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
  • Long-term care insurance

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 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 Program Overview

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Medical Benefits

Each geographic area has a base medical plan with low rates and out-of-pocket costs. You may choose from any of the medical plan options available in your area. The rate you pay depends on who you cover and which plan you choose. If you are employed 75% to 100% time, the University pays a large portion of the cost.

Pharmacy Benefits

You are automatically enrolled in the pharmacy program when you enroll in a medical plan. Prime Therapeutics is the pharmacy benefits manager for all university medical plans. Fairview Specialty Pharmacy is the exclusive provider of most specialty medications.

Dental Benefits

Each geographic area also has a base dental plan. You may choose from any of the dental plan options available in your area. The rate you pay depends on who you cover and which plan you choose. If you are employed 75% to 100% time, the University pays a significant portion of the cost.

Life Insurance

The University provides you with a basic life insurance policy equal to 115% of your salary, rounded up to the next higher $1,000 with a $200,000 maximum. For example, if your salary is $52,000, your life insurance amount would be $60,000. The University pays the premium if your appointment is 75% time or more, but you may purchase this coverage if your appointment is 50% to 74% time.

Flexible Spending Accounts

You may participate in one or both of the flexible spending accounts offered by the University. With the Health Care and Dependent Daycare Flexible Spending Accounts you can pay for related eligible expenses using pre-tax dollars. When you enroll, you elect a total dollar amount to be withheld from your pay for the calendar year. The total amount is divided by the number of pay periods remaining in the year and withheld in equal installments. 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. 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 five 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 University of Minnesota Wellbeing Program reflects the University’s goal to support all aspects of your wellbeing, including your physical, emotional, financial, and social health. By participating in wellbeing activities, you will save money on your University medical plan rates, earn points for activities you already do to stay healthy, and have the chance to try out new wellbeing activities at little or no cost. When you complete a wide range of health and wellbeing activities during the 2021-2022 Wellbeing Program year, you earn wellbeing points that can be used to reduce the rates you pay for University medical plan coverage in 2023 by $500 or $750 depending on your tier of coverage.

If your benefits effective date is before September 1, you can participate in the Wellbeing Program for rate reduction for the upcoming year. However, you need to enroll in benefits before the deadline based on your effective date. For more information about eligibility, please visit the Wellbeing Program page.

New employees with medical plans that are effective on August 1 will automatically receive University medical plan reduced rates for the next calendar year. 

Convenience Care/Walk-in Clinics

The walk-in clinics provide fast and affordable medical care for certain common ailments for you and your dependents. You can access Gopher Quick Clinic on the Twin Cities campus and  other convenience care clinics, such as MinuteClinic locations in the Twin Cities 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. In Medica HSA the cost of the visit is applied to your deductible or paid out of the account balance if funds are available.

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

All faculty and staff members who are paid on a continuous basis are eligible to participate in these voluntary retirement plans. You may contribute to one or both of these plans, effectively doubling your retirement savings potential. A variety of investment options are offered in each plan through four investment firms. The voluntary retirement plans are funded by your contributions only. You may begin contributions at any time.

  • Optional Retirement Plan. The Optional Retirement Plan is a voluntary retirement savings/investment plan covered under section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. You may contribute as little as $200 in each calendar year. The maximum contribution is $18,500 for 2019. If you're over age 50 in the current calendar year, you may contribute an additional amount up to $6,000.
  • Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plan. You can contribute as little as $200 up to a maximum contribution is $18,500 for 2019.

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

This voluntary short-term disability insurance can replace up to 66.67% of your monthly salary (maximum of $5,000) for up to 26 weeks if you provide evidence that you are unable to work. The cost is based on how much coverage you puchase.

Long-term Disability Insurance

This voluntary long-term disability insurance provides an income up to 60% of your monthly salary (maximum of $5,000) after you have been continuously disabled for 180 days. The cost is based on how much coverage you purchase.

If you have a faculty or P&A appointment of 67% time or more, you are already covered under the Academic Disability Program and not eligible to buy this coverage.

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 and administered by the University of Minnesota and Unum.