Benefits FAQ

Please click on a subject below to get answers to some of our most popular questions

Medical Insurance

Q. I’ve submitted my enrollment form. When will I receive my insurance card?

A. In most cases, your information will be in UPMC’s system within 72 hours of submitting your form depending on your effective date of coverage. It then takes 7-10 business days to receive the card from UPMC. You will have active coverage in UPMC’s system even if you do not physically have the card.

Q. I still haven’t received, or I lost my new health insurance card. How can I get a new one?

A. Please contact UPMC directly at 1-888-499-6885 since they distribute the cards.

Q. How can I find participating providers and facilities in UPMC's network.

A. UPMC participating providers and facilities can be found on-line at www.upmchealthplan.com, then click “Find a Doctor".

Q. I would like to change my PCP, OB/GYN, or child’s pediatrician. Do I have to call UPMC directly?

A. Yes, you would have to contact them directly at 1-888-499-6885.

Q. I recently moved, do I need to change my address with Benefits for my insurance?

A. No, you do not need to change it with the Benefits Department. As long as you change it either with your department or Payroll, it will automatically forward on to all of the health insurance companies.

Q. I recently had a baby, got married/divorced, had a dependent graduate from college, or my spouse/partner’s benefits changed at his/her employer. How can I make the appropriate changes to my benefit selections?

A. This type of change is known as a Change in Status. You can download the 2 forms you would need to make the changes from our “Forms” section on the website. Those 2 forms are the enrollment form and the status change form. You only need to fill out the sections on the enrollment form that pertain to the change you are making. Both forms are due back in our office the last working day of the month prior to when you want them to take effect. You can drop them off in person, send them, or fax them. If you fax them, please put a contact phone number on the cover sheet.

Q. If I do not qualify for a change in status can I still change my benefits?

A. If you do not qualify for a change in status, which would be an event that qualifies under the IRS guidelines to make a change throughout the year to your benefits, you will be unable to make that change until the open enrollment period. The open enrollment period is usually around May/June.

Q. How is medical coverage provided for a newborn?

A. A newborn automatically has 30 days of coverage under their mother's medical plan. Within those 30 days, the employee must submit an updated enrollment form for a change in status to continue coverage for the baby.

Q. What is a deductible/co pay/coinsurance, etc.?

A. Please see visit the Medical Plan Definitions section of our website for a glossary of terms.

Dental Insurance

Q. I haven’t received, or I lost my dental insurance card. How can I get a new one?

A. Please contact the United Concordia directly at 1-877-215-3616, since they distribute the cards.

Q. How can I find a dentist who participates in the United Concordia Plus Managed Care plan?

A. The provider directory for United Concordia is online at www.ucci.com. Click on “Find a Dentist,” and the Plus plan falls under the DHMO category.

Q. I would like to change my dentist. Do I have to call United Concordia directly?

A. Yes, you would have to contact them directly at 1-877-215-3616.

Q. I recently moved, do I need to change my address with Benefits for my insurance?

A. No, you do not need to change it with the Benefits Department. As long as you change it either with your department or Payroll, it will automatically forward on to all of the health insurance companies.

Q. I recently had a baby, got married/divorced, had a dependent graduate from college, or my spouse/partner’s benefits changed at his/her employer. How can I make the appropriate changes to my benefit selections?

A. This type of change is known as a Change in Status. You can download the 2 forms you would need to make the changes from our “Forms” section on the website. Those 2 forms are the enrollment form and the status change form. You only need to fill out the sections on the enrollment form that pertain to the change you are making. Both forms are due back in our office the last working day of the month prior to when you want them to take effect. You can drop them off in person, send them, or fax them. If you fax them, please put a contact phone number on the cover sheet.

Q. If I do not qualify for a change in status can I still change my benefits?

A. If you do not qualify for a change in status, which would be an event that qualifies under the IRS guidelines to make a change throughout the year to your benefits, you will be unable to make that change until the open enrollment period. The open enrollment period is usually around May/June.

Vision Insurance

Q. I haven’t received, or I lost my vision insurance card. How can I get a new one?

A. Please contact Davis Vision directly at 1-800-999-5431, since they distribute the cards.

Q. How can I find an optometrist/ophthalmologist who participates in the Davis Vision plan?

A. The provider directory for Davis Vision is online at www.davisvision.com.

Q. I recently moved, do I need to change my address with Benefits for my insurance?

A. No, you do not need to change it with the Benefits Department. As long as you change it either with your department or Payroll, it will automatically forward on to all of the health insurance companies.

Q. I recently had a baby, got married/divorced, had a dependent graduate from college, or my spouse/partner’s benefits changed at his/her employer. How can I make the appropriate changes to my benefit selections?

A. This type of change is known as a Change in Status. You can download the 2 forms you would need to make the changes from our “Forms” section on the website. Those 2 forms are the enrollment form and the status change form. You only need to fill out the sections on the enrollment form that pertain to the change you are making. Both forms are due back in our office the last working day of the month prior to when you want them to take effect. You can drop them off in person, send them, or fax them. If you fax them, please put a contact phone number on the cover sheet.

