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Benefits Eligibility

Eligibility for benefits varies based on employment classification.

Type of Employee

Staff

  • Regular status staff must be scheduled to work at least 18.75 hours per week.
  • Exempt staff must be appointed on at least a half-time (50%) basis.
  • An employee must hold an appointment that is full-time for 6 months or at least half-time for 1 year to be benefits-eligible. University salary must be sufficient to cover benefit plan deductions.
  • Eligible staff may participate in the health, dental, vision, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, flexible spending account (FSA), and retirement.

Faculty

  • Faculty must be appointed on a full-time or part-time basis for the entire academic year or on a full-time basis for half the academic year.
  • The University defines half the academic year as either one semester or two quarters.
  • Eligible faculty may participate in the health and dental, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, FSA, and retirement.

Academic Full-Time and Half-Time Faculty

  • You must be compensated by Northwestern University or be a Faculty Physician with Northwestern Medical Group (NMG).
  • Your University salary must be sufficient to cover the amount of monthly premium deductions.
  • Eligible academic year faculty may participate in the health and dental, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, FSA, and retirement.

Contributed Service Faculty

Medical School faculty who volunteer to participate in the academic activities of the Medical School without direct financial compensation are eligible to participate in the Reduced Tuition plan.

ROTC Faculty

If you serve as full-time faculty for ROTC and NROTC programs on campus, while not paid by the University, you are eligible to participate in the University tuition plans.

Visiting Pre Doctoral Fellows

Visiting and International Pre Doctoral Fellows are eligible for a separate benefits plan offered through the Office of Risk Management. Domestic Pre Doctoral Fellows who are not employees or students should obtain coverage from their home institution.

Post Doctoral Fellows

Post Doctoral Fellows appointed on at least a half-time basis are eligible to participate in the health and dental, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, FSA, and retirement. Post Doctoral Fellows must hold an appointment that is full-time (2 quarters or 1 semester) for half the academic year or at least half-time for the entire academic year to be benefits-eligible. University salary must be sufficient to cover benefit plan deductions.

NRSA Post Doctoral Fellows

Post Doctoral Fellows funded by a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are not eligible to participate in the University's benefit plans.  They are eligible for a separate benefit program through Garnett-Powers & Associates. Read about the program on the Benefits for Non-Employee Postdoctoral Scholars page. 

Direct Funded Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellows who are not affiliated with another institution and receive all funding from an external sponsoring agency could be eligible for the Direct Funded Postdoctoral Fellows plan administered by Garnett-Powers.  To be eligible, the individual's primary job code must be Postdoc Fellow Direct 107021, they cannot be paid with University funds, and they cannot be considered an employee of the University in any other form.

  • Eligible to participate in health, dental, vision, life, and long term disability insurance benefits through Garnett-Powers & Associates.
  • Individuals have 31 days from the appointment begin date to elect insurance coverage by accessing the Garnett-Powers link: https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/northwesternse/
  • Premiums will be billed directly to the individual via Garnett-Powers.
  • All J-1 visa holders must obtain their coverage through the Visiting Scholar Plan administered by Risk Management (847-491-5610).

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows, Scholars and Researchers

Visiting postdoctoral fellows, scholars and researchers who come to Northwestern should maintain their own health coverage through their home institution as a condition of their appointment. In the event coverage from the home institution is not available, or the home institution does not have a plan that offers coverage in the Chicago and surrounding area, Northwestern University offers Visiting Non-Employee Health Coverage through an unsubsidized plan administered by Garnett-Powers. Those with an unpaid primary role of a visiting non-employee, as outlined in the below policy, are eligible for the Visiting Non-Employee plan. All J-1 visa holders must obtain their coverage through the Visiting Scholar Plan administered by Risk Management. Risk Management may be reached at 847-491-5610. Benefits begin the first of the month coinciding with or following initial eligibility.

  • Please review the Visiting Non-Employee Health Coverage Policy to determine eligibility.
  • Eligible to participate in health, dental, vision, life and long term disability insurance benefits through Garnett-Powers & Associates.
  • Individuals have 31 days from the appointment begin date to elect insurance coverage by accessing the Garnett-Powers link: https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/northwesternse/
  • Premiums will be billed directly to the individual via Garnett-Powers.
  • All J-1 visa holders must obtain their coverage through the Visiting Scholar Plan administered by Risk Management (847-491-5610).

Visiting Faculty

Individuals with academic appointments of half time or greater at the rank of professor, associate professor and assistant professor paid by the University are eligible to participate in the health & dental, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, FSA, and retirement.

Students

Undergraduate and graduate students in degree seeking program should obtain student insurance through the Student Affairs.

Disabled Employees

If you become permanently and totally disabled while working for Northwestern University, and are receiving University-sponsored Long Term Disability benefits, you are eligible to participate in the health and dental, and group term and optional term life insurance.

Retirees

  • If you retire from University employment you may elect to convert Optional Term Life, and Group Term Life to an individual policy directly with the sponsoring insurance company.
  • You may also continue health and dental coverage.

Other Eligible Individuals

Spouse

A spouse must be legally married to the eligible employee.

Surviving Spouse and Child(ren) of a Deceased Employee

  • An eligible spouse or dependent child of a deceased employee or retired employee is eligible only for health and dental coverage.
  • The spouse or dependent child must be enrolled in the University sponsored plan at the time of the employee’s death.

Partner

  • You and your same or opposite-gender partner must obtain a civil union in order to qualify for coverage under University plans.
  • The partner and their children are eligible for health, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment coverage and tuition benefits.
  • Insurance premiums will be charged on either an after-tax or before-tax basis in accordance with federal and state regulations and based on your individual situation.
  • FSAs may not reimburse an employee for partner medical care or for the care of a partner's dependents unless they are an Internal Revenue Code Section 152 dependent

Dependent Child(ren)

  • Dependent children include unmarried natural, step, foster, legally adopted children, and any children who are in your custody under an interim court order prior to the finalization of adoption proceedings.
  • Your dependent child may be covered under health, dental, vision, and life plans until his/her 26th birthday.
  • Any children who are dependent upon you for financial support and maintenance because of disability are covered regardless of age if they were covered by the plan prior to reaching the limiting age.

*Employees located in Miami, New York, and Washington, DC are only eligible for the BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois PPO health plans and dental plan. They are not eligible for HMO Illinois, or Cigna International health insurance, or First Commonwealth dental insurance.

+Employees located in Doha, Qatar are only eligible for Cigna International health, dental and vision insurance.