Preparing for Retirement

Preparing for retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes planning—and the sooner you start, the more time your retirement savings has to grow!

Saving for Retirement

The first step in a financially secure retirement is knowing your retirement needs. The cost of retirement is getting more expensive: we are living longer and we are more active. Social Security benefits—which replace about 40% of your income—are unlikely to cover all of your retirement needs.

Retirement Savings Plan

As a university employee, you contribute to the 403(b)/457(b) Retirement Savings Plan. In addition to the required employee contribution, you can elect additional voluntary contributions on a pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) basis. The university will match your contribution, dollar for dollar, up to 10% per pay period on the first $345,000 (in 2024) of compensation in the tax year.

The closer you are to retirement, the more important additional voluntary contributions will be to getting you to your financial goals. At age 50, you can begin making catch-up contributions to get to your goal faster.

Retiree Coverage

Before you retire, it’s important to know what your options are for retiree medical coverage. If you retire before age 65, you’ll need to consider what you’ll do for health coverage until you are eligible for Medicare.

Medicare 101

Medicare is a federal health insurance program managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). You are eligible for Medicare once you have reached age 65 (or younger, if you have a disability).

Medicare covers:

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance): inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance): doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive care.
  • Medicare Part D: prescription drugs (prescription drug coverage is not included in every Medicare plan, but it’s included in the University of Arkansas UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plan).

University-Sponsored Retiree Coverage

You may be eligible to continue coverage under certain university health plans when you retire.

  • Medical
    • Not Medicare-eligible: You can continue active employee coverage under the Classic Plan ONLY.
    • Medicare-eligible: You can enroll in the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Dental

Ready to Retire?

Call the Medicare Advantage pre-enrollment team at 800-533-2743 (TTY 711), available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Representatives are available to answer questions regarding the university’s plan or Medicare.

Countdown-to-Retirement Checklist

This checklist provides an overview of the important decisions you’ll need to make to be retirement-ready.


Whether you just started saving or you’re getting ready to retire, take advantage of the tools and resources available to you.



U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
800.MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
TTY: 877-486-2048

The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare
800.MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
TTY: 877-486-2048

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration
TTY: 202-501-3911

U.S. Social Security Administration
TTY: 800-325-0778