5.1 Benefits: Employees, Retirees and/or Dependents
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
Section 8 of the BOR Policy Manual provides information regarding benefits offered to employee, retirees and/or dependents. The Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual (HRAP) and the Academic and Student Affairs Handbook provide additional information relative to benefits.
5.1.1 Benefits Eligibility Dates
(Last Modified on June 24, 2021)
188.8.131.52 Benefits Effective Date
The Employee Benefits & Services section of the HRAP manual provides guidance relative to the effective date of benefits. Beginning July 1, 2017, the benefits effective date is based on hire date. Benefits will become effective on the first day of the month following hire date, unless an employee is hired on the first of the month; then benefits are effective on the date of hire (i.e. first day of the month), regardless of the enrollment date. Employees have 30 days from their hire date to enroll in benefits except for Regents’ Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS), which have 60 day enrollment periods.
Refer to BPM Section 5.1.6 Retirement Plan Participation for effective date of retirement plans.
184.108.40.206 Benefits Termination Date(s) and Final Benefits Payment Method(s)
A terminating employee receiving benefits will continue to receive the benefits until the last day of the month which contains their termination date. The employee is responsible for the employee’s share of the cost of the benefits for the entire month.
If an academic year contract employee transfers between USG institutions without a break in service other than the normal summer semester break, the employee’s benefits will continue at the initial institution through July and will begin on August 1st at the new institution. This will provide the employee with the same summer benefit coverage as if the employee was returning to the initial institution for the next academic year.
If an employee elects to terminate after tax benefit(s), outside of the regularly scheduled open enrollment period, the after tax benefit(s) will be effective until the last day of the month in which the employee elects to terminate the after tax benefit(s).
The payment for the final month’s benefit coverage will be withheld from the employee’s last check. If the employee’s last check is insufficient to cover the cost of the benefits, the benefits will be deducted from the employee’s vacation pay out check. If the employee’s final check and/or vacation pay out check is/are insufficient to cover the final month’s benefits, the employee should pay for the final month’s benefits prior to or on the final work day.
If an employee’s final check and/or vacation pay out check is insufficient to pay premiums due and the employee has not paid the amount due by the final day of work, the balance owed is to be recorded as an accounts receivable due from the terminating employee and should be handled in accordance with the institution’s collection process.
220.127.116.11 Qualifying Life Event and Administrative Event Documentation
Qualifying Life Events
Employees/retirees are not allowed to change benefit elections during the plan year except for those experiencing a Qualifying Life Event. The OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor is responsible for monitoring and communicating eligible Qualifying Life Events. Verification documents are required for qualifying life events. Additional information concerning qualifying events may be obtained from the OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor and the SSC.
Administrative (Data Driven) Events
In addition to Qualifying Life Events, administrative (data driven) events may initiate benefit changes. The OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor is responsible for monitoring and communicating eligible Administrative Events. Some of these events require verification documents. Additional information concerning administrative events may be obtained from the OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor and the SSC.
Dependent Eligibility Documentation
The HRAP manual’s Employee Benefits & Services Group Health Insurance for Dependents section provides guidance regarding the OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor’s requirement to obtain and validate documents for dependent eligibility.
Verification documents are required to confirm certain qualifying life events and administrative events. The HRAP manual’s Employee Benefits & Services Group Health Insurance for Dependents – Appendix 1 lists the documents required. Verification documents include, but are not limited to the following:
- Certified Birth Certificate
- Recorded Marriage License
- Copy of Adoption Papers with Court Seals
- Copy of Guardianship Papers with Court Seals
- Written Approval of Disability Status.
In accordance with the HRAP manual’s section on Employee Benefits & Services - Group Health Insurance for Dependents, eligibility verification documents must be provided to the OneUSG Connect third party benefits administration vendor within 45 days of the hire date, or within 45 days of a qualified family status change affecting dependent(s) eligibility during the open enrollment period.
Supporting documentation for Qualifying Life Events should be retained by the OneUSG third party benefits administration vendor in accordance with the USG records retention requirements.
