Thinking About Retiring?

Six months before, follow this checklist to help keep your timeline to retirement on track to turn your retirement dreams into reality…. on your schedule.

If you have pension questions or to sign up for a retirement seminar please contact SamCERA via e-mail at or telephone at (650) 599-1234. The seminar is available to all employees and covers pension options and amounts, continued health benefits, healthy living, financial planning, Social Security, Long-Term Care and Deferred Compensation. For more information please visit SamCERA's web site at

Retiree Health Information Sessions

Have you heard that sick leave hours are used to help pay your retiree health benefits upon retirement? It is true!

Attend a Retiree Health Information Session to help you understand retiree health benefits and how sick leave hours are used to help offset the cost of healthcare at retirement. To see available sessions and register, please log in to LMS.

Medicare 101

Are you interested in learning more about Medicare?

“Medicare 101” will provide you with a better understanding on the basics of Medicare. If you are reaching Medicare age and have general Medicare questions – this is a great course for you. it is open to all San Mateo County employees.

The course will address many topics, such as:

  • What Medicare is and who is eligible
  • The different types of Medicare and the enrollment process (Part A, B, D)
  • Medicare Plan Options
  • How Medicare is paid and who is required to apply.

To see available sessions and register, please log in to LMS.

4-6 months prior to Retirement

  • Make an appointment with SamCERA. or (650) 599-1234. 

  • • Attend a Retiree Health Information Session hosted by the Benefits Division to learn more about benefits at retirement

  • • Attend the Ready to Retire or Road to Retirement seminar hosted by SamCERA to learn more about retirement

  • Review the County’s Retiree Guide to check your retiree health coverage applicable for your Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Board Resolution. 

  • PLAN AHEAD: The health plan you are enrolled in at the time of retirement is the health plan you will remain enrolled in on your retirement date. 

Please Note:

  • Dental Buy-Up Options are not available for retirees.  It is recommended not to enroll in a buy-up if you are retiring within the next year or so.  Enrollment in these plans require a commitment of at least two years and they do not carry over in retirement.
  • You must be enrolled in a County Medical Plan at time of retirement to enroll for retiree Health.
  • You may be eligible to continue certain life insurance benefits under an individual policy.

3 months prior to Retirement

For individuals or eligible dependents over age 65
  • Contact the Benefits Division to obtain the "Request for Employment Information" form to bring to Social Security.
  • Enroll in Medicare Part A and B if you are 65 or older.
    • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B at age 65 and present a copy of your Medicare card in order to be moved into one of the Medicare rate plans.

Please note: The Social Security award letter will not be accepted as proof of enrollment and the Medicare card must accompany your completed application.

  • Submit a completed application for one of the Medicare plans.  (Kaiser Senior Advantage or Blue Shield PPO)

1-2 Months prior to Retirement

  • Finalize your retirement with SamCERA (650) 599-1234
  • Contact Benefits after you meet with SamCERA to schedule an appointment to finalize your Retirement Benefits. (650) 363-1919 or
Things to consider BEFORE your meeting with Benefits:
  • How many sick leave hours do you plan to use towards your retiree benefits?
  • What is your goal?
    • Reduce the amount of money you will be required to pay towards your retiree health which will result in your sick leave hours being exhausted faster or
    • Pay a little more each month for your retiree health which will extend your sick leave hours for a longer period of time  
  • COBRA vs. Voluntary Benefits (for the first 18 months of your retirement)
What to bring with you to your meeting
  • Bring the Retirement Estimate Summary received from SamCERA
  • Bring a cancelled/voided check

(If applicable) Deductions will be automatically taken via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) for your retiree health benefits on the last day of the month. Failure to pay the invoice will result in coverage termination.