Life Events and Your Benefits

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.

Depending on the life event, you may also want to go to MyU to update your personal contact information (such as your legal name, address, or emergency contact) and W-4 tax information with the number of federal and state withholding allowances.

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, need to submit a form, or want to request a benefit change, email benefits@umn.edu or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and select option 1.

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Marriage

Medical and Dental

You can add your spouse and eligible stepchildren to your medical or dental plan with coverage that starts on your marriage date. You can also use this time to change to a different medical or dental plan. Or, you can cancel your coverage under this plan and switch to coverage under your new spouse’s plan.

Health Care FSA

You can start or increase your contributions to your health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start, increase, or decrease your contribution to a dependent care FSA, depending on your circumstances. For example, if you marry someone with no job or who works part-time and that results in you needing fewer dependent care expenses, you may be able to reduce your contribution.

Divorce, Annulment, and Legal Separation

Medical and Dental

Ending Ex-Spouse’s Coverage: Coverage for your ex-spouse following divorce or annulment ends on the last day of the month in which the divorce or annulment is final. You need to cancel coverage within 30 days of the date of the divorce or annulment. 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.

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.

Changing Your Coverage: You can change your coverage to a different medical or dental plan at this time.

Adding Coverage for Yourself: You can enroll yourself in medical and dental coverage if you were enrolled in your ex-spouse’s plan, but lost coverage under that plan as a result of the divorce, annulment, or legal separation (depending on the terms of that plan).

Health Care FSA

You can start, increase, decrease, or stop contributions to a health care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds used or already contributed.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start, increase, decrease, or stop contributions to a dependent care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds used or already contributed.

Life Insurance

Spouse life insurance coverage ends on the last day of the month in which the divorce is final.

For information on how to change the beneficiary designation, visit our Manage Your Beneficiary Designation page.

Birth, Adoption, Placement for Adoption, and Guardianship

Medical and Dental

You can add your child to your medical or dental plan. Coverage starts on the date of birth, adoption, or placement for adoption. You can also add your spouse at this point or change to a different medical or dental plan.

Health Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to a health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to a dependent care FSA.

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 or the LOA team.

Death of Employee, Spouse, or Dependent Child

The OHR Contact Center can help you update your employee benefits in the event of a death in the family. The Contact Center can be reached by email at benefits@umn.edu or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and select option 1.

If the Deceased is a University Employee

The Office of Human Resources will provide a case manager to help you with payouts, return employee property, learn how to continue benefits for family members using COBRA, and other important processes. Reach out to the Contact Center with the deceased’s Social Security Number, date of death, and the next of kin’s name and contact information.

The Contact Center can be reached by email at benefits@umn.edu or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and select option 1.

Loss of Coverage Due to Age

Medical and Dental

Your Child Reaches Age 26: Dependent status for your child usually ends when they reach age 26, except in cases of disability, regardless of student status and even if the adult child no longer lives with you. Medical and dental coverage for your child ends on the last day of the month in which they turn 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.

You Reach Age 26: You can start medical or dental coverage if you were a dependent on someone else’s plan and lose your coverage because you turned 26.

Health Care FSA

Your Child Reaches Age 26: You can stop or decrease contributions to a health care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds used or already contributed.

You Lose Dependent Status Under Another FSA Plan: If you were covered under another FSA plan and lose coverage due to loss of dependent status, you can start contributing to a health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

Your Child Reaches Age 13: When your child reaches age 13, you can stop your current dependent care FSA.

New Employment or Benefit Eligibility of Spouse or Dependents

Medical and Dental

You can remove coverage for yourself, your spouse, and/or dependents if other coverage is available under your spouse’s plan. You can also remove coverage for your dependents if other coverage is available under the dependent’s plan.

Health Care FSA

You can stop or reduce contributions to a health care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds used or already contributed.

Dependent Care FSA

If coverage is available under your spouse’s or dependent’s plan, you can stop or reduce contributions to a dependent care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds used or already contributed.

You can increase contributions to your dependent care FSA if your spouse has new employment or benefit eligibility, but your dependent does not.

Spouse or Dependents Experience Termination of Employment, Strike or Lockout, or Unpaid/FMLA Leave of Absence

Medical and Dental

You can start coverage or add a spouse or dependents to your medical or dental plan.

Health Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to your health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to your dependent care FSA.

Spouse or Dependents Lose Their Own Benefit Eligibility

Medical and Dental

You can start coverage or add a spouse or dependents to your medical or dental plan.

Health Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to your health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to your dependent care FSA.

Change in Spouse’s Employment Between Full-time and Part-time

Medical and Dental

You can add or remove coverage for a spouse or dependents. This includes adding coverage for you, your spouse, and dependents if you all were covered under your spouse’s plan but lost coverage once they reduced to part-time. This also includes just adding a spouse or dependents, depending on the situation.

You can also change to a different medical or dental plan at this time.

Health Care FSA

You can start, increase, decrease, or stop contributions to your health care FSA. The amount after a decrease cannot be less than the funds already contributed.

Dependent Care FSA

You can start, increase, decrease, or stop contributions to your dependent care FSA.

Other Loss of Spouse or Dependent Coverage

This includes when an employer stops contributing to a spouse or dependent’s coverage, or if your coverage ends due to an insurer leaving an Exchange, such as a state’s health insurance marketplace.

Medical and Dental

You can decrease, waive, or add self or dependent coverage.

Health Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Change in Residence or Worksite for Spouse or Dependents Outside of Service Area

Medical and Dental

If your spouse or dependent’s residence or worksite changes to a location outside of the current plan’s service area, making your plan unavailable, you can decrease, waive, or add self or dependent coverage.

Health Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Daycare Provider or Cost Changes

Medical and Dental

No changes permitted.

Health Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Dependent Care FSA

You can increase or decrease contributions to your current dependent care FSA.

Eligibility for Medicaid Changes

Medical and Dental

You can add, increase, decrease, or stop medical and dental coverage for yourself, your spouse, and your child.

Health Care FSA

You can start, increase, decrease, or stop contributions to a health care FSA. The amount after a stop or decrease cannot be less than the funds already contributed.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Gain Eligibility for Medicaid Premium Assistance

Medical and Dental

You can add medical or dental coverage for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent.

Health Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Gain Eligibility for CHIP Premium Assistance

Medical and Dental

You can add medical and dental coverage for your child. If you previously waived coverage for yourself, you must now add coverage for yourself as well.

Health Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Loss of Eligibility for CHIP

Medical and Dental

You can add or increase medical and dental coverage for your child. You can also add or increase medical and dental coverage for yourself if you previously waived coverage but are not electing coverage in order to cover your child.

Health Care FSA

You can start or increase contributions to a health care FSA.

Dependent Care FSA

No changes permitted.

Life Events and Faculty Retirement Plans

If you are eligible and participate in the Faculty Retirement Plan, find out how different life events and circumstances impact you below.

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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.

Withdrawals

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 benefits@umn.edu.

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.