5.1.2 Leave Accrual
(Last Modified on April 4, 2019)
Section 18.104.22.168 of the BOR Policy Manual establishes the accrual rates for vacation/annual leave.
Section 22.214.171.124 of the BOR Policy Manual establishes the accrual rates for sick leave.
Academic year faculty members are allowed to accrue sick leave during the period of their contract. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of 8 hours per month worked.
For OneUSG Connect institutions, the OneUSG Connect system is the system of record for leave accruals and usage. Leave eligible employees will accrue (earn) leave for the month if they are active on the 15th of the month.
For biweekly employees, leave is accrued and available for use based on a schedule that aligns with biweekly payroll processing dates. This schedule is posted at https://www.usg.edu/oneusg_connect/practitioner_services/time_and_absence.
For monthly employees, leave is accrued on the last day of the month and available for use on the first of the following month. Leave balances are updated once per pay cycle on a schedule that aligns with monthly payroll processing dates. This schedule is available/posted at https://www.usg.edu/oneusg_connect/practitioner_services/time_and_absence.
Leave will not be applied retroactively for absences prior to the date in which the leave was made available for use. If an employee begins work with the USG after the 15th of the month, the employee will not accrue (earn) leave for the initial partial month of employment. For OneUSG Connect institutions, the leave accrual for regular employees who are employed at least half time but less than full-time is prorated based upon the standard hours on the employee’s “Job record” in the OneUSG Connect system. The proration is based on the number of standard hours divided by 40, then multiplied by the accrual rate as established in Sections 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 of the BOR Policy Manual.
Example: An employee with 7 years of service whose standard hours are 30 would receive a monthly vacation/annual leave accrual of 9 hours and a sick leave of accrual of 6 hours. (30 standard hours/40 * 12 hours [full accrual rate for years of service] = 9; 30 standard hours/40 * 8 = 6)
Institutions outside of OneUSG Connect are expected to establish system procedures that allow for an equitable approach to leave accrual.
184.108.40.206 Leave Accrual for Summer Faculty
The Time Away from Work section of the HRAP manual states that an academic year-contract faculty member teaching during the summer months, may be eligible to accrue sick leave. The sick leave accrual is to be prorated based on the amount of time worked during the summer. This section of the HRAP manual also provides examples of the proration calculation. If a faculty member is employed during the summer to perform non-teaching duties, a determination of the amount of the work commitment should be made to facilitate the appropriate sick leave accrual.
220.127.116.11 Leave Usage
BOR leave policies are addressed in Section 8.2.7 of the BOR Policy Manual.
For OneUSG Connect institutions, the OneUSG Connect system is the system of record for leave usage. Leave usage must be recorded in the OneUSG Connect system as an absence request for a specific type of leave. An absence request may be a regular request or an extended request.
Regular absence requests are made for vacation/annual leave, comp time usage, sick leave for less than 6 consecutive days, sick-bereavement leave, blood donation leave, education support leave, intermittent FMLA, floating holidays, jury duty leave and voting leave.
Extended absences requests are made for sick leave greater than 5 consecutive days (medical non FMLA), FMLA, bone marrow leave, educational or professional development leave, military leave, organ donation leave, personal (unpaid) leave or workers compensation leave.
Employees should reference Section 8.2.7 of the BOR Policy Manual and the Time Away from Work section of HRAP manual for available leave options and eligibility.
For OneUSG Connect institutions, each institution should have a designated leave administrator to review extended leave of absence requests and coordinate the leave details with the employee and the employee’s supervisor(s).
