504 Insurance

General Benefit Information

The following information is a summary of current employee insurance benefits, subject to change at any time with or without notice. Complete benefits information is available from the Benefits Office of Human Resources Services. This summary is an overview only; if any information varies from official and current plan documents, the language of the official document prevails.

Faculty members who work 1/2 time (i.e., fiscal-year faculty with an FTE of .50 or greater, or academic-year faculty with an annualized FTE of .375 or greater) or more are considered benefit-eligible. As such, they have the opportunity to purchase health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, supplemental life insurance, dependent life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, short-term and long-term disability income insurance, term life insurance. Participation in a retirement program is mandatory (see Section 505). The Benefits Office provides comprehensive descriptions of the available plans and comparisons of the benefits included in each plan along with rates.

Faculty must enroll for insured benefits during their first 31 days of employment. Individuals who do not elect benefits during the first 31 days of employment must wait until the next annual open enrollment period to enroll. Typically, open enrollment is held during November, with coverage effective January 1 of the following year. A Benefits Fair is generally held prior to the November open-enrollment period, giving employees the opportunity to gather benefits information and talk with various providers.

The Board of Regents' Dental Plan and Supplemental Life Insurance are only available if an employee enrolls within 31 days of employment (these programs are never subsequently available if not elected at the time of initial employment). Employees must also select a retirement program within their first 60 days of employment. Failure to designate a retirement option within the first 60 days will result in default assignment to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS). Once assigned, such action is irrevocable and without exception.

Change in Family Status

If there is a qualifying change in family status, such as birth, death, marriage, or divorce, changes in certain benefits may be made if the employee notifies the Benefits Office within 31 days of the event. Failure to notify the Benefits Office within 90 days that a no-longer-qualified dependent should be removed from coverage will result in forfeited premium contributions.

Insurance Premium Payment During Non-pay Status

Insurance premiums are paid by payroll deduction. Faculty who expect to be in a non-pay status for any reason when insurance premiums are due should contact the Benefits Office to arrange for payment of insurance premiums. Non-payment of premiums may result in cancellation of benefit coverage.

Insurance Premiums for Coverage during Summer

Faculty summer insurance premiums are deducted in advance, with the costs spread out over the January through May paychecks. Because summer premiums are pre-paid, no premiums then are deducted from summer paychecks. If employment ends at the conclusion of the academic year, coverage ends at the end of the month in which employment terminates, and any withheld summer premiums will be refunded.

504.01 Health Insurance Plans

Georgia State University offers benefits-eligible faculty a choice of several health care plans, typically including one or more of the following: a traditional indemnity plan, a group health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, and individual practice health maintenance organization plans (IPO), and/or a preferred provider plan (PPO). Coverage is available for employees and dependents. The university typically has contributed the majority of the premium cost, with the employee paying the balance of the premium.

504.02 Continuation of Benefits after Termination

Terminating faculty have insurance coverage through the end of the month in which their contract ends, as long as the full premiums have been paid. Under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), terminating employees may continue their existing medical, dental, and/or vision coverage for up to 18 months following termination at their own cost by paying the total premium (employee + employer costs, plus a small administrative fee). If a qualified individual is termined to be disabled under Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act at the time employment ended, and if the plan administrator is notified within 60 days, coverage may be continued for up to 29 months. Individuals who are enrolled in a Medical Spending Account at the time of separation may also be able under certain conditions to continue participation in the plan through the end of the calendar year.

A terminating employee has 60 days following the date their coverage ends to elect continuation of benefits under COBRA; coverage is activated once the premium payment is received. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that premiums are paid in a timely manner. If premiums are not paid timely to the univeristy, coverage will be discontinued.

In some circumstances, spouses or dependent children themselves may be able to continue their own coverage under COBRA. Qualifying events include the death of a covered employee, the termination (other than by reason of gross misconduct) of the employee, reduction of work hours of the employee resulting in the loss of benefits eligibility, the divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from their spouse, the covered employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits, a child ceasing to be a dependent.

For more information, faculty, spouses, or children interested in electing COBRA benefits should contact the Benefits Office. See the Board of Regents Policy Manual section 802.1005 for information about disabled employees insurance.

The University System continues to cover the employer portion of health and life insurance premiums on faculty with 10 or more years of service who terminate due to total and permanent disability. For more information, contact the Benefits Office.

504.03 Dental Insurance

Elective coverage is currently available through two dental plan options: an indemnity plan where the employee may choose any dentist, and/or a point-of-service plan where the employee may select from a list of participating dentists (or receive a slightly reduced benefit if care is provided by a non-participating dentist). The employee pays the full premium for this coverage on a pre-tax basis. Note: Employees may only enroll in the Board of Regents indemnity plan within their first 31 days of hire. The BOR plan is not available during subsequent annual open enrollment periods if not elected when first employed.

504.04 Life Insurance

504.04.01 Basic Life Insurance

Group term life insurance is provided to benefits-eligible faculty in the amount of $25,000 of term life insurance at no cost to the individual.

