Life Events

Healthcare, Dental, & Life Insurance
Healthcare, Dental, & Life Insurance

With a change in your family, like marriage or a new baby, you may want to add a new dependent to your coverage. If you have a dependent who is no longer eligible due to age or divorce, you'll want to cancel coverage for that person. If a family member who is employed at the University passes away, a case manager can help you make necessary changes.

Family status changes like those outlined below allow you to make a coverage change to some of your benefits after your initial eligibility or outside of open enrollment in November. But if you don't apply for a change in coverage within 30 days of your family status change, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment to make a change that will start on January 1.

For information about making changes to your FSA, please see the Life Events and Your FSA page.

Looking for information on retiring?

Visit our Preparing for Retirement page to learn about what retirement will mean for your medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, retirement savings, and more.

Life Events That Could Allow for Benefit Changes

Note: you must provide documentation for your change in coverage. See the Required Documentation for Status Events (pdf) to learn what you need to include based on your life event.

If you have specific questions, need a form, or want to request a benefit change, email [email protected] or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and select option 1.

See one of the sections below for:


Birth and Adoption

You can make the following changes within 30 days of the birth or adoption of your child:

  • Add your child to your medical or dental plan. Coverage starts on the date of birth or adoption. You can also add your spouse at this point.
  • Add child life insurance for $10,000 without evidence of good health.

Changes you can make at any time:

Leaves for Adoptions and Births

Depending on your employment classification, you can use parental, sick, vacation, and unpaid time for your leave. More information on planning a medical or family leave is available for Labor Represented and Civil Service staff as well as Faculty and P&A staff. If you need help understanding programs and policies regarding your leave, contact your HR Lead.

Tax Changes Related to Adoptions and Births

Go to MyU to update your personal and W-4 tax information with the number of federal and state withholding allowances.

Back to top


Age Limits for Children on Medical and Dental Insurance

You can cover your children, unmarried or married, through age 25 (up to their 26th birthday) on the University's medical and dental plans, regardless of student status and even if the adult child no longer lives with you. See Benefits Eligibility for detailed information.

When your child reaches age 26, however, dependent status ends. Coverage for your child ends on the last day of the month in which your child turns age 26.

Your child can continue coverage under COBRA Continuation of Coverage for up to 36 months by paying the full cost plus a 2% administrative fee. Contact the Office of Human Resources for the COBRA instructions and application within 60 days of the date your child loses eligibility.

Back to top



You can make the following changes within 30 days after your marriage:

  • Add your spouse and eligible stepchildren to your medical or dental plan with coverage that starts on your marriage date.
  • Add spouse life insurance in multiples of $1,000 up to $25,000 without evidence of good health

Changes you can make at any time:

Additional Changes Related to Marriage

Go to MyU to update your personal contact information (such as your address and emergency contact) and W-4 tax information with the number of federal and state withholding allowances.

Back to top



You must notify the Office of Human Resources within 30 days of your divorce because it affects your ex-spouse's continued eligibility for benefits.

Medical and Dental Coverage for Ex-Spouses

Medical and dental coverage for your ex-spouse ends on the last day of the month in which the divorce is final. You need to cancel coverage within 30 days of the date of divorce. If you don't, the family contribution rate will continue to be deducted from your pay, but any services for your ex-spouse will not be covered.

If you have children covered under your benefits, you would pay the employee and children contribution rate.

COBRA Continuation Coverage for Ex-Spouses

Your ex-spouse may continue group medical and dental coverage under COBRA Continuation of Coverage until the earlier of:

  • 36 months following loss of coverage, or
  • becomes covered under another group insurance plan.

Your ex-spouse must pay the full cost of coverage plus a 2% administrative charge and complete the form for COBRA coverage within 60 days of the divorce.

Ex-Spouse Life Insurance Coverage

Spouse life insurance coverage ends on the last day of the month in which the divorce is final. You will need to cancel spouse life insurance coverage within 30 days of your divorce date by contacting the Office of Human Resources at [email protected].

Changing Beneficiary Designations After Divorce

For information on how to change the beneficiary designation for your retirement plan and life insurance, visit our Manage Your Beneficiary Designation page.

Back to top


Death of a Family Member

After experiencing the death of a family member, please notify the Office of Human Resources as soon as you can.

If the deceased is a University Employee, the Office of Human Resources will provide a case manager to help you with payouts, get returned employee property, learn how to continue benefits for family members using COBRA, and other important processes. 

  • Reach the Contact Center: Email [email protected] or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.

  • Have on hand: The deceased’s Social Security Number and date of death, and the next of kin’s name and contact information.

If the deceased is the spouse or dependent of a University employee, contact the OHR Contact Center, who can help you update your employee benefits.

  • Reach the Contact Center: Email [email protected] or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.
  • Have on hand: The deceased’s Social Security Number and date of death.

Back to top

Faculty Retirement Plans
Faculty Retirement Plans

Leaves of Absence

During an approved Sabbatical Leave, contributions will continue to the Retirement Plan based on your full budgeted salary.