Access to the OneUSG Connect system, for employees approved for extended leave of absences, should be reviewed to ensure proper access during the extended leave of absence. (See BPM Section 5.6.1 Data Access and Segregation of Duties)
For OneUSG Connect institutions, if the absence request, regular or extended, is approved and the employee’s leave balance for the requested leave type is insufficient to cover the request, the employee will not receive compensation for the hours not covered by the employee’s available leave balance. The OneUSG Connect system will use cascading leave rules, which allow leave requests to access multiple leave balances prior to the leave becoming uncompensated. Cascading leave rules determine the order in which the available leave balances are utilized when an employee requests an absence from a leave category with no available balance. For example, if an employee requests sick leave and does not have sick leave available, the system will check the employee’s other available leave balances in a pre-determined order and apply the absence accordingly. If an employee is not eligible for the next leave type identified by the cascade effect, the system will automatically move to the next available leave type in the order specified.
The OneUSG Connect cascading order for regular leave absences are:
Sick Leave, Sick – Bereavement, and FMLA Intermittent Absence Request:
2. Comp time
3. Deferred Holiday
4. Annual Leave
5. Unscheduled Holiday
Annual Leave Absence Request:
1. Comp time
2. Deferred Holiday
3. Annual Leave
4. Unscheduled Holiday
The cascade order for extended leave absences is:
Sick (Medical/Non FMLA) or FMLA and Workers Comp:
2. Comp time
3. Deferred Holiday
4. Annual Leave
5. Unscheduled Holiday
Note: For extended leaves, the leave administrator may approve different cascade order if necessary.
5.1.3 Vacation Payout
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
Section 18.104.22.168, Vacation/Annual Leave, of the BOR Policy Manual establishes the eligibility of employees to accrue (earn) vacation/annual leave as well as the requirements for the payment of the accrued vacation leave to an employee.
The following 3 events trigger the payment of the accrued vacation leave to an employee:
- Faculty member changes from a fiscal year contract to an academic year contract.
- Employee terminates employment with the institution.
- Employee transfers with no break in service to another USG institution and elects to receive payment for vacation leave in excess of 20 days (160 hours).
An institution shall never pay an employee for vacation leave in excess of 360 hours.
The payment of the accrued vacation leave (vacation payout – VPO) should be disbursed separately from, and after the payment of the final work-hours payment, with limited exceptions. The final work-hours payment is the regularly scheduled payment that includes the employee’s last work day.
Allowable exceptions include employees that work in a state where state regulations require the VPO payment to be made earlier than the final work-hours check and an employee transferring between USG institutions where the transferring employee requests payment for the accrued amount in excess of 160 hours. The State of Georgia does not require the payment of accrued vacation leave with the final work-hours payment. Please consult with the SSC for assistance in determining if earlier payment is necessary relative to other state regulations.
The institution’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) shall have the authority to approve additional exceptions to allow VPO payouts on the final work-hours check or by an off-cycle check.
The VPO check should be scheduled for the subsequent pay day for the employee after the final work-hours payment. The delay of the payment for accrued leave allows time for validation of the employee’s leave usage for the final pay period and the awarding of the leave for the final month of employment. If the subsequent pay day is not after the 1st of the next month, an adjustment for the final accrual may be necessary.
If an employee has not exceeded the maximum contribution limits for the various supplemental retirement savings plans that are available to him/her, it is acceptable for a contribution to be made from the VPO check. The employee should check with their tax adviser regarding supplemental retirement savings plan contribution limits.
If an employee is funded by a grant or contract, the grant or contract must be reviewed to determine if a VPO payout is an allowable expense. If not, the VPO should be made from an alternative funding source.
5.1.4 Withholding Schedule for Academic Year Employees
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
Academic year employees (10 month employees) are considered full-time employees, and they receive benefits for the summer, based upon the assumption that their employment will be renewed for the next academic year. For academic year employees paid over a 10 month period, payroll deductions for fringe benefits must aggregate 12 months of deductions within a 10 month salary delivery period. Normally, a contract/academic year employment begins in August and ends in May, with benefits continuing during June and July if the employment is renewed for the next academic year.
If an academic year employee terminates employment with the USG at the end of the academic year (May), benefit deductions for the months of June and July should be refunded to the employee. Health and dental benefits would then be available under COBRA. If an academic year employee is transferring to another USG institution, the employee’s benefits will continue at the initial institution through July and will begin on August 1 with the new institution. Only when their employment is scheduled for renewal for the next academic year is the employee allowed to continue benefits during the months of June and July.
