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Benefits FAQs

Am I required to attend orientation to sign up for benefits?

Yes, all employees are required to attend New Employee Orientation. If you are in a non-faculty position, your department will schedule you to attend orientation, likely on your first Monday and Tuesday. If you are faculty, you will be scheduled for an individual or small group benefits session in Human Resources.

How long do I have to sign up for Benefits after I am hired?

You have one month, up to 31 days, to enroll in benefits. You must attend Orientation before your enrollment window expires. It is best that you attend Orientation either your first day or within your first week. Your department will schedule you for the weekly New Employee Orientation program or a Faculty Orientation.

Why do I have to sign up for benefits on my first day, at New Employee Orientation?

New employees must make an initial election right away on their benefits.  But we understand that you may want to take some time to review the benefits before enrolling, perhaps to discuss with your family.  A lot of material is covered at orientation and you may feel overwhelmed. While you are required to turn in enrollment forms at orientation, you can change your mind and make new elections within your first month. So if you waive coverage initially, you can return to our office within your first 31 days to enroll.  Likewise, you can drop coverage, even if you pre-tax the premium, within your first 31 days.  Contact our office at 501-686-5650 if you have a question on the effective date of your insurance change.

What do I do if I missed signing up for benefits as a new hire?

Contact Human Resources immediately.  Be aware that if you miss your 31 day enrollment period you may not be able to enroll in Medical or Dental coverage without a Qualifying Life Event.

Does UAMS offer annual open enrollment?

No. The University does not guaranteed an annual open enrollment. Refer to the list of Qualifying Events that allow you to add or change coverage.

How long are my kids eligible for health coverage?

Your children can remain covered under your health plan until the end of the month in which they reach age 26.  At that time they will be offered continuation of coverage under COBRA.

Can I still cover my daughter once she marries?  Can I drop her?

There are just two criteria for covering children:  (1) they must indeed be your child — by birth, adoption/court action or marriage; and (2) they have not yet reached age 26.  That means your children who are married, live on their own, or have their own job may remain covered, as long as these two criteria are met.  You cannot drop your daughter solely on the basis of her marriage, because that marriage by itself does not cause her to be an ineligible dependent. However, if she enrolls in insurance through her new spouse, that would be a qualifying event for you to drop her. The one month deadline (31 days max) to make changes applies.

We just had a new baby. Do we wait until we get the social security card to add the baby?

No, do not wait!  You only have 31 days from the baby’s birth to add them to your medical insurance.  It’s best to add the baby as soon as you can after birth.  Once you receive your baby’s social security number, contact Human Resources and we will update your insurance plan records.

My son will turn 26 next month. When do I take him off my insurance?

UMR and Delta Dental will automatically drop him from coverage when he ages out, and will notify our office so we may adjust your premium (i.e. if your son was your only covered child). He will be offered continuation of coverage under COBRA. For more information, contact Human Resources/Employee Services at (501) 686-5650.

What effect does having my premiums taken out before or after taxes have on my choice to drop coverage?

If you have your Medical or Dental insurance premiums taken out of your paycheck before taxes, you may ONLY drop coverage when you have a Qualifying Life Event or at the end of the tax year. If you elect to pay your health insurance premiums on an after tax-basis, you may drop a dependent or all family members at any time.

You cannot add dependents without a Qualifying Life Event regardless of your pre-tax/after-tax premium coverage level. Contact Human Resources /Employees Services at (501) 686-5650 with your particular situation.

How do I get new Medical and Dental cards?

Once you initially enroll in insurance, insurance cards will be mailed to you in about three weeks.  If you need a replacement card, you can log into the insurance plan administrator’s website to print a temporary card or order new cards.  You’ll find links and telephone numbers on our web site.

How do I see a doctor before I get my insurance card?

If you access your benefits before you obtain your cards, you may have to pay out of pocket, unless your provider can delay filing your claim. Otherwise you can file a manual claim after-the-fact to be reimbursed what insurance would have paid. The claims forms are on our web site. When in doubt as to your coverage or plan benefits, please contact UMR at 1-888-438-6105.

What do I do when medical claims are denied?

The first thing to do is contact UMR at 1-888-438-6105 and find out why. UMR will be able to instruct you on the surest way to rectify the problem or discuss ways to appeal the decision. Contact HR/Employee Services at (501) 686-5650 if you are unable to get your claims problem resolved after contacting UMR.  If you have a question about a UAMS bill, please contact the SmartCare Concierge at 686-8749.

Do I have to choose an option on the Point of Service medical plan?

No. Your coverage/option level is determined at the time the health care is accessed. If you go to an in-network provider, your benefits are paid as in-network. If you go to an out-of-network provider, your benefits are paid as out-of-network (reduced benefits due to deductible and higher coinsurance, plus “balance billing” if your out-of-network provider charges fees that exceed UMR’s fee schedule).

I have family out of state.  Do I have to sign up for Point of Service?

No. Our medical insurance has a provider network that is nationwide.  You can be in the Classic plan and have access to in-network providers.  Visit our Medical web site for links to search for providers both in and outside Arkansas, plus other details. 

How do I change my address with UMR?

Address updates must always start in UAMS Employee Self Service.  Once you have updated your address in our records, your new address will be reported to UMR at the end of the month when we send them an address file.  Address changes will then be reflected in their records by the first of the next month.  Click here for details on how to change your address with other benefit carriers.

Where do I change my retirement investment allocations?

You must contact your fund sponsor – TIAA-CREF (1-800-842-2776) and/or Fidelity (1-800-343-0860) – directly to make any changes to where your contributions are allocated.  You can also change your investments online.   Links are on our UA Retirement Plan web site.

How often can I change the amount I contribute to my retirement plan?

You may change your contributions to your retirement plan at any time by filling out a Salary Deferral Agreement found under Benefit Forms and submitting it to Human Resources. Unless you specify a future date, changes generally take effect either the current or next pay period.

Who do I contact for a loan from my retirement plan? How do I go about requesting the necessary paper work?

To request a loan from your UA retirement account, you must first contact your fund sponsor (TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity) and request a loan application.  You can do this online or by phone:  TIAA-CREF (1-800-842-2776) and/or Fidelity (1-800-343-0860).  Once you have requested the loan, you or your fund sponsor must forward the request to Human Resources for an Employer Authorization signature.  If you have ever defaulted on a loan in the past, you will not be eligible for a new loan.  The maximum number of open loans you can have is three.

How do I pick between TIAA-CREF and Fidelity? Who do I talk to about helping me choose the right investments for me?

Research, research, research!  Both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity have a variety of information resources available to you. You may contact both retirement companies by phone or via the web. You can also meet with TIAA-CREF and Fidelity counselors when they are on campus. See schedule.

Where do I go to change my beneficiaries?

Life and AD&D insurance: the form is found under Benefit Forms. Or contact Human Resources (501-686-5650). Beneficiaries for these insurances are maintained in Human Resources.

Retirement: Your fund sponsor, TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity, maintains your beneficiary election. Contact them directly to request forms, or visit Benefit Forms for instructions on how to do this online.

We recommend that when you designate someone as your beneficiary that you let them know to contact UAMS in event of your death. You should also keep a copy of any beneficiary changes with your other important personal documents.