If you take an approved Leave Without Salary, contributions will be made to the plan but will be based on your reduced salary. If you take a 100% time leave, contributions resume on the first paycheck following your return.

Termination of Coverage

On your last day of employment, the University stops additional contributions to the retirement plan. At that time, you will have a number of decisions to make about your retirement account.

The options available depend on the company. You may:

  • Leave your money in the plan: You can take a monthly income or lump-sum payment at a later date.
  • Roll over your account to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified plan: A rollover is complex and may be available only in certain situations. Rollovers are not subject to tax withholding; however, amounts will be taxable when paid out to you. Consult your tax professional for more information.
  • Decide based on the investment options: If you have a plan invested with:
    • TIAA-CREF: TIAA annuities provide for lump-sum distributions within 120 days of termination subject to a 2.5% surrender charge.
    • Securian Retirement Services: You may access 20% from your Minnesota Life General Account Limited accumulation value each year. In addition, up to 100% may be withdrawn within 120 days of attaining a "benchmark age" (55, 60, 65, etc.) or terminating employment. Any lump-sum distribution from the plan would be subject to federal and state income tax. A 20% federal tax will be withheld automatically. If you are under age 59½, you may also be subject to a 10% additional tax on early distributions.


If you are actively employed at the University, you may withdraw any or all of your Faculty Retirement Plan 401(a) account as of the first of the month following your 62nd birthday as of January 1, 2015. There are no limits on the amount of each withdrawal or the number of withdrawals that may be made each year. Withdrawals from the plan are, however, subject to an automatic 20% federal income tax withholding unless used to purchase an annuity or transferred directly to an IRA or other qualified plan.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 imposes minimum distribution requirements for Faculty Retirement Plan participants effective the calendar year following the year in which you attain age 70½, or the year you retire, if later. If you are interested in retirement information, contact Employee Benefits by calling 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 or emailing [email protected].

At or after retirement, you may choose one or more of the following payment options:

  • Non-systematic withdrawals of specific dollar amounts or percent of account balance may be made at any time. Such withdrawals are subject to automatic 20% federal income tax withholding.
  • Systematic withdrawal offers flexibility in receiving income. You may receive a flat dollar amount, a percentage of your account value, or a specific number of accumulated units/shares. You may receive payments monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Either the amount or frequency of payments may be changed. (Subject to automatic 20% federal income tax withholding if payments are scheduled for less than 10 years.)
  • Purchase a Lifetime Annuity. An annuity is a contractual agreement with an insurance company in which the company promises to pay you a specific periodic income for a specific duration. Once purchased, an annuity contract is irrevocable and cannot be altered or cancelled.
  • Roll over all or a part of your accumulated value into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), subject to both University and federal regulations. Amounts rolled over directly to an IRA (not paid to you) will not have the 20% federal withholding subtracted automatically. Since your contributions to the retirement plan were made with "before tax" dollars, your income would be subject to federal and state income tax when you receive it.
    • You may receive the income in the form of a fixed annuity (fixed payment) or as a combination of fixed and variable annuities (payments vary with investment performance).
    • In all cases the annuity will provide you an income for your lifetime, but you may wish to elect a joint and survivor annuity which would guarantee an income for your lifetime and that of your beneficiary.
    • Or, you may want a life annuity with a guaranteed period. In the event of death during a guaranteed period, payments would be made to the named beneficiary for the balance of such guaranteed period. For example, if a 60-month guarantee were elected and death occurred after 14 retirement payments were made, the beneficiary would receive payments for 46 months or the equivalent value.
    • You don't need to make decisions concerning the form of retirement annuity until shortly before your actual retirement date. But for your retirement planning, it is important to consider that a joint and survivor option or a guaranteed period will reduce the amount of your monthly retirement income because you are paying for a guarantee.
    • In addition, withdrawals made before age 59½ may be subject to a 10% additional tax on "early distributions."

You are encouraged to consult a tax professional regarding the taxability of Faculty Retirement Plan withdrawals.

Disability Benefit

If you should become totally disabled, the Waiver of Contribution benefit applies. This means that all or part of your and the University's contributions to the Retirement Plan are made for you. The benefit begins after three months of disability and continues as long as you remain disabled.

Death of an Employee

If a faculty or staff member invested in the Faculty Retirement Plan dies before retirement without a beneficiary designation, the full cash value of annuity accumulations and separate accounts will be paid to their beneficiary in a single sum or under one of the settlement options included in the investment companies' contracts. The options available include funds left on deposit, installments paid over a period of years, and life annuities with different guaranteed periods.

Death proceeds will be paid out automatically under the plan's succession clause. These are paid equally to the survivors in the following sequence:

  1. To the surviving spouse
  2. To children. If an employee's child dies before the employee, their own children will receive their parent's share.
  3. To parents
  4. To brothers and sisters
  5. The executor or administrator of the estate

If you want to choose another beneficiary, go to Fidelity's NetBenefits website, log in, click on Menu, and select Beneficiaries.

For participants with a balance at Securian, go to Securian's website to access your account and choose a beneficiary.