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Insurance While on Leave of Absence

For faculty leave requests, please contact the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at 512-471-4363 for policy information and forms.

What Are My Insurance Options While on Leave of Absence Without Pay?

If you will be on leave for less than one calendar month, please disregard this information as your insurance premiums will continue to be deducted from your monthly paycheck.     

If you will be on leave of absence without pay (LWOP) for an entire calendar month or longer, you will receive a communication from HR that will include a form regarding the following options for insurance coverage:

  • Continue current insurance coverage at full cost, or

  • Suspend all current insurance coverage, or

  • A combination of continuing some benefits and suspending others

You will make your selection on the form and return to the HR Service Center (HRSC) as soon as possible.

You can view your current coverage on the Review My Insurance Benefits webpage.  

During an unpaid leave of absence (LWOP), the following applies:

  • No Premium Sharing.  During a LWOP of one calendar month or longer, premium sharing does not apply towards the monthly cost of your medical insurance. Premium Sharing will resume when you return to work to a benefits-eligible position. Premium Sharing is the contribution from the State of Texas and the University that helps to offset employee medical premiums.

*If your leave has been approved under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then you will receive premium sharing for the duration of your FMLA status. 

  • Payment Options.  For billing information and payment options while on LWOP, please visit the Payroll Services website. Please note, the preferred method of payment is to use the What I Owe? online payment system.

  • Suspended Coverage.  For any insurance coverage you choose to suspend while on LWOP, the coverage will not be accessible until you return to work in a benefits eligible position.
  • Summer months.  If you are employed on the basis of an academic year (September-May) and your LWOP is during the spring semester, your LWOP status will continue through the summer months.  You will need to re-enroll for benefits when you return to work in a benefits eligible position.                                                                                                                                                                
  • Long Term Care coverage.  If you are currently enrolled in Long Term Care (LTC) and will be on LWOP longer than two (2) full months, contact CNA directly at 1-888-825-0353 to make arrangements for payment of your LTC premium. Once you return to work in a benefits eligible position, the premium will once again be deducted from your paycheck. 

  • Mandatory Retirement Programs.  Employer and employee contributions to your Teacher Retirement System (TRS), or Optional Retirement Program (ORP) will stop with your last paycheck before your LWOP begins.  Contributions will resume when you return to work to a benefits eligible position.

  • UTSaver Voluntary Retirement Programs.  If you participate in either the UTSaver TSA 403(b)  or  DCP 457(b), you can avoid multiple deductions from your first paycheck after you return to work for any “missed contributions” while on LWOP by canceling participation before your LWOP begins.  You can re-enroll once you return to active employment. You may re-enroll or make changes online via UTRetirement Manager.  Changes made online by the 14th day of the month will be effective the same month.

  • Termination of Employment.  If you terminate your employment while on LWOP and have been paying your insurance premiums, you may continue the same medical, dental and/or vision coverage through COBRA.  You must request the COBRA application forms within 60 days of your insurance termination date.  The COBRA Application Request form and more information about COBRA is available online.

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If you participate in UTFlex Medical Expense Reimbursement Account (MERA):

  • Your contributions will stop as of the last day of the month in which your monthly contribution was made.  Contributions will resume the date you return to active work status.

  • You will be required to continue to make contributions to your MERA while on LWOP if your reimbursements have already exceeded the amount you contributed at the time when you go on LWOP.

  • Contributions will be recalculated upon your return to work in a benefits eligible position so that your total annual election is deposited to your account by the end of the plan year.

  • You can only be reimbursed for services incurred during your LWOP by continuing to make contributions to the MERA.  An expense is "incurred" when the treatment or service is received, not when the bill is received or paid.

  • If you return to work from LWOP in a different plan year and you wish to participate in MERA, you must submit forms to re-enroll within 31 days of returning to work.

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If you participate in UTFlex Daycare Reimbursement Account (DCRA):

  • You are not eligible to continue the DCRA while on LWOP. Your payroll contributions to this account will resume once you return to work in a benefit eligible position. 

  • Contributions will be recalculated upon your return to work in a benefits eligible position so that your total annual election is deposited to your account by the end of the plan year.

  • If you return to work from LWOP in a different plan year and you wish to participate in DCRA, you must submit forms to re-enroll within 31 days of returning to work.

Change of Status Event:

If you experience a Change of Status event while on LWOP that impacts your insurance coverage, you have 31 days from the date of the event to submit required forms and documentation to the HRSC.  You can find more information about Change of Status and instructions online.

Returning from LWOP:

All employees who return to work in a benefit eligible position must submit insurance forms to the HRSC within 31 days of returning to work to re-enroll or change your insurance and/or UTFlex coverage.   

If you do not submit forms within 31 days of your return to work in a benefits eligible position, your next opportunity to add or make changes to coverage will be the next Annual Enrollment periodEvidence of Insurability (EOI) may be required at that time.

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