Benefits | Employee Resource Manual | Kent State University

Benefits

GROUP INSURANCE

Overview

Kent State University strives to provide a program of competitive, high-quality, while supporting the health and wellness needs of our diverse workforce. These include comprehensive health and welfare insurance plans, a generous pension plan, and optional retirement savings opportunities. 

Please review each of the sections below to learn about your benefit plans.  You may also visit the University Benefits website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/insurance-benefits for more complete and detailed information. For more information, contact Benefits at (330) 672-3107.

Medical Plans

The University offers a comprehensive selection of PPO medical  plans. A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) gives you freedom of choice and greater flexibility.  You may change your primary care physician at any time and you do not need a referral to see a specialist. By using in-network providers and facilities, you receive a higher level of benefit for the services.

Employees have a choice of two providers, Medical Mutual of Ohio and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.  As in the past, Kent State University continues to offer:

  • Medical Mutual (PPO) 90/70 plan
  • Medical Mutual (PPO) 80/60 plan
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPO) 90/70 plan
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPO) 80/60 plan.

Beginning January 1, 2017, the University is offering a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), paired with a Health Savings Account.  It is a medical benefits plan and a savings account all in one.

An HDHP is a health insurance plan that has a higher deductible –  the amount of medical expenses you pay each year before medical services are covered at 100%.  While the deductible is higher with this type of plan, the employee contributions (the regular amount you pay each pay period for the coverage) is typically lower than a traditional health plan. High deductible plans don’t begin to pay the cost of medical expenses until after you’ve met the deductible.

Preventive services are covered at 100% in-network along with a list of basic preventive prescriptions also covered at 100% (not subject to the deductible). This means that when you receive services like annual physicals, immunizations, mammograms, colonoscopies, and well-child care, you are not charged a copayment, coinsurance or deductible. For more information on the HDHP and HSA plans, please visit the website at https://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/anthem-bcbs-hdhp-high-deductible-health....

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Effective January 1, 2017, the University is offering a Health Savings Account (HSA) paired with the High Deductible Health Plan. The HSA will be administered by PNC Bank.

An (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account you can contribute to and draw money from for certain medical expenses tax-free. HSAs can be used for out-of-pocket medical, dental, and vision coverage. HSAs can't be used to pay health insurance premiums.  There are certain criteria that must meet to enroll in an HSA:

  • You have to be covered by a qualifying High Deductible Health Plan
  • You must not have other medical coverage
  • You cannot be enrolled in Medicare
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
  • You cannot be enrolled in a Health Care FSA or a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • Must be age 18 or older

Prescription

Enrollment in any medical plan option automatically includes prescription drug coverage provided through CVS Caremark.  Under this plan, you can receive periodic prescriptions through your local pharmacy. For maintenance prescriptions (prescriptions taken on a regular basis for an extended period of time), you with need to use the CVS Caremark mail order pharmacy program once you have received an original prescription and two additional refills.

Added in July 2016, Smoking cessation products are now available through CVS Caremark. Nicotine Replacement Therapy and prescription medication coverage have been added to the CVS prescription drug plan for all employees and their eligible dependents age 18 and older.  No copay or coinsurance will be applied to NRT or prescription medications to support the smoking cessation program. You can find more information on prescription drug coverage the smoking cessation program.

Vision

Enrollment in any medical plan option automatically includes vision coverage at the same level as your medical election (single or family). EyeMed Vision provides access to more than 37,000 independent practitioners and optical retail providers at more than 17, 000 locations nationwide.  Employees are able to receive exams, eyeglasses/contract lenses on a calendar year basis (Jan 1 – Dec 31).  The full benefit must be used at the time of service (when you purchase a pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses).  For more information about your vision coverage, please visit the University Benefits website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/vision-insurance.

Dental

The dental plans, administered by Delta Dental of Ohio offer a large network of contracting providers to choose from when dental care is needed.  All plans offer in-network and out-of-network providers.  Using in-network providers allows you to minimize out-of-pocket costs and receive a higher level of benefit. For more information about your dental plans, please visit the University Benefits website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/dental-insurance.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Effective January 1, 2017, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) will be administered by PNC Bank.

An FSA is a tax-advantage account offered by our employer that allows you to pay for eligible out-of-pocket healthcare and dependent care expenses, with pre-tax dollars, for you, your spouse and your eligible dependents.  During benefit enrollment, you decide the annual amount you want to contribute, which effectively lowers your taxable income.

