The Catholic University of America

Benefits Policy

Approved by: President
History: Issued    -- February 2002  
  Revised  -- June 13, 2013  
  Additional History
Related Policies:  
Additional References: HR Benefits Web pageERISA Plan DocumentsSummary Plan Descriptions
Responsible Official: Associate VP/Chief Human Resources Officer tel. (202) 319-5050
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I. Introduction
The University offers employees and qualified dependents a variety of valuable and affordable benefits. This section is a brief description of the benefits available to regular employees of The Catholic University of America. For complete information on benefits, contact the Office of Human Resources.
II. Group Health, Dental, and Vision Plans
The Catholic University of America offers a choice of medical, dental and vision plans to regular full-time and regular part-time employees who are defined under the University’s policies as benefits eligible and their qualified dependents. Participation is optional and the cost of the premiums for most plans is shared by the employee and the University. 
Employees who wish to enroll in one of the health insurance plans must do so within the first thirty days of employment. Employees who do not enroll during the first thirty days of employment will not be able to enroll until the next open enrollment period unless a qualified event as defined under law occurs. Examples of qualified events include, but are not limited to change in marital status, birth or adoption of a child, loss of eligibility status by a covered dependent, or change in employment status that affects eligibility for coverage.
For specific information, contact the Office of Human Resources.
Post-Termination Health Care Continuation - COBRA
Under Title X of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) the University offers continuation of medical, dental and/or vision insurance under certain circumstances. A regular employee is eligible for continuation of health care coverage if coverage was lost because of a reduction of hours or termination for reasons other than gross misconduct. Spouses and dependent children of employees or former employees may have the right to continue coverage in certain circumstances and within the limits required by COBRA.
Persons electing to continue health care coverage under COBRA will be responsible for the full cost of the premium plus a 2 percent administrative fee. Premium rates and payment information are available from the Office of Human Resources.
III. Group Life Insurance

At no cost to employees, the University provides regular full-time and benefits eligible part-time employees with term life insurance. Note, however, that in certain circumstances income may be imputed to the employee. The amount of the insurance is equal to the employee's annual salary rounded to the next higher multiple of $1000. It increases automatically as the employee's salary increases, up to a specified maximum. The employee should complete a Beneficiary Designation Form as soon as possible.  New employees are not eligible for this benefit until the first of the month following 90 days of service. 
Supplemental Life Insurance may also be available to employees and dependents.  Life insurance amounts are reduced for those aged 70 and older. 
IV. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all benefits eligible employees, their spouses and their dependents. A broad range of confidential assistance is available at no cost to employees and their families. The University pays the full cost of the EAP.
Employees and their dependents have access 24 hours a day, seven days a week to counselors trained to provide support in dealing with personal, family or work-related issues.

Additional information on the EAP is available through the Office of Human Resources.
V. Long Term Disability

Regular full-time and regular part-time employees who are benefits eligible are covered by the Long Term Disability Income Plan beginning on the first day of the month following one year of employment with the University. Benefits eligible faculty are eligible for coverage the first of the month after date of hire. The University pays the full premium.

An employee who is absent for 90 consecutive calendar days because he/she is unable to work for medical reasons may be eligible for long term disability payments. If an employee believes that he/she may be eligible for long term disability income, the employee need not wait until the end of the 90-day waiting period to file an application. All sick leave and annual leave must be exhausted before long term disability payments can begin. The insurance carrier underwriting the University's plan determines an employee's eligibility for long term disability payments based on the terms and limits of the plan, and is responsible for payments made under the plan.

Any employee who wishes to apply for long term disability income should contact the Office of Human Resources.
VI. Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts
The University offers employees the opportunity to enroll in either or both of two Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Employees who enroll in an FSA can use pre-tax dollars to pay for certain unreimbursed medical expenses up to the maximum chosen by the University each calendar year and communicated to the employees during open enrollment.  The amount will never exceed the IRS legal maximum. 
Use of the FSA will reduce an employee's taxable income. Employees designate, at the time of enrollment, the amount that will be withheld from each paycheck and forwarded to the employees’ accounts. After incurring a covered expense, the employee submits receipts to the company administering the University's FSA benefit and is reimbursed or uses a debit card if appropriate. The amount designated by the employee at the time of enrollment cannot be stopped or changed during the plan year, except in the case of a family status change. Examples of a family status change are marriage, divorce, death of an immediate family member whose expenses were being paid by the FSA and birth or adoption of a child.
Employees are advised to calculate the amount to be deposited each pay period very carefully. If the amount deposited in the FSA exceeds the actual covered expenses, the unused money is forfeited by the employee. In addition, money deposited for dependent care expenses cannot be used for unreimbursed medical expenses and vice versa.
Additional information on the Flexible Spending Account Program is available from the Office of Human Resources.
Health Savings Accounts are available only to those employees who participant in a High Deductible Medical Plan as defined by law.  The Account belongs to the employee but contributions may be made to the extent permitted by law through payroll deduction.  Additional employer contributions may be made at the discretion of the University.
 VII. Retirement
A. Eligibility

