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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 Facultyy
  • 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.

Postdoctoral Trainees (Employee, NRSA, Paid-Direct, Visiting)

Post Doctoral Fellows appointed on at least a half-time basis are eligible to participate in the postdoctoral benefit plans with include health, dental, vision, group term and optional term life insurance, long term disability, FSA, and retirement. Postdoctoral Trainees 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.  For more information, see the postdoctoral benefits plan webpage.

Visiting Faculty, Scholars, and Researchers Plan

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, and vision benefits through Gallagher.  See Non-Employee Benefits Booklet for more information.
  • Individuals have 31 days from the appointment begin date to elect insurance coverage by accessing the Gallagher portal.  Instructions here.
  • Premiums will be billed directly to the individual via Gallagher.
  • All J-1 visa holders must obtain their coverage through the Visiting Scholar Plan administered by Risk Management (847-491-5610).

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.

NRSA Post-baccalaureate Trainee

NRSA Post-baccalaureate Trainees receive a stipend through the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Recipients are trainees rather than employees of the University, as mandated by the terms of the award. If you are employed by the University prior to accepting an NRSA appointment you are required to relinquish your employment and to change status from employee to trainee for the term of the grant.  To be eligible, the individual's primary job code must be NRSA Post-Baccalaureate Trainee 107367.

  • Eligible to participate in health, dental, and vision insurance benefits through Gallagher.  See Non-Employee Benefits Booklet for more information.
  • Individuals have 31 days from the appointment begin date to elect insurance coverage by accessing the Gallagher portal.  Instructions here.
  • Premiums will be billed directly to the individual via Gallagher.

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.