Visit the University Benefits website to learn more about Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

Eligibility

Medical, dental, prescription, vision, life insurance, long-term and short-term disability coverage are available to full-time benefits-eligible employees and eligible family members. For more information on dependent verification criteria, please visit the website at https://www.kent.edu/hr/2017-dependent-verification-form

Life Status Changes

Since many of the university’s benefits are governed by Internal Revenue Service code, there are rules that govern when employees may change a benefit election throughout the year. Generally, employees must have a life status change or life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child), in order to make a change during the calendar year. An employee must notify the Benefits Department within 31 days of the life event; otherwise, they may have to wait until the next open enrollment to make a benefit change selection.

Domestic Partner Benefits
The University offers domestic partner benefits to eligible employees.  The benefits extend to both same-gender and opposite-gender partners of University faculty, unclassified and classified employees.

To initiate the domestic partner benefits process, the employee must complete and submit the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership form, and appropriate supporting documentation.  More information about Domestic Partnership benefits can be found at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/domestic-partners.

Opt Out Incentive

Employees have the choice to opt out of University-provided health insurance coverage and instead receive a monthly opt out incentive payment.  To be eligible, the employee must not be enrolled in University provided health insurance, this includes medical, prescription, vision and dental coverage.

Life Insurance Coverage
The university provides employer-paid term life insurance for full-time benefits-eligible employees equal to three times the base salary up to $225,000; this coverage includes AD&D coverage. A travel accident policy provides employees traveling on university business an additional $100,000 in coverage. Employees must designate beneficiaries for these coverages, and they apply to both the Group Term Life and Travel accident coverage.  Employees may also purchase additional supplemental life insurance.  Find more information concerning life insurance products

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Employee Assistance Program

Kent State offers an employee assistance program to university employees and their family members. IMPACT can assist with a variety of issues including stress, anxiety, depression, child management, marital concerns, substance abuse, child care and elder care. Employees and their family members can receive up to six confidential counseling sessions per issue at no cost. If treatment continues beyond the six sessions, IMPACT will make every effort to transition the client with a provider that participates in the subscriber's insurance plan. IMPACT resources are available 24/7, 365 days a year, by calling1-800-227-6007.can also find resources on the IMPACT website at http://www.impactemployeeassistance.com. The login to access this site is "kent."

New Hires

New Hire Benefits Orientation sessions are conducted bi-weekly by the Division of Human Resources for all newly hired benefits eligible employees.  Please visit the New Hire website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/new-hire-benefits-information for valuable information and resources to help you make an informed decision when it comes to benefits for you and your family.

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is an opportunity for you to take some time to re-evaluate your current and future benefit needs for you and your family.  The annual Open Enrollment period, is conducted in the Fall of each year and employees will receive information prior to the start of the Open Enrollment period.

 

Continuation of Coverage (COBRA)
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan. These benefits may continue for limited periods of time under certain circumstances; such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. For more information, please contact the University Benefits Office at benefits@kent.edu.

Retirement

State Retirement Systems of Ohio

Eligible employees may enroll in either the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) for faculty or the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) for all other staff. Both groups have the option to choose the Kent State’s Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) instead. Both employee and employer contribute to the plan.

As a new hire employee you will have 120 days from your first day of paid service to make your selection. If you choose STRS or OPERS, you will have an additional 60 days (180 days from your first day of paid service) to select one of three retirement plans offered by STRS and OPERS.

OPERS offers the Traditional Pension Plan, the Member-Directed Plan and the Combined Plan while STRS members may choose the Defined Benefit Plan, the Defined Contribution Plan or the Combined Plan.

Retirement eligibility under each system varies. The OPERS Traditional Plan and the STRS Defined Benefit Plan include a disability retirement option for qualifying employees. These retirement systems are in lieu of Social Security.

Employees who have service credit in other public institutions may be eligible to purchase that service for credit in the Ohio retirement systems. Please contact OPERS or STRS concerning the criteria for purchasing service credit

For the most updated employer and employee contribution rate or any other additional information, please visit the OPERS website at www.opers.org or the STRS website at www.strs.oh.org.

Alternative Retirement Plan

Employees full-time employees may choose to opt out of the State Retirement Systems and instead choose to participate in the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP).  The ARP, a defined contribution plan under 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) was established to allow employees to make career choices that were not based on longevity in a state retirement system and to provide employees with an option that offered more portability of retirement income.  As in the State Retirement System, both the employee and employers contribute to the plan. 

For more information concerning your retirement options, please visit our website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/retirement.

