $25 rather than pay the $3 daily. For membership information, visit the athletics website or call 217-333-8333 for further information.

Travel Discounts

Your i-card can be used for significant discounts at many hotels and rental car agencies. For up-to-date information on participating companies and how to obtain your discounts, visit the OBFS travel information page.

Staying Informed About Your Benefits

Within SUAA, you can visit the state web site at and the Chapter website here. We recommend that you contact Central Management Systems concerning questions about health care benefits and the State Universities Retirement System about your annuity.  The contact information for those offices and further information about what is available on the SURS website is shown below.

Central Management Services (CMS)
Employees Benefits pages for State Employees:
Phone: : 800-442-1300 TTY: 866-277-5669

CMS uses your information on file with SURS.  Thus, you should remember to keep your personal information up to date with SURS

State Universities Retirement System (SURS):
Phone:  800-ASK-SURS (800-275-7877) or 217.378-8800.
Fax: 217.378-9800
Mailing Address:  SURS, P.O. Box 2710, Champaign, IL 61825-2710
Street Address:  1901 Fox Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820

The SURS home page provides access to a number of topics of interest to our members. Retirees can register at the “Member Website Login” link at the top of the home page. Once registered, you will have a personal homepage with information about your annuity and payment history. You can also change your address, beneficiaries, phone number/email address and federal tax withholding status. SURS also has a kiosk computer station in their lobby for its members.

My Benefits Marketplace
Phone: 844-251-1777 or 844-251-1778 (TTY)
MyBenefits is an online vendor that administers the State’s insurance programs. Any changes to members’ insurance coverage is now done through the MyBenefits Marketplace website. Select "State Employees Group Insurance Program".

Trail (Total Retiree Advantage Illinois)
Phone: 844-251-1777 or 844-251-1778 (TTY) (same as My Benefits Marketplace) Trail is the Medicare advantage program run by the state for annuitants who are eligible for Medicare. The Trail website has useful information about options, costs, and coverage. Email:

Last Updated on September 20, 2022
Web Master: C. Livingstone