Q. If I do not qualify for a change in status can I still change my benefits?

A. If you do not qualify for a change in status, which would be an event that qualifies under the IRS guidelines to make a change throughout the year to your benefits, you will be unable to make that change until the open enrollment period. The open enrollment period is usually around May/June.

Leaving the University

Q. I’m thinking about leaving the University. Can I continue my health insurance?

A. Yes, you can continue your same health insurance through COBRA for a time period after you leave, which is administered through Highmark BlueCross/BlueShield. For more information about COBRA, please click here.

Q. Is the cost still the same as I pay now as an active employee?

A. No, you will have to pay the portion that the University paid towards your medical insurance while you were an active employee. The dental and vision prices are the same as that of an active employee. However, there is a 2% administrative charge applied to each premium rate for medical, dental, and vision.

Q. How do I get information to sign up for COBRA when I leave the University?

A. You will automatically receive information for COBRA within 2-3 weeks after you leave the University. The coverage is retroactive to the date when your coverage under the University stopped. Please make sure to leave an updated address with either your department or payroll, so that you receive the information.

Q. What happens to my retirement?

A. You have one of three options in regards to your retirement

  1. You can roll your retirement over to another 403b/IRA plan at your new employer. To do this, you can contact the investment company directly to get the necessary forms. TIAA-CREF: 1-800-842-2776 Vanguard: 1-800-523-1188
  2. You can leave your retirement where it is in the investment company and withdraw it when you go to retire.
  3. You can withdraw it as cash, but you will receive Severe Tax Penalties for doing so because your retirement was deducted on a pre-tax basis when you were an active employee.

Saving for Retirement

Q. What does “vesting” mean?

A. Vesting refers to your right as the employee to receive the retirement benefit from the University, regardless of whether or not you remain employed at the University of Pittsburgh. In other words, vesting is referring to how long you have to be participating in a Pitt retirement plan in order to keep your University benefit. The Vesting Period under the Defined Contribution Program (Contributory Program) is approximately three years with a 1000 or more hours worked each calendar year. An individual is credited with 190 hours each month regardless of percent of effort and must be contributing to accrue vesting. Anything that you contribute in this program is yours to keep whether or not you remain working here at the University. The Vesting period under the Noncontributory Defined Benefit Pension Program is five years with 1000 or more hours of participation in each calendar year.

Q. I’m vested in the contributory program, what does that mean?

A. If you’re vested in the contributory program, the University match increases from 100% to 150%, you can move the University match out of TIAA-CREF into Vanguard if you would like to and the University’s portion becomes portable should you decide to leave Pitt.

Q. How can I change the amount that is deducted from my paycheck for retirement, start or stop a supplemental account (SRA), change allocation between investment companies?

A. All changes must be made through the University Web Portal at my.pitt.edu. For questions on how to get started please contact the Benefits department at 412-624-8160, or review the Online Enrollment Guide for step-by-step enrollment instructions.

Q. How can I change the funds within the investment company?

A. You will need to call the investment company directly to make fund changes. TIAA-CREF: 1-800-842-2776 / Vanguard: 1-800-523-1188

Q. How can I set up a one-one-one session with a representative from the investment company?

A. One-on-one sessions with a representative from either TIAA-CREF or Vanguard can be scheduled directly with the investment company. Both companies hold individual one-on-one sessions on campus as well as offering telephone counseling sessions.

Retiring from the University

Q. I’m thinking about retiring from the University, what all do I need to be doing?

A. We recommend that you contact the Benefits Department directly at (412) 624-8160 to schedule a pre-retiree session, which is a one-on-one appointment to discuss medical and retirement options. The appointments are held every Thursday morning, please be flexible when calling.

Education Benefits

Q. I’m an employee at the University. Do my education benefits go through your office.

A. If you are a staff member, your education benefits are administered through the Benefits Department. If you are a faculty member or research associate, the education benefits are administered through Faculty Records. Their phone number is (412) 624-4232 and they are located in G39 in the Cathedral of Learning.

Q. My child is taking undergraduate classes at the University. Do I need to submit any forms so that they can receive the education benefit?

A. If you are a staff member, you will need to download and complete the Request for Education Benefits Form from our website. THIS FORM MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH A COPY OF THE FIRST PAGE OF YOUR 1040 FORM. IF THE 1040 IS NOT ATTACHED, YOUR REQUEST WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. These forms can then be mailed, faxed, or dropped off to the Benefits Department.

Q. Can my child take graduate level classes at the University and receive the education benefit?

A. No, as a staff member, your child is only eligible to receive education benefits for the first baccalaureate degree.

Q. I’m a staff member and my spouse/partner would like to take classes at Pitt. What forms do I need to submit for the education benefit?

