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Benefits Overview and FAQs

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Program Information

Vanderbilt is pleased to offer a comprehensive and flexible benefits package. Read this overview carefully and select the benefits that fit you and your family.

Benefits Overview 2016 for current employees (VUnetID required)

Benefits Overview 2016 for future employees (no VUnetID required)

Health insurance

403(b) Retirement Plan

Dental insurance Tuition Assistance
Vision insurance Go for the Gold
Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health care
  • Dependent day care
Optional insurance
Short-Term Disability  Time off (PTO)
Long-Term Disability  Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Life Insurance  
Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D)  Summary plan descriptions and reports

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility and timing Retirement plan
Health plan Tuition assistance
Dental plan Vision plan
Time off/PTO Payroll
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) Parking and directions
Disability insurance General questions
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)  

Jump to Additional Questions 

Eligibility and timing

  • Am I eligible for benefits right away? Which ones? When will they take effect? Are there deadlines to enroll?

    Refer to the following charts as well as your manual for guidance.

    Regular, full-time staff

    Benefit

    Takes Effect Enrollment Deadline*
    Health, dental and vision Your hire date 30 days after your start date
    403(b) retirement plan  Your hire date, but employer match availability varies. Mandatory contributions begin automatically after one year and the completion of 1,000 hours for staff. Visit Vanderbilt’s Retirement page for details. none
    Life Insurance Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Accidental Death & Dismemberment Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Short-term disability First of the month following 30 days of employment/eligibility; enhanced coverage begins automatically after 1 year

    Traditional and Enhanced: 30 days after your benefit takes effect

    Long-term disability  First of the month after 1 year of employment/eligibility 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Flexible Spending Accounts  First of the month following 3 months of employment/eligibility 90 days
    Tuition assistance (employee) 3 months from your hire date none

    Faculty

    Benefit Takes Effect Enrollment Deadline*
    Health, dental and vision Your hire date 30 days after your start date
    403(b) retirement plan  Your hire date, but employer match availability varies. Mandatory contributions begin automatically after one year and the completion of 1,000 hours for staff. Visit Vanderbilt’s Retirement page for details. none
    Life Insurance Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Accidental Death & Dismemberment Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Long-term disability  First of the month after 1 year of employment/eligibility 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Flexible Spending Accounts  First of the month following 3 months of employment/eligibility 90 days
    Tuition assistance (employee) Your hire date  none

     House Staff

    Benefit Takes Effect Enrollment Deadline*
    Health, dental and vision Your hire date 30 days after your start date
    403(b) retirement plan  Your hire date, but employer match availability varies. Mandatory contributions begin automatically after one year and the completion of 1,000 hours for staff. Visit Vanderbilt’s Retirement page for details.  none
    Life Insurance Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Accidental Death & Dismemberment Your hire date (exempt), 90 days after your hire date (non-exempt) 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Short-term disability First of the month following 30 days of employment/eligibility; enhanced coverage begins automatically after 1 year Traditional and Enhanced: 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Long-term disability Your hire date 30 days after your benefit takes effect
    Flexible Spending Accounts  First of the month following 3 months of employment/eligibility 90 days
    Tuition assistance (employee) 3 months from your hire date none

    Partially Benefits-Eligible

    Benefit Takes Effect Enrollment Deadline*
    Health Your hire date 30 days after your start date
    403(b) retirement plan  Your hire date, but employer match availability varies. Mandatory contributions begin automatically after one year and the completion of 1,000 hours for staff. Visit Vanderbilt’s Retirement page for details.  none
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Health plan

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Dental plan

  • How do I find a dental provider?

    For Cigna, go to the Cigna website and choose the Cigna Dental Care HMO network or call Cigna Dental Care Customer Service at 1.800.367.1037. Instructions are as follows: 1. In the orange bar in the middle of the page, FIND A DOCTOR. 2. Click on FOR PLANS OFFERED THROUGH WORK OR SCHOOL. 3. Choose Find a DENTIST. 4. Under Select a Plan, click on PICK. 5. Under DENTAL PLANS, choose Cigna Dental Care.

    For BlueCross BlueShield DentalBlue, go to the BlueCross BlueShield website, select Find a Provider and then select Dentist from the options menu. Choose DentalBlue Network as the network for Tennessee. You also can call the Dental Member Service at 1.800.523.1478 between 8 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. EST Monday-Friday. If you use or plan to use the Vanderbilt Dental Clinic, please call the clinic at 615.322.2193 for insurance details.

  • Where can I go to find out about covered procedures and patient charges for each dental plan?

    Cigna DHMO Patient Charge Schedule, BlueCross BlueShield Summary of Benefits and DentalBlue Covered Services, Limitations and Exclusions

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 Vision plan

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Time off/PTO

  • How soon will I accrue vacation and sick time?