The utilization of a common benefit deduction schedule by all institutions is desirable so that all academic year employees are treated equally. This deduction schedule should also allow for ease of calculations in the case of faculty members who teach one semester and do not return for the second semester, and allow for an annual increase in costs that normally occurs at the beginning of the calendar year. All institutions that have implemented the OneUSG Connect system will utilize the same deduction schedule.
The following deduction schedule is utilized by the systems supported by SSC. This schedule provides for 12 months of benefit deductions in a 10 month period ending at the end of the academic year in May. The deduction schedule properly calculates the correct deductions based on actual time worked by a faculty member that does not return for the second semester. It provides for a new benefit calculation period beginning January 1st to accommodate any rate changes.
The deduction amount for the months of August through December will be:
(1/12) multiplied by (5/5) multiplied by the annual deduction amount.
The deduction amount for the months of January through May will be:
(1/12) multiplied by (7/5) multiplied by the annual deduction amount.
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), employees or dependents enrolled in a health or dental plan who experience a qualifying event, which subsequently results in loss of coverage, will become COBRA qualified beneficiaries. The employees or dependents have the option of continuing coverage under the University System of Georgia Board of Regents plan(s).
The USG has contracted with a third party benefits administration vendor to administer COBRA.
Qualifying Event and Continuation of Coverage
The following events qualify an eligible employee for continued coverage for up to eighteen (18) months:
- Separation from employment for reasons other than gross misconduct or
- Reduction of work hours to a benefits ineligible status.
Note: If a COBRA eligible employee is disabled (as provided by Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act) within sixty (60) days of either of the above qualifying events, the employee may continue coverage for an additional eleven (11) months if they are continuously disabled.
The following events qualify an employee’s spouse and dependent(s) for continued coverage for up to thirty-six (36) months:
- Death of employee,
- Divorce or legal separation, or
- Loss of a child’s dependent status by the child reaching age 26.
Terms, conditions, and costs for coverage must be communicated to the eligible parties via notification letters.
In the event of a divorce, legal separation, or loss of a child’s dependent status, the employee or dependent(s) must notify the OneUSG Connect Benefits Call Center or update their status in the OneUSG Connect Benefits website within sixty (60) days of the event. Failure to provide timely notice of the occurrence of a qualifying event will result in the loss of the right to elect to continue medical coverage under COBRA.
Supervisor / Departmental Responsibilities
In the event of an employee’s death, separation from employment or reduction of hours to a benefits ineligible position, the department shall immediately advise their institution’s Office of Human Resources of the change in status.
Institution Office of Human Resources Responsibilities
Upon receiving notice of a qualifying event, the employer must enter the appropriate status in their payroll system in a timely manner in order for the third party benefits administration vendor to be notified.
OneUSG Benefits Administration Vendor
Upon receiving the qualifying event or change in status from an employee or the institution’s Office of Human Resources, the OneUSG benefits administration vendor will provide all required COBRA notifications to the employee, employee’s spouse and/or dependent(s).
Once COBRA has been elected, the OneUSG benefits administration vendor bills and receives premiums from the COBRA participants and monitors payments to determine if coverage should be terminated due to non-payment. Payment must be made within forty-five (45) days of the election and premiums must be made on a monthly basis. A person who elects coverage under COBRA is responsible for paying the full premium amount plus an additional two percent (2%) COBRA administration fee.
The option of direct debit shall be offered to all USG employees or dependents eligible to become COBRA qualified beneficiaries and who elect continuing coverage under USG’s health and/or dental insurance coverage.
As noted above, an election of COBRA must be made within sixty (60) days of the employee’s termination or the qualifying event. COBRA coverage begins on the day that coverage would have otherwise been lost because of a qualifying event.