Other Retirement Benefits

Employees can invest in their future by taking advantage of supplemental retirement options.  Both the 403(b) and 457 plans allow employees to set aside pre and post tax dollars for future savings.  To learn more about putting your dollars to work for you, consider attending one of the Financial Wellness seminars being offered.to all employees.  For a list of offerings please visit the website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/financial-wellness.

Additional Benefits Offerings

Aflac offers a wide variety of voluntary indemnity plans.  These plans provide coverage protection for you and your family members when an unexpected accident or illness occurs.

There are several plan options to choose from:

  • Aflac Group Critical Illness Insurance
  • Aflac Group Hospital Indemnity Insurance
  • Aflac Short-term Disability Insurance

To determine the best plan for you, please visit our website at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/voluntary-indemnity-plans.

Long Term Care insurance pays for home healthcare, assisted living and nursing home care to help people with the functions of day to day living as well as services related to rehabilitation, chronic illness and cognitive impairment.  To schedule a one-on-one consultation or for any other questions, contact Legacy at 1-800-230-3398, ext. 101 or custsvc@4groupltci.com.

College Advantage, Ohio’s 529 college savings plan is offered and administered by the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority.  The plan provides you with a tax free way to save for college.  Funds can be used at any college in the country for tuition, room and board or books.  To learn more about the College Advantage Plan, please visit their website at www.collegeadvantage.com.

For additional information or questions concerning your benefits, please visit the University Benefits website at http://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/insurance-benefits or contact the office at 330-672-3107 or benefits@kent.edu.

 

LEAVES OF ABSENCE

University policy provides for various types of unpaid and paid leave for eligible employees as outlined in Chapter 6 of the Policy Register. Most leave is reported through FlashLine (see information in the next section). In instances where a paper form is needed, the forms are available in the Absence from Work section in the HR Forms Library. When selecting a form, please keep in mind that there are two versions and select the applicable one. The form’s reverse side provides an additional summary of the university’s policies and procedures regarding paid and unpaid leaves of absence.

Classified employees should use the electronic timekeeping system in order to report leave time. Electronic timekeeping is located in Employee / Resources / Timekeeping - Empower or on the Employee Dashboard.

Unclassified employees should report leave through FlashLine.

Video tutorials exist to assist unclassified employees in entering their leave. The videos are available in the Banner Time Reporting Tips: Video Tutorials sections of the Time Reporting channel under the My HR tab. Employees can check their leave balances by logging into FlashLine, clicking on the My HR tab and then clicking on the Leave Balances link in the Employment Details channel.

For more information about leave reporting, call the Records Office at 330-672-2901 or send an e-mail to hr-records@kent.edu.

University policy permits classified and unclassified employees to contribute earned sick and vacation leave to other employees who are without sufficient paid leave to provide continued income during employee's medically-documented serious health condition. (Policy 3342-6-11.4)

Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track faculty should consult Section 5 of their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements for more details on Leave Donation and Donated Sick Leave Pool. Faculty agreements can be found at https://www.kent.edu/facultyaffairsConsider using Leave Donation to employees that may need additional leave time after exhausting all paid time.

Family Medical Leave Act
In compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the university will grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave to eligible employees per rolling 12 month period.

Military Family Leave entitles eligible employees a combined total of 26 weeks of FMLA leave per rolling 12 month period. Employees must use any accrued comp time first before exhausting other forms of leave with their designated FMLA leave (Policy 3342-6-11.11). FMLA runs concurrently with other paid or unpaid leaves for the following qualifying events:

  • A serious health condition that prevents an employee from performing his or her job;
  • Care for a child during the first year following birth, adoption or foster care placement;
  • Care for a family member who has a serious health condition;
  • Qualifying exigency leave for active duty of a family member on active duty; and
  • Care for injured or ill service member.

Unpaid Leaves of Absence
Leave of absence without pay may be granted upon written request for a period not to exceed six months following expiration of accumulated sick leave benefits, when an employee is on extended absence due to illness, pregnancy or temporary disability. The employee must furnish satisfactory medical proof of such illness, pregnancy or temporary disability. (Policy 3342-6-11.3, Policy 3342-6-11.10)

A full-time employee who has completed the probationary period (where applicable) or after one year of service with the university, or a part-time employee who has worked 1,250 hours the previous 12 months, may apply for a leave of absence without pay for the following purposes:

  • Educational leave;
  • Child care;
  • Personal leave to care for an immediate family member

For more information, consult the Non-Teaching Employees Unpaid Leave Policy.