    Vanderbilt's PTO (Flexible Paid Time Off) program allows you to use your time off in ways that suit you best. The program includes a centralized bank of time that combines your vacation, personal, holiday and sick days. You can use this time for planned time off, including vacations and holidays, and for brief illnesses. You accrue PTO each pay period. Visit the PTO page for accrual rates and calculators, bank limits and FAQs.

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Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

  • What are FSAs?

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) enable you to direct some of your pay, on a pre-tax basis, into an account to pay for eligible health care or dependent day care expenses. "Pre-tax" means you do not pay federal income or FICA taxes on the amount of money you put in the FSA. Because your income is going into your FSA account pretax, you save money by not paying income tax on that amount. Click here for more information. The money contributed to your FSA account must be used during the calendar year; it does not carry over from year to year. You do have a grace period in which you are allowed additional time to incur claims for reimbursement. This grace period allows participants to incur claims up until March 15 of the following plan year. Money not used will be forfeited. Please plan your election amount carefully.

  • Are there different types of FSAs?

    Vanderbilt offers a health care FSA and a dependent day care FSA to employees.With a health care FSA, you can pay for your and your dependents’ health-related expenses, up to the IRS limit of $2,550 per employee. If both spouses work, both can claim $2,550 - for a total household limit of $5,100. You have access to the full amount when you become eligible, even though the account is funded evenly from each paycheck you receive in the calendar year. Visit the HR website for a list of eligible health care expenses and for details on how to submit a claim.With a dependent day care flexible spending account, you can pay for daycare services for eligible dependents, up to the IRS limit of $2,500 per employee. If both spouses work, both can claim $2,500 - for a total household limit of $5,000. Dependent day care FSAs are not for medical expenses for your dependents. You can use the health care FSA for your dependents’ medical expenses. The dependent day care flexible spending account is “pay as you go,” meaning the amount contributed per pay period is accessible at that time.

  • How can I check my flexible spending account balance?

    1. Log into My VU Benefits.
    2. On the welcome page, scroll down to the section that says "Reimbursement Accounts (FSA/HRA)."

    FSA1

    3. Click on "View My Reimbursement Account."

    FSA2

  • How do Flexible Spending Accounts save me money?

    Putting pre-tax money from your paycheck into a flexible spending account lowers your taxable income, so you pay less income tax. Ask Alex, your interactive benefits advisor can further explain how FSAs can save your money.

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Disability insurance

  • Do staff automatically get disability insurance?

    No, but you can enroll in traditional short-term disability during your first 30 days of employment/eligibility, and coverage begins on the first of the month following 30 days of employment/eligibility. Enhanced short-term disability coverage and long-term disability coverage* begin automatically the first of the month after one year of employment/eligibility. *Long-term disability coverage begins immediately for house staff.

  • What’s the difference between short- and long-term disability insurance?

    Short-term disability insurance (STDi) provides nearly full income replacement if you are unable to work for an extended period due to an approved medical condition. Once you have fulfilled the two-week (14 calendar day) waiting period, short-term disability insurance provides income protection up to 66 2/3% of your annual base benefits rate (ABBR) (up to $2,500 per week). Short-term disability benefits may continue for up to 24 weeks. Long-term disability insurance (LTDi) pays 60% of your ABBR, up to a maximum monthly benefit of $33,000, if you become disabled and are unable to work for six months or longer. The LTDi benefit also includes a 10% monthly contribution to your retirement account if you participate in the Vanderbilt University 403(b) Retirement Plan.

  • Can I waive the one-year waiting period for short-term or long-term disability coverage?

    You may be able to waive the one-year wait if you had group LTDi coverage within 90 days prior to coming to work at Vanderbilt. Complete and submit the Long-Term Disability Certification of Prior Coverage Form within 90 days of your hire date to waive the one-year wait. If approved, full long-term disability coverage must be effective on your hire date. Any missed LTDi premiums will be collected from future paychecks. The one-year waiting period for enhanced STDi cannot be waived. However, you do have the option to enroll in traditional STDi during your first year of employment.

  • There are two types of short-term disability. Who is eligible for each type?

    Enhanced short-term disability is for benefits-eligible staff with more than one year of benefits-eligible service. It does not apply to faculty or post-doctoral fellows.Those with house staff benefits are eligible for short-term disability. You can make changes to enhanced short-term disability at any time through My VU Benefits. Traditional short-term disability is for newly benefits-eligible staff within their first year of benefits-eligible service.

  • If I already have short-term disability insurance, is there anything I need to do?

    No, your existing short-term disability coverage will automatically roll over into the new plan year.

  • What is traditional short-term disability insurance?