COBRA coverage will end:
- On the last day of the maximum coverage period,
- If premiums are 30 days delinquent,
- If coverage is obtained with another employer group health plan,
- If the covered person becomes entitled to Medicare,
- Or if other COBRA regulations apply.
5.1.6 Retirement Plan Participation
(Last Modified on June 24, 2019)
University System of Georgia employees, based upon eligibility, may participate in one of the following retirement plans:
Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS)
Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia (ERS)
Regents’ Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)
Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP)
Section 8.2.8 provides of the BOR Policy Manual states that “it is the policy of the Board of Regents to provide for the retirement of all eligible employees, either through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRSGA) or the Regents Retirement Plan (ORP)”. Employees who transfer to the USG from another State Agency have the option of remaining with ERS.
The USG’s HRAP Retirement Plan Participation section provides additional guidance on employee’s eligibility for TRS, ORP, ERS and GDCP.
The Georgia Defined Contribution Plan was created to provide a retirement plan for temporary, seasonal and part-time employees. However, employees that are classified as student employees in accordance with IRS student exclusion criteria, and employees who are active in or retired from TRS, ERS, LRS (Legislative Retirement System) or JRS (Georgia Judicial Retirement System) are excluded from participation. http://www.ers.ga.gov/ Employees participating in GDCP are exempt from contributing to Social Security. However, they are required to contribute to Medicare.
ORP retirees who return to work in a position that is covered under a Section 218 agreement are excluded from participation in GDCP and are covered for Social Security and Medicare due to the Social Security Retired Annuitant rule.
Certain eligible employees who are at least age 60 at the time they become employed in a TRS eligible position may decline membership in TRS within the initial 90 days of employment. TRS members may elect to discontinue contributions to TRS after obtaining 40 years of service, as 40 years is the maximum number of years for which retirement earnings may be calculated.
All employees, except for those identified by the exclusions noted above, should be enrolled in a retirement plan from the first day of employment. However, new employees that are eligible to participate in the ORP have sixty (60) days from the first day of employment to select their ORP provider per the ORP plan documents. ORP eligible employees may elect to participate in TRS (as opposed to ORP) prior to the end of the 60 day window. The ORP plan documents also state that the employee electing to participate in ORP will begin their enrollment the first day of the payroll period following the day of election. Therefore, employees electing to participate in ORP, based upon their election date, may not be a retirement plan participant beginning on the first day of employment.
Employees that have the option to participate in ORP, and do not make the election prior to the 61st day of employment, will be enrolled in TRS retroactive to their employment date. The retroactive employee and employer contributions should be submitted to TRS in the next monthly reporting cycle. The recommendation is that the full amount be deducted from the first payroll processed after the 61st day of employment.
If contributions to a retirement plan are missed, the correction and submission of the missed contributions should be made in accordance with the specific plan’s rules and regulations as well as tax rules and regulations. The OneUSG Connect SOP provide detailed documentation on handling of missed contributions which institutional HR practitioners should utilize for these corrections and submissions.
Each retirement plan (TRS, ERS, ORP or GDCP) has its unique definitions relative to “pensionable earnings” which are subject to retirement calculations. The retirement plan provider has the final determination as to whether earnings are pensionable. The OneUSG Connect SOP provide more detailed information regarding whether compensation is pensionable.
22.214.171.124 Teachers Retirement System (TRS) Reporting
The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) establishes reporting requirements for institutions with participating employees.
The USG SSC coordinates the submission of the monthly participant data file(s) and contributions for the institutions it supports. The “Common Remitter” processes are utilized for these submissions and are documented in the OneUSG Connect SOP. The specific data fields included in the file are specified by TRS, as is the method for transferring the funds to TRS.
Institutions are required to submit sick leave certifications after a retiree’s last day of work.
126.96.36.199 Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Reporting
The Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) establishes reporting requirements for institutions with participating employees.
The SSC coordinates the submission of the monthly participant data file(s) and contributions for the institutions it supports. The “Common Remitter” processes are utilized for these submissions and are documented in the OneUSG Connect SOP. The specific data fields included in the file are specified by ERS, as is the method for transferring the funds to ERS.
