FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When can I make my medical/dental/vision insurance effective if I am a new employee?
  2. If I am not a new employee, when can I elect or cancel medical/dental/vision coverage?
  3. What is Annual Open Enrollment?
  4. How do I sign up for my benefits?
  5. How do I change my beneficiaries?
  6. What dependent documentation is required for coverage?
  7. I am terminating (other than retiring) from the University. What must I do in regards to my benefits?
  8. I am ready to service retire with Teacher's Retirement (TRS). What should I do?

When can I make my medical/dental/vision insurance effective if I am a new employee?

As a new employee, you can make your medical/ dental/vision insurance effective on your hire date or the first of the next month. Bi-weekly employee medical/dental/vision premiums are split over the first and second paychecks. Premiums are tax-sheltered and are paying for current month’s coverage.
You have 31 days from your hire date to elect coverage. If you fail to elect coverage within 31 days of your hire date, you must wait until Annual Open Enrollment or a qualifying life event.

If I am not a new employee, when can I elect or cancel medical/dental/vision coverage?

You can elect or cancel medical/dental/vision coverage for yourself and/or any eligible dependents within 31 days of a qualifying life event.

Qualifying life events include:
• Marriage
• Birth
• Adoption or placement for adoption
• Involuntary loss of other coverage

The effective date of the election would be the date of the qualifying life event.
If you fail to enroll within 31 days of the qualifying event, you must wait until Annual Open Enrollment.

What is Annual Open Enrollment?

Annual Open Enrollment allows employees to enroll, cancel, or change their medical, dental, or vision coverage. During this time employees also can re-enroll in Flexible Spending Accounts if they wish to participate in the next year. Open Enrollment is normally held during the month of October. All elections made during Open Enrollment are effective January 1st of the New Year.

How do I sign up for my benefits?

All new employees must attend New Employee Orientation. During orientation, a Benefits presentation will be made and you will be given the opportunity to complete enrollment forms.

How do I change my beneficiaries?

Forms are available in the Benefits Office or online. You may change your beneficiary at any time. It is your responsibility to ensure your beneficiary designation is up to date. Beneficiary changes for Voluntary Retirement and Voluntary Life must be made directly with the company.

What dependent documentation is required for coverage?

For Spouse: A copy of your marriage certificate AND documentation dated within the last 6 months establishing financial interdependence

For Children/Incapacitated Dependents: A copy of the child’s birth certificate AND If applicable, a copy of a divorce decree granting full or joint custody OR If applicable, a copy of a court-issued Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) or other court order where you or your spouse are required to provide healthcare.

For incapacitated dependents, additionally provide a copy of your most recently filed federal tax return AND a copy of the Social Security Administration approval for disability benefits

For Sponsored Adult Dependent: A copy of the dependent’s birth certificate AND One form of documentation dated on or before January 1, 2013, establishing a common residence AND One form of documentation dated within the past 6 months establishing a common residence

Note: If the child of a sponsored adult dependent is enrolled in the plan but the sponsored adult dependent is not the child’s birth certificate naming the sponsored adult dependent as the parent or appropriate court order / adoption decree AND a copy of the sponsored adult dependent’s 2012 or 2013 federal tax return claiming the child as a dependent will be required.

I am terminating (other than retiring) from the University. What must I do in regards to my benefits?

Employees who are terminating from the University (other than retiring) must complete an Employee Exit Survey. Once your Exit Survey is complete, please contact the Benefits Office to discuss your benefits. You will be given the opportunity to complete forms related to the Teacher’s Retirement System and various other benefit conversion options, if you are eligible, at the time of termination.

I am ready to service retire with Teacher's Retirement (TRS). What should I do?

Making the decision to service retire with Teacher's Retirement (TRS) is a big decision in a person's life. The first step is to speak with TRS to confirm your eligibility date. Eligibility criteria is different for Tier 1 and Tier 2 emploees (see Retirement section).

For Tier 1, you must have at least 10 years of creditable service with TRS and be 60 years of age, or have 25 years of creditable service with TRS at any age. For Tier 2, you must have at least 10 years of creditable service with TRS and be 62 years of age. The Benefits Office can assist you with determining the earliest date you are eligible to retire.

You must retire on the first of a month (Ex. August 1). Application must be made in the Benefits office no earlier than 90 days prior to and no later than 30 days from your retirement date. Appointments may be made at any time with a member of the Benefits staff by calling (205) 934-3458.

Once you confirm with Benefits you are ready to retire, our office will help you complete an application for retirement. This application must be received at TRS no later than 30 days prior to your retirement date. It is your responsibility to ensure timely completion of your application to retire. You will be required to list a beneficiary for your retirement monies; therefore it is important to bring the beneficiary's name, address, and social security number. The Benefits staff member will also review all of your current benefits and any plans you are eligible to convert or keep upon retirement.

Once TRS receives your retirement application, they will mail your retirement options and a PEEHIP medical insurance application to your home address. PEEHIP is medical insurance that is available to employees who service retire with TRS. When you receive these forms from TRS, you will need to schedule a second appointment with Benefits. We will explain your income options, notarize which retirement option you choose, certify your PEEHIP medical insurance application (if applicable), and keep a copy for our files.

That's basically it! We pride ourselves on making this a seamless transition; because we know the decision itself to retire is hard enough.