    Newly eligible staff with less than one year of service have access to Vanderbilt's traditional short-term disability insurance. Traditional short-term disability covers your annual salary and is voluntary for those within their first year of benefits-eligible service. Premiums are 100% employee paid. If you are approved for a claim, benefit payments are 66 and 2/3% of your covered salary. There is a pre-existing conditions clause for traditional short-term disability. Any conditions or medical care received in the six months prior to the effective date of your coverage will not qualify for a claim within your first year of coverage. 

  • What is enhanced short-term disability insurance?

    For employees eligible for enhanced short-term disability insurance, Vanderbilt pays for base coverage which covers the first $24,000 of your annual base salary. You can pay for the buy-up portion, which covers the amount of your annual base salary above $24,000. If you are approved for a claim, benefit payments are 66 and 2/3% of your covered salary. Learn more.

    Enhanced short-term disability provides a no-cost base coverage, which is paid for by Vanderbilt, and buy-up coverage, which is paid for by the employee. The base portion pays 66.7% of your weekly wages on the first $24,000 of annual base salary with only a two-week waiting period (14 calendar days). Costs for the buy-up depend on your annual salary. You may opt out of the buy-up coverage at any time. If you wish to re-enroll in the buy-up coverage at another time, you will be subject to medical review and you could be denied.

  • I am eligible for enhanced short-term disability. During last year’s Open Enrollment, I opted out of the buy-up option. Did that election carry over into 2016?

    Yes, if you opted out of the buy-up option at any time, that same election carried over into 2016.

  • I previously opted out of the buy-up coverage, but now I'd like to add it. How do I do that?

    Employees who previously declined short-term disability buy-up coverage can enroll at any time on My VU Benefits. You will be subject to medical review and the insurer may deny you coverage.

  • How much does the buy-up coverage cost?

    When you enroll in My VU Benefits, you will see the cost, which is based on your annual income.

  • Can I get buy-up coverage outside of Open Enrollment?

    Yes, you can apply for the buy-up coverage at any time through My VU Benefits. However, you will be subject to medical review and the insurer may deny you coverage.

  • Do I have to wait a certain amount of time before the short-term disability benefit payment begins? How does that work?

    Yes, there is a 14 calendar day waiting period. You can use grandfathered sick time, PTO bank,or parental leave (if eligible) until the short-term disability benefit payment begins. If you enrolled only the base option, you must first exhaust your grandfathered sick time balance before short-term disability begins. Short-term disability benefit payments can last for up to 24 weeks. Note that you will need to a file a claim to receive the benefit and have your physician complete paperwork before you return to work. Click here for how to file a claim.

  • Can I use short-term disability for my spouse’s or child’s illness?

    No, short-term disability is only for a staff member’s covered medical condition.

  • Is there a pre-existing condition clause in the enhanced short-term disability insurance program?

    There is no pre-existing condition clause if you enrolled in the plan as a new employee. If you enrolled during Open Enrollment, you may be subject to a pre-existing conditions clause. Please review the Summary Plan Description for full details.

  • I didn't choose the enhanced short-term disability buy-up coverage when I enrolled for benefits. Can I add it now?

    Yes, you can go to My VU Benefits to elect buy-up coverage. You will need to complete a medical evaluation and coverage may be denied due to your medical history.

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Retirement plan

  • Does Vanderbilt have a 401(k)?

    Vanderbilt has a 403(b) retirement plan for employees (nonprofit equivalent of a 401(k) plan). The Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan is a mandatory long-term investment program for eligible faculty and staff to prepare for retirement. Fidelity Investments is the plan’s administrative services provider.

  • Can I enroll in the retirement plan right away?

    Generally, you can enroll in the plan after your start date and begin making voluntary contributions the first of the month following your hire date. For full-time regular staff, mandatory and matching contributions begin the first of the month following one year of employment. For more details, visit the Retirement webpage.

  • How much does Vanderbilt match on the retirement plan?

    Vanderbilt will match up to 5% of your retirement plan contributions, in the following ways: After one year of service, you will be automatically enrolled in the plan and mandatory pre-tax contributions as a condition of employment. The contribution is fixed at 3% of your salary and is matched 100% dollar-for-dollar by Vanderbilt. Also after one year AND 1,000 hours of service, Vanderbilt will match an additional 2% of your salary dollar-for-dollar if you choose to make additional voluntary contributions of 2%. This can be done on a pre-tax or Roth (after tax) basis. The IRS sets an annual limit for voluntary retirement plan contributions. You are immediately vested 100% in their contributions and in the University's matching contribution upon your eligibility for participation. This means you immediately owns your contributions and Vanderbilt's contributions upon eligibility and may take them if/when your employment with Vanderbilt ends.

  • Can I combine my 401(k) from my previous employer into my Vanderbilt retirement account?

    Yes. The Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan accepts rollovers of taxable distributions from other pre-tax, qualified retirement plans. Only active employees currently contributing to Vanderbilt’s plan may roll over money into the plan. To process a rollover, call the Fidelity Retirement Service Center at 800.343.0860.