ERS retirees earn service time for forfeited sick and annual leave. The last employer is responsible for the certification and payment for the cost of service for all accumulated forfeited leave. The cost of the forfeited leave service is calculated utilizing the following:
- member’s salary at retirement,
- employer contribution rate at retirement, and
- months of service earned for the forfeited leave
Institutions are required to submit a preliminary certification of the member’s forfeited leave at retirement. After the retiree’s retirement date, the institution is required to submit a final leave certification and the payment of the member’s final cost of forfeited leave service. The SSC reports forfeited leave monthly as part of the “Common Remitter” process for the institutions it supports.
188.8.131.52 Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) Reporting
The USG administers the plan and utilizes third party vendors to manage the assets of the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). The USG coordinates with these vendors to determine the reporting requirements.
The SSC coordinates the submission of the monthly participant data file(s) and contributions for the institutions it supports. The “Common Remitter” processes are utilized for these submissions and are documented in the SSC SOP. The specific data fields included in the file are specified by the ORP vendors, as is the method for transferring the funds to the vendor.
184.108.40.206 Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP) Reporting
The Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP) is administered by the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia (ERS). Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) establishes reporting requirements for institutions with participating employees.
The SSC coordinates the submission of the monthly participant data file(s) and contributions for the institutions it supports. The “Common Remitter” processes are utilized for these submissions and are documented in the SSC SOP. The specific data fields included in the file are specified by ERS, as is the method for transferring the funds to the vendor.
5.1.7 Retiree Benefits
(Last Modified on June 24, 2019)
Section 8.2.8 of the BOR Policy Manual provides policies defining USG retirement eligibility and retiree benefits (health, dental, and supplemental life insurance plans) eligibility.
220.127.116.11 Method of Payment for Retiree Benefits
Section 18.104.22.168 of the BOR Policy Manual provides that electronic withdrawal of funds (auto debit) is the required method of payment by retirees to the USG for benefit premiums. Payments should be electronically withdrawn from an account at a depository institution that is designated by the retiree. The withdrawal should be initiated by the USG, an institution within the USG, or by a third party contracted by the USG to bill and collect retiree benefit premiums. The withdrawal will occur on a specified date each month. The usage of electronic payments avoids the need for submission and processing of a paper check for retiree benefit premiums. The retiree’s authorization to process the auto debit must be obtained utilizing an Auto Debit Authorization Form (or a similarly named form or process).
If a retiree is unable to obtain a bank account that allows for auto debit, the retiree may request an exemption from the auto debit requirement by contacting SSC. If SSC determines that an alternative method of payment is appropriate, final approval must be obtained from the USG System Office.
22.214.171.124 Discontinuing Benefits for Retired Employees
Retiree coverage under the basic and dependent life, health, and dental benefits plans can be discontinued under one of three scenarios: at the request of the retiree, due to nonpayment of premiums, or at the death of the retiree.
If a retiree requests to discontinue his/her coverage, the institution should ensure premiums have been paid through the agreed-upon date. Otherwise, the account should be paid in full prior to ending the relationship with the retiree. In some instances, dependents of the retiree who were also covered may be eligible to continue coverage under COBRA. In those situations, COBRA paperwork will be generated and forwarded to the dependents.
A retiree whose coverage is discontinued due to nonpayment of premiums should be notified at least twice of the impending cancellation. The first notification may be either oral or written. The second notification must be in writing. If the retiree is not responsive, the coverage should be canceled and the account referred to collections.
Upon the death of a retiree, life insurance benefits must be paid. In the event of an employee’s death, Section 126.96.36.199 of the BOR Policy Manual, provides that a deceased employees’ dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in the group health insurance program. The USG shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of the group health insurance for the surviving dependents. If the deceased retiree participated in the dependent life insurance program while in active service, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in this program as well. The surviving dependents will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance. In no event shall the spouse of the deceased employee be allowed to continue participation in these benefit programs after remarriage. Dependent children may remain in these benefit programs until they reach the legal age of majority, or until they become eligible for another group benefits plan, whichever comes first.