An employee is eligible for retirement if he or she is at least 60 years of age and has:
 
a. 15 or more continuous years of service in a regular benefits eligible position
 
-or-
 
b. If an employee’s age plus continuous years of service equal at least 75, and the employee has at least 10 continuous years of service in a regular benefits eligible position.
 
The University values the contributions of its employees and encourages employees who have retired to remain a part of the University community. Several of the retiree benefits described in this policy are intended to encourage retirees to participate in University courses and events. 
B. Retirement Planning

During their employment at the University, employees are strongly encouraged to set financial goals and plan for retirement. The Retirement Plan established for eligible employees is administered by TIAA-CREF. Employees in regular full-time or regular benefits eligible part-time positions who are at least 26 years old and who have at least one year of service with the University are required to participate in the University supported Retirement Annuity Plan (or the Group Retirement Annuity Plan in the case of recently hired employees). Eligible employees may elect to contribute 0.0 percent, 2.5 percent or 5.0 percent of their pre-tax incomes to their retirement plans. The University then contributes 5.0 percent, 7.5 percent or 10.0 percent, respectively, of the employees' pre-tax incomes to the plan. In addition to the Retirement Annuity contract,
most employees except for student workers may elect to participate in the Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity contract (GSRA). There is no minimum age to participate in the SRA and there is no University contribution to the GSRA. 

Employees who are considering retirement may wish to meet one-on-one with a TIAA-CREF representative. TIAA-CREF and the University publish a list of dates when TIAA-CREF representatives are on campus to meet with employees. Additional information on scheduling a meeting with TIAA-CREF is available in the Office of Human Resources.

C. University Retirement Benefits
 
1.  Retiree Health Insurance
 
University retirees, as defined in the Retirement Policy, Section I, may continue their medical coverage after retirement (contingent upon the terms of the University's contracts with its insurance companies) at the full group rate with no contribution from the University until such time as specified in this paragraph. Retirees may also continue dental and vision benefits at the full group rate with no contribution from the University. Retirees under age 65 may only continue medical insurance until such time that they turn age 65, unless they elect COBRA at the time of retirement. Those retirees age 65 and older may elect a Medicare Supplement but the University will not contribute to any supplement.   If a retiree elects COBRA at the time of retirement, the special retiree options including the option of continued dental and vision care in perpetuity and any Medicare supplement offer will not apply.  Rates and payment information are available from the Office of Human Resources.
 
In the event of the death of a retiree enrolled in family coverage in the medical plans offered by the University, the retiree's surviving spouse and eligible dependents may continue their coverage at the full group rate.  However, the University does not contribute to the premium.  The same rules which apply to coverage only until age 65 under the University medical plans apply to the surviving spouse and eligible dependents.
 
2.  Retiree Life Insurance
 
Retirees (as defined in the University’s Retirement Policy, Section I) are covered by life insurance in the amount of $5,500. This is fully paid by the University.
 
3.  Retiree Additional Benefits
 
University retirees (as defined in the University’s Retirement Policy, Section I) are eligible for several benefits, many of which are awarded to encourage retirees to continue to participate in aspects of the University which interest them. Retirement benefits include the benefits outlined above as well as the following:
·         Upon retirement, the University will allow the retirees to keep the University identification card on a permanent basis. No annual update of the card is required.
·         Retirees may continue to receive tuition assistance benefits for spouses and dependent children by birth or adoption with the limitation that the benefit will be extended only if the spouse and dependent children were eligible at the time the employee retired and only for undergraduate programs. Retirees and their spouses may audit courses without charge, subject to the permission of the instructor of each course.   
·         Borrowing privileges are continued at the University libraries upon presentation of a University identification card.
·         Retirees are invited to participate in University ceremonial, liturgical, and social functions. A University identification card may be required.
·         Retirees can receive a free ticket to productions at the Hartke Theater.  Contact the theater directly for information.
·         Retirees are welcome to request and receive copies of selected University publications.
·         Retirees may use their University identification cards to obtain a one-day temporary parking permit when visiting the campus.
 
For additional information about the University Retirement Plan or retirement benefits, contact the Office of Human Resources.