  • How do I change contributions in my retirement plan?

    If you already have a NetBenefits account, simply log in to change your contributions. If you don’t have an account yet, click here to register. Click here for more information about the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan.

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Tuition assistance

  • How much of a discount do I get on tuition?

    Eligible staff receive a 70 percent discount (47 percent for faculty) on course work at Vanderbilt or 70 percent reimbursement at another accredited college or university for one course per semester, or three courses per academic year. For classes taken at Vanderbilt and at other colleges/universities, you must submit the Tuition Benefit for Myself or My Spouse/Partner form before the class begins. If the form is not submitted on time, the benefit may be denied. For classes taken at Vanderbilt, the benefit is calculated and posted at the beginning of the term (as opposed to a reimbursement received after the class is completed). For classes taken at other colleges/universities, you will be reimbursed after the class is completed. You must submit the Request for Reimbursement of Tuition Expenses form before the start of your next class and include your final grade report with an itemized invoice. The benefit will pay for grades “C” and above. The reimbursement is included in your next paycheck after verification and approval by the HR Tuition Office. Any reimbursements over $5,250 in a calendar year may be subject to tax. Since this is a conditional reimbursement, no communication is made with the school. Eligible staff members may also audit one Vanderbilt course per semester and tuition will be waived, provided the staff member has the instructor's and the supervisor's written permission to attend. No credit is given for audited classes. Click here for additional details.

  • Can my spouse/same-sex domestic partner take advantage of a tuition discount?

    Your spouse/same-sex domestic partner will receive a 47 percent discount on tuition for one course per semester taken at Vanderbilt, or three courses per academic year, provided coursework is not in pursuit of a degree and your spouse or partner is not enrolled in a full-time program. Spouses/partners of eligible staff members may also audit one Vanderbilt course per semester and tuition will be waived, with written permission from the instructor. Click here for additional details.

  • Is there a tuition discount for children?

    Dependent children of employees with five or more years of service may receive the greater of:

    • 100 percent of up to $2,000 of the total tuition per semester, or

    • 55 percent of the total tuition, not to exceed 55 of Vanderbilt’s tuition for similar coursework.

    Tuition will be paid directly to the college or university on your child’s behalf. Each eligible dependent child may receive tuition assistance for up to eight academic semesters or 12 academic quarters of undergraduate courses. The maximum family tuition benefit is 24 semesters or 36 quarters for all of the employee’s children; or a maximum of 48 semesters or 72 quarters for all of the children if Vanderbilt employs the eligible employee and his/her eligible spouse or eligible same-sex domestic partner.

    Click here for additional details.

  • Did you receive my tuition form?

    Once you submit your tuition reimbursement form, please allow at least two pay cycles to have your reimbursement processed and reflected in your paycheck. Remember that dependent tuition benefit payments are made directly to the college or university your child attends. If you have questions, you may email tuitionbenefit@vanderbilt.edu or contact the Human Resources.

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Payroll

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Parking and directions

Accidental Death and Dismemberment

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General questions

  • How do I get a VUnetID?

    If you don’t have a VUnetID yet, ask your supervisor. If you think you have a VUnetID but forgot it, contact the VUIT Help Desk, and ask the support provider to “reclaim” your account. Then, go to the AccessVU website, click on “Re-Authenticate” and follow the directions to reset your password. You’ll need the last five digits of your social security number, your birth date and your legal first and last names.

  • How do I log into C2HR?

    Go to the HR home page and click on the C2HR tab (second from right at top of page). Then simply log in with your VUnetID and password.

  • How do I change an address?

    Go to the HR home page and click on the C2HR tab (second from right at top of page). Then log in with your VUnetID and password. Click on “Personal Profile” (second tab listed under your name and Employee ID) then “Edit” at the bottom of the page. Enter your information, and then click “Next” at the bottom of the page. Click “Confirm” to save your changes.

  • Where do I get my ID badge?

    The University Card Services Officeis  located at Sarratt Student Center, Room 184. Click here for directions .

  • Can I view my benefits from any computer? How about a tablet or phone?

    You can view your benefit from any Internet-connected computer or device, anywhere in the world. All you will need is your VUnetID and password to access My VU Benefits.

  • I am not that familiar with using computers. Who can help me?

    Visit HR Express located on the 2nd floor of the 2525 West End building, Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.

  • Can I make insurance payments at HR Express?

    No. Insurance payments are payroll deducted or direct billed if you are on leave.

  • Who is the HR consultant for my area?

    Visit the HR Service Delivery Teams page and search by department number or name.

  • How will my performance be evaluated?

    Generally, your manager will have an annual performance discussion with you in the spring. Your evaluation may include goals you set with your manager and the university’s leadership model. Your manager may use a paper template or the Vanderbilt Performance Evaluation System (VPES) as a guide. 

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