Skip to main content


WVU 401(a) and Supplemental Retirement Plans

WVU offers several plans to help employees save for retirement, including a mandatory 401(a) plan for benefits-eligible employees and optional supplemental plans.

Benefits-eligible employees are required to contribute 6% of their gross pay into a 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan which will be matched by an additional 6% provided by WVU. WVU also provides several supplemental, voluntary tax-deferred retirement plan options , including a 403(b) plan and 457(b) plan.

To obtain a specific estimate as to an employee’s future retirement income with the 401(a) plan, TIAA provides online tools to estimate retirement income. In addition, TIAA will also project an employee’s retirement income in a face-to-face meeting that can be scheduled by calling 800-732-8353 or 877-209-3136.

The WV State Teachers Retirement System (TRS) provides income estimates upon receipt of a completed estimate request form. The TRS estimate request forms can be requested by calling TRS at 800-654-4406. TRS will then mail the employee a form which is to be completed and returned to TRS.

Employee contributions to the 401(a) plan are tax deferred for federal and state tax purposes. The employee does not pay federal or state income tax on the contributions by the employee or WVU to the plan. Employer matching contributions are not considered taxable income. An employee does pay both Social Security and Medicare taxes on the employee’s contributions to the plan. An employee’s contributions to the 401(a) plan, therefore, do not reduce an employee’s future Social Security benefits.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of two states in the US that does tax contributions to a qualified retirement plan, such as the 401(a) plan, as income.

All employee contributions to the 401(a) plan are immediately 100% vested. Vesting simply means employees’ contributions are theirs to keep should they decide to stop working for WVU and obtain employment elsewhere. All employer matching contributions are also 100% immediately vested.

The maximum amount an employee may contribute (always the mandatory fixed contribution of 6%) is set by IRC 401(a)(17) Annual Compensation Limit. The maximum employer contributions to the 401(a) plan are set by the IRS. The annual salary limit is adjusted periodically by the IRS and does have exceptions. The limit is monitored internally and any employee with concerns should contact the benefit office if their salary exceeds the limit.

Please refer to TIAA's FAQs regarding required minimum distributions (RMD).

Retirement Eligibility

Your eligibility to retire from WVU and continue your health insurance coverage depends on which retirement vendor you participate with.

The TIAA plans establish the below eligibility:

  • Any age with 30 years of Service
  • Age 60 with at least 5 years of Service

Employees enrolled in the West Virginia State Teachers Retirement System (TRS) should contact TRS directly to determine their retirement eligibility.

The best age to retire does not exist. Only you know when to retire. This is a personal decision which depends on individual preparation and planning.

Please reach out to Benefits Strategy at or 304-293-8405 to determine eligibility.

Retirement Health Insurance and Other Benefits

As a retiree, you’ll have lots of opportunities to stay connected to WVU! Join the WVU Retirees’ Association, sign up for WVU E-News using your WVU retiree email address, and use your WVU retiree ID card to ride the PRT, receive discounts at some WVU athletic events, and use WVU libraries, among other benefits!

Yes! WVU retirees may request a WVU retiree email account. Visit the WVU Retiree Email Address FAQ for more information on requesting and using a WVU retiree email account.

The retiree medical premium rates are based on an employees’ years of service, if the employee or dependents are eligible for Medicare, if the employee chooses to cover dependents, and tobacco use status of the employee and any covered dependents.

The years of service for PEIA retiree medical insurance generally include the years that an employee has worked in a benefits-eligible status for the state of West Virginia. All WVU benefits-eligible service is included in this total. Visit the PEIA Shopper's Guide for additional information regarding years of service and PEIA retiree health insurance rates. Rates are subject to change upon approval of the PEIA Finance Board and West Virginia Retiree Health Benefits Trust.

Employees hired and continually covered by PEIA prior to July 1, 1988 can use accrued sick leave at the point in which they transition from active employment to retirement to pay 100% of the PEIA medical premiums. Employees hired on or after July 1, 1988 but before July 1, 2001 are eligible to use sick leave to pay for 50% of the PEIA retiree medical premium.

  • 2 days of sick leave = 1 month individual coverage
  • 3 days of sick leave = 1 month of family coverage
Employees hired on or after July 1, 2001 are not eligible to use sick leave to pay PEIA retiree medical premiums.
The retiree medical premium rates are based on:
  • employee’s years of service
  • if employee or employee’s dependents are eligible for Medicare
  • if employee chooses to cover dependents
  • tobacco use status of employee and any covered dependents
The rates are included in the PEIA Shoppers Guide each year and just like active employee rates are subject to change upon approval of the PEIA Finance Board and West Virginia Retiree Health Benefits Trust.

Full-time, less than 12 month faculty years of service for employees hired prior to July 1, 2009, may use faculty service credit to pay 100% of PEIA retiree medical premiums. Less than 12 month faculty service typically refers to 9 month faculty, but would include any contract of less than 12 months, such as 10 month, 11 month contracts, etc. Note less than 12 month faculty hired after July 1, 2009 are not eligible for the retiree medical premium credits.

  • 3.33 years of service = 1 year individual coverage
  • 5.00 years of service = 1 year family coverage

Please refer to the PEIA Summary Plan Description and Shopper's Guide for surviving dependent information.


Refer to the PEIA Summary Plan Description for additional information regarding Medicare and PEIA. PEIA will be the primary insurer for PEIA PPB Plan active employees or dependents of active employees who are 65 or older and eligible for Medicare, except in a few rare cases. As long as you are an active employee, neither you nor your Medicare-eligible dependent need to sign up for Medicare Part B and pay the premium.

When you prepare to retire, you and your Medicare-eligible dependent must enroll for Medicare Part B. If you do not enroll in Medicare Parts A & B, you will not be eligible for PEIA’s Medicare Advantage plan, and your PEIA coverage may be terminated. For PEIA PPB Plan active employees who are also eligible for Medicare, and Medicare is the primary payor, PEIA will use the traditional method of coordinating benefits. If you become eligible for Medicare prior to age 65, you must send a copy of your Medicare card, or other evidence to support Medicare coverage, to PEIA. This notification will make the claims payment process go much more smoothly.

Retirees and their Medicare-eligible dependents covered by PEIA and Medicare, regardless of age, PEIA’s Medicare Advantage or Humana will be the primary insurer. When you become an eligible beneficiary of Medicare, you must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B and send a copy of your Medicare card to PEIA. Part A is an entitlement program and is available without payment of a premium to most individuals. Part B is the supplementary medical insurance program that covers physician services, outpatient laboratory and x-rays tests, durable medical equipment and outpatient hospital care. Part B requires payment of a monthly premium.

You MUST NOT enroll in a separate Medicare Part D plan, since PEIA will provide prescription drug coverage for retirees with Medicare. If you do not enroll in Medicare Parts A & B, your coverage may be terminated. If you or your dependents have other coverage in addition to PEIA and Medicare, contact UMR or PEIA to determine what coverage will be primary, secondary or tertiary (third) and whether you need to enroll in Medicare Part B. Whenever you or your covered dependents become eligible for Medicare, you should send a copy of your Medicare card to PEIA. Members enrolled in an HMO when they become Medicare-eligible will be transferred to the Special Medicare Plan.