Retiree Vision Program - CalHR

Retiree and Annuitant Vision Benefits

As a State of California retiree or annuitant, you are eligible to enroll in the state's Retiree Vision Program, which is offered through Vision Service Plan (VSP). The Retiree Vision Program provides vision care coverage for you and your eligible dependents.
VSP obtains eligibility information from CalPERS so it is important that you keep your home/mailing address current at all times even if your retirement check is deposited directly to your bank account. This information helps ensure that you receive timely information regarding your state vision benefits that will be mailed to you by CalHR, VSP or CalPERS. Please report address changes to CalPERS at the address below (be sure to include your Social Security number and telephone number):
California Public Employees' Retirement System
Health Account Services
P. O. Box 942715
Sacramento, CA 94229-2715
If you are a retired state employee and have any questions regarding your eligibility, contact CalPERS, Health Account Services toll free at: 1-888-225-7377.

Retiree Vision Enrollment

When you retire your personnel office must be provide you with two options: First, under Federal Law, you MUST be offered COBRA continuation for the state active employee vision coverage and you must also be given the option to enroll into the Retiree Vision Program. The Retiree Vision Authorization form (CalHR 695) MUST be completed and returned to your personnel office within 60 days of retirement date. If you are a retiring employee who is already in the active Premier vision plan at the time of retirement, then you are eligible to continue your Premier plan for up to 18 months through COBRA. To continue your Premier through COBRA, complete the Premier Vision Enrollment form (CalHR 774), check the New COBRA option and return the completed form to your department's personnel office for processing within 60 days of your retirement date. 

Procedure for using the plan

  1. Select a VSP network doctor. If you need help locating a network doctor, call VSP at 800-877-7195 or go to and locate the option FIND A DOCTOR.
  2. Call your VSP network doctor for an appointment to identify yourself as a VSP member. Simply provide your name and date of birth, as well as the covered member's social security number and the organization that provides the coverage (State of California).
  3. Your doctor and VSP will handle the rest. Your doctor will contact VSP to verify your eligibility and plan coverage.
*Selecting a VSP network doctor assures direct payment to the doctor and guarantees quality services and eyewear. 

Open Enrollment

The 2014 Open Enrollment period for Retiree Vision is September 15 through October 10, 2014.
Open enrollment is a time set aside each year when eligible employees can enroll, or add/delete family members. The annual open enrollment period for the Retiree Vision Program is usually every September-October. The effective date for actions made during open enrollment will be January 1st of the following year.
Once enrolled, you will be required to remain in the program for a minimum of 12 months.


VSP will send open enrollment materials to the mailing address you have on file with PERS regarding the three ways to enroll during open enrollment:


  • Visit VSP at and complete the online enrollment form; or,
  • Call VSP at 1-800-877-7195 and speak with a Member Services Representative; or,
  • Complete and submit the VSP open enrollment document (received at home address) directly to VSP. 

Mail enrollment forms to DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT

Vision Service Plan (VSP)

Attn: Client Services - Mailstop 229

P.O. Box 997100

Sacramento, CA 95899-7100 


The amount deducted from your retirement check each month in 2014 for the Retiree Vision care is:
  • Retiree only: $7.53
  • Retiree plus one dependent: $14.62
  • Retiree plus two or more dependents: $15.73 

 There are no changes to the Retiree Vision plan premium rates for 2015. 

COBRA Premium - Premier Plan (Only for retiring employees who were already enrolled in Premier prior to retirement)



  • 1 Party: $15.50
  • 2 Party: $22.20
  • 3 Party: $30.36



  • 1 Party: $17.83
  • 2 Party: $26.85
  • 3 Party: $37.84

VSP Customer Service

If you have any additional questions regarding the state's Retiree Vision Program, please contact VSP at 1-800-877-7195.


when will annuitants receive open enrollment and benefit information?

  • State of California retirees and annuitants receive open enrollment materials in September for the annual open enrollment period in October.
  • All current state of California retirees and annuitants receive a VSP mailing including: an announcement letter, a VSP plan brochure including coverage details, premiums, and an enrollment form.


How will annuitants enroll in the VSP plan?

During open enrollment annuitants may enroll by choosing one of these three convenient options:
  • Visit VSP at and complete the online enrollment form, or
  • Call VSP at 1-800-877-7195 and speak with a Member Services Representative, or
  • Complete and mail the VSP Enrollment Form included in their mailing.


When is the plan effective?

  • The plan is effective January 1 of the following year.


How long does the plan provide annuitants with coverage?

  • Annuitants who enroll into the plan during the open enrollment period or within 60 days of the retirement date have continuous benefit coverage year after year.
  • Annuitants' benefit coverage automatically continues, unless they cancel during an open enrollment period after the minimum 12-month enrollment period has been reached.


Will annuitants be automatically enrolled in the plan?

  • No - annuitants must proactively enroll in the VSP plan during open enrollment period.