Paid Leaves of Absence
Vacation Leave
All full-time and part-time unrepresented classified and unclassified employees that hold a 12-month continuous appointment are eligible to accrue vacation under Policy 3342-6-11.7. Staff members are expected to take vacation time during the year in which the vacation is earned. Employees are expected to request vacation leave in advance. Supervisors are expected to accommodate reasonable requests for vacation leave.

All vacation time taken should be recorded in the electronic timekeeping system (classified employees) or reported in Banner Leave Reporting panel on the Employee Dashboard in Flashline (unclassified employees).

Employees can review vacation balances in FlashLine, by going to Employee, Employment Details and Leave Balances. Vacation is earned based on employee class and years of service. The vacation leave accrual schedule is available on the Vacation website.

Effective January, 2012, a change in the vacation leave policy for nonteaching unclassified and classified personnel affected employees who previously retired from the university, or other Ohio state service, and have been re-hired. The amendment limits the maximum number of vacation hours a retired/rehired employee is eligible to earn up to 80 hours (10 days) annually. Retired/rehired employees will not be eligible to carry over unused vacation from year-to-year. That means that 80 hours of vacation leave must be used during the year it is earned; any unused hours will be forfeited. Upon leaving the university, employees in this group will not be eligible to receive payment for any unused vacation time. This does not apply to disability retirement, as provided for in the ORC. (Policy 3342-5-11.7) You can find more information on Leave Policies and Information at the following web sites: 

Sick Leave
Paid sick leave is provided to full-time employees in accordance with Ohio Revised Code (Policy 3342-6-11.10). Sick leave will be granted to employees, upon approval of the appointing authority,for the following reasons:

  • Illness or injury of employee or employee’s immediate family;
  • Death of a member of the employee’s immediate family;
  • Medical, dental, optical, or psychological appointments for employee or employee’s immediate family;
  • Exposure to a contagious disease by employee;
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

All sick time taken must be recorded in the electronic timekeeping system (classified employees) or reported in the Employee tab in FlashLine (unclassified and faculty employees). (Policy 3342-6-11.1)

Conversion of Sick Leave
The university recognizes that employees may need to be absent from work for a variety of circumstances not covered under the policy governing paid sick leave. For these circumstances, eligible classified and unclassified employees have the option to convert sick leave to either vacation or paid personal leave (or a combination of the two). (Policy 3342-6-11.2)

Court Leave
The university shall grant leave with full pay to an employee summoned for jury duty by a court of competent jurisdiction or is subpoenaed to appear before any court, commission, board or other legally constituted body authorized by law to compel the attendance of witnesses, where the employee is not a party to the action. (Policy 3342-6-11.5

Military Leave
It is a university priority that reasonable effort will be made to ensure that faculty and staff called to serve in military duty will be treated fairly regarding arrangements for leaves of absence. University policy ensures smooth transitions for employees called to assume active military responsibilities. (Policy 3342-6-11.6)

Poll Worker Leave
The university recognizes that there is a need for a pool of available individuals to serve as poll workers during an election. Guidelines have been established in accordance with ORC 3501.22 -  3501.28. Under the guidelines, eligible employees who volunteer as poll workers can take advantage of paid leave during a general, primary, or special election in Ohio. More information is available at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/poll-worker.

Faculty Leaves
In addition to the leaves mentioned above, there are several other leaves that apply only to faculty, including research leaves, leave of absence without pay and faculty professional improvement. Please refer to the leave section in Chapter 6 of the policy register for details. (Policy 3343-6-11.8, Policy 3342-6-11.9, Policy 3342-6-12, Policy 3342-6-12.101)

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TUITION WAIVER

Tuition benefits in the form of fee waivers are granted to eligible, full-time university employees and their spouse, domestic partner (eff. Jan. 1, 2009), and/or dependent children; the tuition waiver is also offered to select part-time employees. Tuition benefits cannot be used for enrollment in non-credit courses or credit courses which are audited. (Policy 3342-6-09.1) You can find more information on Tuition Waiver.

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WELLNESS PROGRAM

Kent State of Wellness provides university-wide programs and activities that will assist Kent State employees and their families in making voluntary behavior changes which reduce their health and injury risks, improve their health consumer skills and enhance their individual well-being and productivity. Find more information on Employee Wellness.

PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM

Employees of Kent State University may qualify for participation in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Under this program, full-time employees can apply for forgiveness from certain types of student loans – possibly reducing or eliminating your debt. For additional information and forms, please access the loan forgiveness website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service. Please contact your loan servicer to determine your eligibility under this program. Once you have your paperwork completed, please forward the documents for employment verification to HR Records (Staff Members) or Academic Personnel (Faculty). Both offices are located in Heer Hall. You can find more information on the Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

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