3.01 Benefit Plan General Information

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals


The purpose of the Benefit Plan General Information policy is to provide basic information about eligibility, continuation and taxation of the fringe benefits provided to employees. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive policy. For more information, refer the Human Resources Department web site at http://hr.nau.edu/ or the Summary Plan Descriptions.

General Information

Northern Arizona University offers eligible employees a variety of benefit plans. For specific information about these plans, contact the Human Resources Department. These benefit programs are subject to change without prior notice, as determined by changes in federal or state laws or regulations, policies of the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Department of Administration rules, determinations by Northern Arizona University or plan changes implemented by benefit providers.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for benefits, an employee must be a regular employee working 20 hours or more per week for six months or more. A newly hired employee must enroll for benefits within the first 30 days of employment. Failure to enroll within the first 30 days may cause reduced or limited benefits for which the employee qualifies.

These benefit programs are available to all university employees (academic professionals, administrators, classified staff, faculty, and service professionals), except student employees, who meet the eligibility criteria.

Continuation of Benefits

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires the university to offer continuous group medical and dental coverage to an employee and/or the employee's qualified beneficiaries under certain qualifying events if coverage is lost through no fault of the employee. Coverage may last up to 36 months depending on the qualifying event. Contact the Human Resources Department for more information.

Required Benefits

The university is required by law to provide certain benefits for employees. These benefits begin on the first day of employment and will remain in effect during eligible employment. These benefits include but may not be limited to:

Benefit Cost paid by
Social Security University and Employee equally
Medicare Hospital Insurance University and Employee equally
Unemployment Insurance University
Workers' Compensation University

If the employee is benefit eligible, then enrollment in a retirement plan and a long-term disability plan is required.

Pre-tax Benefit Plan

The Arizona Board of Regents adopted the Pre-tax Benefit Plan on January 1, 1988, allowing an employee to pay for certain eligible benefits on a pre-tax basis. Allowing pre-tax payment for benefits reduces the employee's annual taxable salary, producing the net effect of lowering the taxes paid by the employee and increasing the employee's take home pay.

Under the provisions of tax law, the benefits paid for on a pre-tax basis must stay in effect for the entire plan year, unless there is a qualifying event. If a qualifying event occurs (e.g. birth, marriage, divorce, adoption, job change, etc.), the employee must contact the Human Resources Department to make a pre-tax benefit change within 30 days of the qualifying event.

The annual open enrollment period is the one time each year when changes to pre-tax benefit plans can be made without a qualifying event. The Arizona Department of Administration establishes the dates for the Open Enrollment period and it is usually at the beginning of the fall semester.

For more information refer to Policy 3.02 Benefits Summary.

Post-tax Benefits

Certain employee elected benefits are paid through payroll deduction on a post-tax basis. This means the premiums associated with the specific benefits are taken from the gross income after taxes have been calculated on the paycheck. Post-tax benefits can be stopped at any time throughout the calendar year.