What benefits does the plan cover?

Benefit coverage is as follows:

  • Eye Exams - covered in full every calendar year               ($10.00 Copay)
  • Prescription glasses - covered every calendar year       ($25.00 Copay)
    • Lenses - covered in full including single vision, lined bifocal, lined trifocal and tinted lenses, including photochromic (lenses that transition)
    • Frames - frame of your choice covered up to $75 retail


  • Contact Lens Care - covered every calendar year
    • When you choose contacts instead of glasses, your $110 allowance applies to the cost of your eye exam, contacts and the contact lens exam  (fitting and evaluation). This exam is in addition to your vision exam to ensure proper fit or contacts.


EXTRA Discounts and Savings
  • Laser Vision Correction Discounts
    Average 15% discount from contracted VSP Laser VisionCare facilities
  • Contacts (available from any VSP doctor)
    15% off cost of contact lens exam (fitting and evaluation)

What are the plan premiums?

Premiums vary depending on which plan tier the annuitant chooses Annuitants will have three plan tiers to choose from:
  • Member only - $7.53
  • Member + 1- $14.62
  • Member + Family - $ 15.73


How are annuitants billed for their VSP plan?

  • The cost of the annuitants' premium is deducted directly from their state retirement warrant.
  • When annuitant is newly enrolled in annuitant plan, the member will automatically receive 2-3 months of direct bills from VSP while PERS is setting up the automatic warrant deductions.
  • VSP directly bills annuitants who have been identified by the state as "direct bill only". 

Will the plan also cover annuitants' dependents?

  • Yes - Eligible dependents may also be covered. Annuintants will need to list dependent information on enrollment form at the time of enrollment.


What information do annuitants have to provide to enroll dependents?

  • Annuitants must provide each dependent's name, date of birth, and state the dependent's relationship to the enrolled annuitant.
  • Dependent children age 26 and under are eligible for benefits.


Are annuitants able to enroll in the plan after open enrollment?

  • Annuitants who do not enroll during open enrollment are able to enroll during the next open enrollment period.


If annuitant elects COBRA for up to 18 months at the time of retirement, does annuitant have to wait until the next open enrollment to enroll in retiree vision plan? 

  • No. The end of COBRA is considered a permitting event which allows member to enroll in the retiree vision plan within 60 days of the COBRA termination date. Contact CalHR at (916) 322-2858 for more information.


Once enrolled can annuitants cancel their plan coverage?

  • Annuitants may cancel their plan during an annual open enrollment period if they have met their 12-month minimum enrollment period
  • The cancellation is effective January 1 of the following year
  • Annuitants may also only cancel their plan coverage during a qualifying COBRA event or a qualifying life change event


Are domestic partners eligible for plan coverage?

  • Yes - registered domestic partners are eligible dependents


Are disabled dependents eligible for plan coverage?

  • Yes - registered disabled dependents are eligible


Are California State University (CSU) members eligible for State of CA annuitant plan?

  • No - only State of California (non-CSU) annuitants and eligible dependents may in enroll in this plan
  • CSU Retirees, please contact your former benefits office (Chancellor's Office) for additional information and to express interest in obtaining a VSP eye care plan


If annuitants enroll during the open enrollment period, will their premiums change in the following year?

  • No - premiums remain the same until through December 31st of the following year


Can annuitants be enrolled in multiple plans?

  • Yes - an annuitant can enroll in the plan and also be enrolled in another vision plan


Can annuitants add dependents after open enrollment?

  • Annuitants may add dependents after open enrollment only if a family status change (permitting event) as defined by the state has occurred
  • If a family status change has not occurred, annuitants may add dependents during the next open enrollment period the following year


Will annuitants have to re-enroll in their VSP plan during the fall open enrollment?

  • No - all annuitants enrolled during the open enrollment period will have continuous benefit coverage


Will annuitants have to renew their benefit coverage after December 31st?

  • For convenience, at the end of the 12-month period, all annuitants automatically have their benefit coverage continued unless they specifically elect not to renew during the next open enrollment period


Why are there two VSP Web sites?

  • For convenience and to provide state of CA annuitants with several enrollment options, annuitants may visit to enroll in a VSP plan
  • Once the annuitant's benefit coverage becomes effective, they may log-on to to view their benefits, check eligibility, and gain access to numerous helpful tools and valuable resources


Does VSP have insurance I.D. cards?

  • No. VSP does not provides cards. To use the plan, the VSP member will select a VSP doctor, make an appointment and tell the doctor you are a VSP member. If retirees/annuitants need help locating a VSP doctor, call VSP toll-free at: 1 (800) 877-7195 or log on to VSP's website at:


What is an Enrollment I.D.?

  • The Enrollment I.D. is a unique identifier assigned to each state of CA annuitant during open enrollment
  • The identifier allows VSP to quickly retrieve the annuitant's information

Updated 8/4/2015