188.8.131.52 Retiree Billing
The USG has contracted with a third party vendor to provide retiree benefits billing and collections. The third party vendor remits the collected funds to the institutions monthly.
The third party vendor notifies the retiree and the USG of premiums that are 30 days past due and for which benefits termination is imminent. The third party vendor will terminate the retiree’s coverage due to non-payment if a retiree/dependent is delinquent 30 days, unless notice to not terminate is received from the SSC. The SSC will coordinate with the institutions regarding coverage that will not be terminated.
When a retiree and/or dependent become 65 years of age, the USG health insurance coverage ends and the retiree will no longer pay health insurance premiums to the USG via the contracted third party retiree billing provider. At that time, in order to continue participating in USG health benefits, the retiree must enroll in a plan on the Retiree Health Exchange. If the retiree elects to participate, the retiree will pay premiums to the third party insurance plan provider. The retiree may still pay premiums to the third party retiree billing provider for other benefits such as dental insurance or life insurance.
For retirees who enroll in a plan through the Retiree Health Exchange, the USG will fund a health reimbursement account (HRA), in an annually specified amount approved by the BOR that will be available for reimbursement to the retiree for premiums and/or other eligible medical costs.
5.1.8 Leave of Absence (LOA) Benefits Billing
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
If an employee is approved for an unpaid leave of absence (LOA), the employee shall be placed in the appropriate leave status, and the employee is responsible for paying the employee share of premiums for any eligible benefits during the LOA. Dependent upon the type of leave, the employee may also be responsible for the employer cost of eligible benefits.
The employee should be billed for these benefits during the LOA. If payment is not made, the employee’s benefits should be terminated.
The third party benefits administration vendor will bill employees for continuing benefits while the employee is on LOA. The benefits administrator’s billing will begin on the first of the month following the effective date of the LOA. During the initial month of leave, the institution will process the payroll deductions for premiums. If the employee’s wages are insufficient to cover the premiums during this initial month, the institution will deduct the premiums from the employee’s check upon return to work. For institutions that have a payroll system that utilizes arrears, the deduction should go into arrears.
The third party vendor’s billing will end on the first of the month following the effective date of the end of the LOA. Payroll deductions will not occur during the month the employee’s LOA ends (unless the employee returns on the 1st). The employee should pay the third party vendor for the premiums for the month when the employee returns to work.
For employees on an academic year contract, during the months of January through May the premiums include an accrual to cover premiums for June and July. If an employee, subject to the summer premium accrual (7/5th), is on LOA during this period, the employee should be billed at the rate that includes the summer accrual amount. Any previously paid summer premium accruals will remain on the employee’s record and will be utilized to cover the premiums for the summer. Therefore, the employee would not be billed during June and July. If the employee terminates while on leave, any accrued summer premiums will be refunded to the employee by the institution.
5.1.9 Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
Employees may enroll in USG’s Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans and make changes to their contribution amounts with their institution’s HR office. Academic year contract employees should contact their institution’s HR office regarding the applicability of contributions for payroll payments received outside of the regular academic year contract (summer pay).
5.1.10 Benefits’ Tax Implications
(Last Modified on January 23, 2018)
The USG offers various benefits to its employees. Some of these benefits are subject to federal and state tax regulations and limitations. Changes in benefits during a calendar year may impact the limitations.
For Health Savings Accounts (HSA), federal tax regulations limit the amount of contributions in a calendar year. A change in health coverage during the calendar year must be considered in determining the maximum amount that can be contributed to the HSA. If errors occur in funding HSA accounts, federal tax regulations guide if, and how, corrections are made. The institution should contact the SSC for guidance in making the corrections. IRS Publication 969 provides additional information relative to HSA’s.
Employees should consult their tax advisor for information relative to their specific tax situation.