A. You will need to download and complete the Request for Education Benefits Form from our website. THIS FORM MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH A COPY OF YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE. IF YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE IS NOT SUBMITTED, YOUR REQUEST WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. These forms can then be mailed, faxed, or dropped off in person to the Benefits Department.

Q. My child is looking into the Tuition Exchange Program. Will he/she receive education benefits for that program?

A. Any questions that you have about this program will need to be directed through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at (412) 624-7192

We do not administer this program through the Benefits Department.

Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

Q. Does the University provide Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment to its employees?

A. The University provides basic life insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) to its employees. The basic coverage is 1x your salary up to the maximum of $50,000. If 1x your salary happens to be more than $50,000, your basic life insurance and AD&D is capped off at that amount.

Q. Can I elect additional life insurance and/or AD&D?

A. You can elect additional life insurance and/or AD&D during open enrollment or if you have a Change in Status. It is possible that you will have to complete a medical history statement to be approved for additional life insurance by the Standard Insurance Company. A medical history statement does not need to be completed for additional AD&D.

Q. What if I do not want to fill out the medical history statement, or I did fill it out and I was not approved? Does that mean I can not get additional life insurance?

A. If you do not want to fill out the medical history statement or you did fill it out and were not approved, you can still elect an additional 1x your salary every year with open enrollment. So for example, say that you only had the basic life insurance up until this year’s open enrollment. For this year’s open enrollment you elect an additional 1x. You can elect another 1x next year for a total of 2x additional life insurance. You can still purchase additional life insurance if you do not want to fill out the medical history statement, or if you fill it out and were not approved.

Q. I know that I can purchase additional life and/or AD&D, but how much is it going to cost me?

A. The additional life insurance is age-graded, meaning the older you are, the more it is going to cost you. Please keep in mind that you may need to complete a medical history statement before you are approved for additional life insurance. The AD&D is not age-graded. The cost for additional AD&D is .02/$1000. An employee can elect between 1x-6x their salary for additional life insurance and/or AD&D. The equation to determine the cost of the additional life insurance is as follows:

Take for example an employee who is age 42 and has an annual salary of $25,000. This employee would like to have a total of $75,000 in additional life insurance, which would be 3x his/her salary. You will need to locate your age-graded rate from the following chart.*

25,000 X 3 = 75,000
75,000/1000 = 75
75 X .132* = $9.90/month
For additional AD&D using the same example, replace the age-graded rate with .02.
75 X .02 = $1.50/month

Flexible Spending

Q. What types of expenses are covered under my flexible spending health care account?

A. Please see our list of eligible expenses for flexible spending accounts.

Q. I never received or lost my MyFlex Advantage MasterCard. How can I get a new one?

A. Please contact UPMC Health Plan directly or log on to their website at www.upmchealthplan.com. They manage the flexible spending accounts for the University of Pittsburgh.

Q. I only have a flexible spending dependent care account. Why can't I use my MyFlex Advantage MasterCard for that?

A. The MyFlex Advantage MasterCard can only be used for flexible spending health care accounts. Government regulations do not permit the use of a card for dependent care accounts. We apologize for any inconvenience, it is the government’s policy, not the University’s policy. You will have to file a claim form for a flexible spending dependent care account.

Q. How can I get a claim form to file for my dependent care account?

A. Download a claim form by logging into your UPMC Health Plan Member Portal, or by calling UPMC Health Plan Member Services at 1-888-499-6885.  the form includes instructions for completing the form.

Leaves of Absence

Q. I have questions about taking a leave of absence, do I need to contact the Benefits Department directly?

A. If you are a staff member, please contact our office directly at (412) 624-8160. If you are faculty, please contact faculty records directly at (412) 624-4232.

Q. I’m a staff member, can I get the paperwork for a Family Medical Leave online?

A. No, unfortunately that paperwork is not online. Please contact Metlife, the University's FMLA administrator, at 1-888-777-7418 to initiate a claim.

Paycheck Questions

Q. I thought that my medical insurance was only supposed to cost me (fill in the blank here with whatever amount you thought was supposed to be deducted). Why is it costing me more under my pre-tax deductions.

A. Because you get a $50 benefit credit under Earnings that you need to subtract off of the amount that is showing under your pre-tax deductions. This is the amount that your medical insurance is actually costing you out of your pocket. If you are union and are receiving biweekly paychecks, your medical insurance premium is split between both of your paychecks, as well as your benefit credit. In other words, if you are union then your benefit credit should be listed as $25 under earnings.

Q. Why does the benefit credit have to be listed under earnings? Can't the university just subtract that $50 from my premium and have that listed under the pre-tax deductions?

A. That would be easier for all involved if it could be listed on the paycheck that way. Unfortunately, the IRS states that the University has to show its employees that they give them $50 towards what they would be paying for health insurance. If the University did not provide a benefit credit to its employees, the employee would be responsible for that premium listed under pre-tax deductions. It is just a technicality.