Pre-Tax Medical Insurance FAQ
Q: How does the plan work?
A: If you are paying premiums for University-provided medical coverage, your participation in the Plan is automatic unless you waive participation before the beginning of the Plan Year. The Plan Year is the same as the calendar year.
Q: Will this change the amount I pay for medical insurance?
A: No, However, paying your medical insurance premiums in pre-tax dollars instead of after-tax dollars will reduce the total amount of your taxable income, and so less money will be withheld in Social Security and income taxes. This will increase the amount of your take-home pay.
Q: Do I have to take part?
A: No, it’s up to you. You can choose not to participate in the Plan by filing a Waiver Form with the Benefit Administration department. You will be given a Waiver Form for the Plan at the same time you become eligible for the Plan. If you do not waive participation in the Plan prior to the date required for such waiver, you will be deemed to have elected to participate, and your insurance premiums will be deducted on a pre-tax basis for the next Plan year.
Q: Can I change my mind?
A: Yes, but normally it won’t be effective until the next plan year. Once you have elected to participate (or have chosen to waive such participation), you cannot change your medical plan election during the Plan Year, unless you have a change in your family status, such as getting married or divorced, the birth or death of a child, or other events that might increase or decrease the number of people being insured. If there is a change in family status, you can change your election in mid-year without penalty. For a complete list of events that qualify as changes in status, contact Total Compensation and Wellness.
Q: If I don’t want to participate, do I have to submit a new Waiver Form every year?
A: No. If you submit a Waiver Form (center section of enrollment/change form), it will remain in effect from one year to the next until you change your election, or until you have a change in family status. The change would normally take effect as of the beginning of the next Plan year.
Q: How much extra money will I see in my paycheck if I participate in this plan?
A: That depends on your salary, the number of exemptions you claim for income tax withholding, your marital status, and the amount you pay for medical insurance.
Q: Could this affect my Social Security when I retire?
A: Because the amount deducted to pay medical insurance premiums will not be subject to Social Security taxes, that amount would not be counted when calculating Social Security benefits. Therefore, in some instances your Social Security payments at retirement could be affected.
Visit the Social Security Administration to calculate your own benefits. Each year, SSA will send you your personal Social Security Statement, which gives you an estimate of the monthly benefit amounts you and your family may qualify for now and in the future. However, you may want to use different assumptions about your future earnings or when you will stop working. The calculators at this site allow you to explore different options and see how they may affect your benefit amounts.
Q: Will this affect my university retirement benefits?
A: No. Whether or not you participate, your decision will not affect the contributions made to your retirement plan by either the University or yourself.
Q: If my personal circumstances change, can I adjust the amount I pay on a pre-tax basis?
A: The amount you pay for medical insurance can be adjusted only if your family status changes, such as marriage, divorce, death of spouse or child, birth or adoption of child, commencement or termination of spouse's employment, you or your spouse's changing to or from full time employment status or taking an unpaid leave of absence.