Many NC State employees participate in the US Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard and may be called to active duty. Following is a summary of benefit plan options while on active duty. Upon being called to active duty, faculty and staff are advised to contact the University Benefits Office as soon as possible to discuss benefit plan options with a benefits consultant who specializes in military leaves of absence.
During Military Leave with Full Pay
While on military leave with full pay, all benefit plan premiums and retirement contributions continue through payroll deduction. No action is required by the employee to maintain coverage while on leave with full pay.
During Unpaid Military Leave of Absence
If on leave without pay for 31 days or less, an employee is eligible for the University’s health plan contribution as if actively employed. The dependent premium can be paid by personal check, through the University Benefits Office.
If on leave without pay for a period of more than 31 days an employee will be offered the option to continue coverage for up to 24 months, under provisions similar to COBRA and through direct-pay to the health plan.
If an employee returns from military leave without pay within 90 days of discharge and re-enrolls in the health plan, the effective date of coverage can be either the first of the month of discharge, or the first of the month following discharge. Either way, the returning employee is eligible for the University’s health plan contribution.
As a third alternative, if no more than 63 days have lapsed between the health plan coverage cancellation and reinstatement dates, coverage may begin without penalty on the first of the month following the employment reinstatement date.
For all mandatory retirement plans, contributions resume by payroll deduction upon return to full time employment.
Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System
Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) participants may receive credit at no cost for periods of active duty service up to the time the employee is first eligible for discharge if the employee was a teacher or state employee upon entering the military and returned to employment as a teacher or state employee within two years after the earliest discharge date. Other provisions may apply whereby an employee may purchase credit for military service.
401(k) Plan for Law Enforcement Officers
Employer contributions to the state’s 401(k) plan for law enforcement officers will be paid by the university following the return to service on the basis of the salary that would have otherwise been paid during the leave of absence.
Optional Retirement Program
An Optional Retirement Program (ORP) participant is permitted to make catch-up contributions for each year of qualified military service provided she/he entered qualified military service directly as an employee of NC State and was reinstated under re-employment requirements outlined in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Contributions are based on the salary he/she would have earned had employment continued and are payroll-deducted on a pre-tax basis beginning with the date of re-employment and extending no longer than the lesser of three times the period of military service or five years. NC State must make contributions for each year of qualified military service in an amount equal to the employer contribution the participant would have received as if actively employed.
Voluntary retirement plan
Voluntary retirement savings plan (401k, 403b and 457) contributions may resume upon reinstatement from military leave. Employees returning from military leave are permitted to make up missed voluntary contributions based on the salary that would have otherwise been paid. The repayment period for make up contributions shall not exceed the lesser of three times the length of the leave period or five years.
Dental, vision and the supplemental medical plan can be continued for up to 24 months when timely premium payments are made. Coverage can also be cancelled while on military leave and if a return to work occurs within the 24-month continuation period, benefits can be restarted without waiting periods
The health care flexible spending account may be continued during an unpaid leave of absence. Contributions are paid on an after-tax basis directly to the plan administrator. Participants might consider continuing contributions if claims for services are expected to occur during the leave period and there is a significant account balance that would otherwise be forfeited. Continuation of contributions is permitted through the end of the current calendar year.
Dependent care expenses incurred during a leave without pay are not reimbursable; therefore it is recommended that contributions to the dependent care flexible spending account be discontinued during an unpaid leave of absence.
The accidental death and dismemberment plan may be continued for up to 12 months through direct premium payment. Coverage may also be cancelled during the leave period, and reinstated upon return to work without evidence of insurability approval.
Voluntary group term life insurance may be continued for up to 12 weeks through a portability option, by direct pay to the plan administrator. Upon return to work, premium payments will resume through payroll deduction. This life insurance plan may also be cancelled; however, upon return to work and re-enrollment, evidence of insurability approval may be required.
The cancer insurance plan may be continued for up to 24 months while on military leave, through direct pay. The plan may also be cancelled, and if an employee re-enrolls in the plan within the 24 month continuation period, waiting periods and pre-existing condition limitations will not be imposed, except in a situation where cancer is incurred or aggravated during the course of military service
While on military leave without pay, MetLife Group Term Life Insurance premium payments may be paid directly to MetLife. Payroll-deducted contributions will resume upon return to employment.
Prudential Long Term Care and Traveler’s Home/Renters and Auto Insurance premiums may be paid directly to the plan administrator while on unpaid leave of absence. Policy- holders should refer to plan documents for information regarding cancellations and reinstatements after periods of non-payment.
When an employee is reinstated under USERRA re-employment requirements, Supplemental Disability Plans coverage will resume without penalty provided plan re-enrollment occurs within 31 days (Standard long term plans) or 60 days (Lincoln Financial Group long term plan) of reinstatement
While on military leave without pay, Hyatt Legal Plan coverage will cease on the day leave without pay begins. Coverage can be resumed provided plan re-enrollment occurs within 31 days of reinstatement under USERRA re-employment requirements.
Benefit Plan Provisions
Employees are encouraged to review plan details carefully, as some plans may exclude the payment of benefits if death, illness or injury arise out of the course of riot, acts of terrorism, war or self-inflicted injury.