504.04.02 Supplemental Life Insurance

Supplemental life insurance is available in amounts equal to one, two, or three times contract salary. Changes are subject to evidence of insurability if election is not made within 31 days of hire. This insurance is optional and the cost is paid by the faculty member. The premiums are based on age and the amount of coverage selected. Individuals may elect to have premiums deducted from their earnings on a pre-tax basis. Due to IRS regulations pertaining to imputed income, this election may or may not be favorable. Contact the Benefits Office for more information.

504.04.03 Dependent Life Insurance

Dependent life insurance is also available. Individuals may enroll a spouse and unmarried dependent children to age 19 (age 25 if a full time student). Current coverage is $2,000 for children up to six months of age and $10,000 for all other eligible dependents.

504.04.04 Term Life Insurance

Optional term life insurance allows employees to choose up to $80,000 of coverage on a guaranteed-issue basis, or up to $500,000 with evidence of insurability. The amount of coverage may be changed in subsequent years during open enrollment. The premium is based on age at the time of enrollment and remains the same for the next five years. A spouse may be covered even if the faculty member is not enrolled. The employee pays the full premium for this coverage.

504.05 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Faculty members under the age of 70 and works 1/2 time or more are eligible for accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Spouses and dependent children may also be covered. Employees pay the full premium for this coverage.

504.06 Disability Income Insurance (LTD & STD)

Regular faculty who work 1/2 time or more are eligible to purchase short-term and/or long-term disability income insurance. The long-term disability benefit provides 60% of salary (up to a maximum of $7,500 monthly benefit) and begins after 90 days of disability. The short-term disability plan pays a weekly benefit of 60% of weekly earnings up to a maximum of $600 (benefit) per week and begins after 15 days of disability. Employees pay the full premium for these programs.

504.07 Worker's Compensation Insurance

All employees of the University System of Georgia are covered by Worker's Compensation Insurance, under the State of Georgia Self Insurance Program. Any injury must be reported to the Office of Safety and Risk Management. Each department should maintain a listing of authorized physicians that may be contacted if there is an on-the-job injury.

Illness or injury that occurs while an individual is traveling may not be covered by workers' compensation if such travel has not been submitted and approved in advance as business-related. Employees should submit travel authorization paperwork any time they are traveling on University-related business.

504.08 Social Security

Terms, conditions, requirements, reservations, benefits, privileges, and other conditions of Title II of the Social Security Act, as amended, apply to all officers and employees of the university system except those specifically excluded under the agreements with the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia.

The following employees are fully covered by Social Security (OASDI + Medicare):

The following employees are subject to only the Medicare portion of Social Security:

Individuals not covered by the OASDI portion of Social Security must participate in the Georgia Defined Contribution plan, which requires individuals to contribute 7.5% of their post-tax earnings. Individuals can apply for a refund of Georgia Defined contributions when they terminate employment.

Social Security and Georgia Defined may not cover the following employees:

504.09 Professional Liability Insurance

The University, as a unit of the University System of Georgia, provides limited liability insurance protection to its faculty while in the conduct of the business of the university.

This insurance provides coverage for a faculty member's legal liability to others for bodily injury and property damage as a result of an act or omission of an act or caused by an employee of the University System of Georgia in the scope of his or her employment. This insurance covers only those claims for which the employee may be found to be obligated legally to pay, provided that the employee was engaged in authorized University-related business when the event occurred which caused the injury or damage. However, excluded from coverage are the following: (1) losses (bodily injury, personal injury or property damage) arising out of an employee's malfeasance in office (intentional acts) or willful or wanton neglect of duty; and, (2) a loss (injury or damage) which is intended or could reasonably be expected by the employee committing the act.

504.10 Section 125 Plan

The University has a Section 125 Plan as authorized by the Internal Revenue Code that allows employee health, vision and dental insurance premiums to be deducted on a pre-tax basis. Supplemental life insurance may also be paid with pre-tax dollars if the employee signs an election form choosing this option. Such election may be made when employed and may only be changed during open enrollment. The life insurance election will be automatically renewed each year unless the employee chooses to discontinue the pre-tax deduction (dependent life insurance is not included under Section 125.) Premiums are not subject to federal tax, state tax or FUTA and Medicare.

504.11 Flexible Spending Accounts (Dependent Care, Medical)

Individuals may elect to set aside up to $5,000 a year from pre-tax salary in an account for dependent care expenses, and up to $3,000 per tax year for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Flexible spending accounts allow employees to reimburse themselves for qualified expenses using pre-tax dollars. However, any amount in the account(s) not expended during the tax year are forfeited, so individuals are advised to plan their anticipated needs carefully. These accounts are subject to applicable IRS regulations.

504.12 Transportation Spending Accounts

A transportation spending account was inititated in 1999. This program allows payroll deduction for work-related parking, MARTA monthly passes, and qualifying vanpooling expenses. Deductions are curretnly pre-tax for federal taxes but not for Georgia state taxes.

504.13 Vision Insurance

Vision Care offers two options. Option I provides for materials only with co-payments. Option II covers a comprehensive exam and provides materials with co-payments. Services must be currently obtained at Hunter Eyecare locations in Georgia. Employees pay the full premium for this coverage on a pre-tax basis.