Deciding on Your Benefits

About Your Benefits

As a new employee or newly benefits-eligible employee, you and your dependents may be eligible to participate in the health program offered by the University of Minnesota. Benefits include:

  • Medical, pharmacy, and dental coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Disability coverage

You are not required to elect medical and dental coverage. You have the option to choose any, all, or none of the benefits offered.

If you waive coverage, your next chance to elect medical and dental coverage will be either during Open Enrollment in November or if you and your dependents lose other health coverage during the year because of an eligible family status change.

You also have an automatic retirement savings plan provided by the University.

Health Benefits Workshop

Consider attending the Health Benefits Workshop for new employees if you would like assistance before completing their enrollment online. This workshop complements the New Employee Welcome by providing detailed benefits information. New employees should plan to attend the earliest session following their start date at the University.

Learn more and register for the workshop

Steps to Enroll

  • Determine eligibility for dependents. You may have the benefits enrollment guide from your Human Resources representative. If not, review the Benefits Eligibility page to find if your dependents are eligible for benefits.
  • Put together your choices. Using the 2024 New Employee Guide for Benefits Enrollment (pdf) as your resource, review the options and plan comparisons, and check the rates. 
  • Enroll online at MyU within your first 30 days. You must complete your enrollment online within the first 30 days of employment or newly benefits-eligible position. If you change your mind about your medical plan option during this time, you can choose a different medical plan that will be retroactive to your coverage effective date.
  • Determine the date your benefits become effective. Your benefits go into effect the first day of the month following your employment start date. (Example: You are hired on March 15; your benefits become effective on April 1.)
  • Learn more. Employee Benefits also offers various events and workshops throughout the year to provide more information about benefits, including retirement plans and investment options.

Benefits Overview

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Medical Benefits

The University offers five medical plan options with the same set of covered benefits. Each plan has different copayments, deductibles, rates, and provider networks. To learn more about the plans and biweekly rates, visit the Medica Plan Options page.

Pharmacy Benefits

You are automatically enrolled in the Prime Therapeutics prescription drug program and Fairview Specialty Pharmacy with your medical plan selection.

Dental Benefits

We offer two Delta Dental plans that provide in-network preventive care at 100% coverage and comprehensive coverage for most conditions requiring dental diagnosis and treatment, including orthodontic treatment for children. Learn more. 

Life Insurance

All full-time, benefits-eligible employees are automatically signed up for basic life insurance, regardless of health history. Part-time employees (50% to 74% time) are eligible for basic life insurance but need to enroll and pay a premium.

You may purchase additional life insurance for yourself, your spouse, and your children.

Flexible Spending Accounts

The University offers two pre-tax flexible spending accounts: either Health Care or Dependent Care. You can pay for eligible out-of-pocket health expenses and dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars that are withheld from your paycheck before federal, state, and Social Security taxes are taken. Visit the Flexible Spending Accounts page for details.

Retirement Savings

The University provides automatic retirement savings plans for both faculty and staff. The plan in which you participate depends on your job classification.

  • Civil Service and Labor Represented Retirement Savings Plan. As a member of the University's Civil Service or non-faculty Labor Represented staff, you participate in the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) program, which is a defined benefit pension plan. Participation is mandatory and begins the first day of employment. A tax-deferred deduction of 6% of total salary is taken each pay period and credited to your individual MSRS account (reduced to 5.5% July 1, 2023–June 30, 2025). An additional 6.25% is contributed by the University. You earn service credit for each month that retirement deductions are withheld from your pay, and you are vested after three years of service with MSRS. You are eligible to receive a lifetime retirement annuity benefit based on your age and years of service credit.
  • Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative Staff (Faculty Retirement Plan). As a faculty member or an academic professional and administrative (P&A) staff member, you participate in the Faculty Retirement Plan through the University. The Faculty Retirement Plan is a 401(a) retirement plan in which you accumulate tax-deferred contributions. Participation in the Plan is mandatory. You contribute 5.5% of covered salary and the University contributes 10%. Accumulated values in the Plan are fully vested immediately. You can change your investment allocations within the provisions of the plan without tax implications, costs, or penalties.

Additional Health Benefits

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Wellbeing Program

The Wellbeing Program provides programs organized around six dimensions that have been shown to positively influence wellbeing: career, physical, emotional, financial, community, and social. All part- and full-time employees can sign up for the program, hosted through the Virgin Pulse portal.

If you are enrolled in the University’s medical plan, you can earn points toward a discount of $500 or $750 a year on the next year's plan rates.

Learn more about the Wellbeing Program

Convenience Care/Walk-in Clinics

You can access convenience care clinics that are in-network providers for the medical plans. The clinics are staffed by board-certified physician assistants or nurse practitioners.

These clinics do not require an appointment, and visits generally take about 15 minutes. You have a $15 or $20 copayment per visit for treatments and screenings. There is no copayment for immunizations.

Travel Program

When you are traveling or your dependent is a student attending college outside of the plan's service area, you may still receive in-network benefits for medical services if you use a provider in the designated network from Medica. To be eligible for this travel program benefit, your permanent residence must be within the plan's service area.

Emergency Travel Assistance

When you elect a medical plan you also have access to Redpoint, a service that provides worldwide emergency medical assistance—including emergency evacuation and transportation back to the U.S.—and travel assistance services when you are traveling 100 miles or more from home. Redpoint also provides help if you are involved in a political or natural disaster emergency. Redpoint coordinators are available to help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Optional Coverage

The University offers optional coverage for disability for you and life insurance for you, and your dependents. You also have the opportunity to save more for your retirement with one or both of the voluntary retirement plans. This is a brief overview of the options. For full details, visit the Benefits page.

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Voluntary Retirement Accounts

The University offers the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) and the Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (457)—both with Fidelity as the recordkeeper—if you want to save more for retirement beyond primary plan contributions. You may contribute to one or both of these plans each year up to the amounts allowed under federal limits. 

In the ORP and 457 plans, you may elect a pre-tax contribution amount, which means you pay no federal or state income taxes on the money you put into the plans or on any investment gains until you withdraw funds. And because your contributions are tax deferred, you reduce your taxable income and pay less in taxes on your take-home pay.

You may also choose to elect an after-tax Roth contribution to the ORP. Roth contributions grow tax-free and there is no income tax liability when qualified distributions are taken.

You can increase or decrease your contributions at any time. You may also stop contributions at any time and restart them at a future date.

Additional Life Insurance

You have the opportunity to purchase additional life insurance for yourself, for your spouse, and for your children.

Short-term Disability Insurance

You may apply for short-term disability insurance to replace up to 66.67% of your salary but no more than $5,000 per month. The cost is based on the amount of coverage you select.

Long-term Disability Insurance

You may apply for long-term disability insurance to replace up to 60% of your monthly gross salary but no more than $5,000 per month. The cost is based on the amount of coverage you select.

This coverage is not available to you if you are a faculty or academic professional and administrative (P&A) staff member who works at least 67% time in an appointment of at least nine months in duration. You are covered by the Academic Disability Program (see below). 

Academic Disability Program

The University of Minnesota provides paid medical leave and long-term disability benefits to eligible faculty and academic professional and administrative (P&A) employees who are unable to perform their work duties due to a certified mental or physical health condition. These benefits are under the Academic Disability Program.

Faculty and academic professional and administrative (P&A) staff members who work 50% or more in appointment but less than 67% are eligible for Long-term Disability Insurance (see above).