Frequently Asked Questions

Click the sections below to view frequently asked questions.


For an employee to be eligible for medical and other benefits, they must be either a Regular-FT employee or a Regular-PT employee who is working 18.75 hours or more a week and working 7 months or longer. Temporary Full-Time employees working less than 7 months are eligible for medical insurance only.

Who is considered a dependent child?
For Tuition Waiver: Dependent children are those who are the biological children, adopted children, or stepchildren of an eligible employee at Tulane who are also claimed as a dependent on the qualified parent’s federal tax return; and qualified staff for that purpose include full-time employees scheduled to work with the University for no less than 7 months and have completed three years service. For Full-Time Faculty, there no waiting period.

All other benefits: Dependent children are those outlined above plus the addition of foster children, and legal custody of grandchildren or other children.  

What documentation is required to prove dependency?
Proof of dependency can be acquired by attaching a copy of the most recent federal income tax return to the Office of Human Resources before the waiver can be credited. 

Who is considered a spouse?
A spouse is the person to whom the employee is currently and legally married. Spouse does not include divorced, legally separated spouses, or domestic partners.  

Are opposite gender domestic partners eligible?
No. Only spouses are eligible. 

Are registered same-gender domestic partners eligible for medical benefits?
No. Effective January 1, 2017, Tulane University will no longer recognize or extend benefits to same-gender domestic partners. This change is in response to the 2015 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, which recognizes the legality of same-sex marriages in all U.S. jurisdictions.

Medical Plans

What is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Group Policy Number?


Is preventative care free of cost under all three plans?

Is there a separate prescription drug deductible?
Not under the HRA or POS plans. Under the new HDHP plan, you will pay 20% coinsurance  until you reach your deductible instead of copay. Using a Health FSA (Flexible Spending Account) can help manage this cost. 

What is the difference between deductible and out-of-pocket maximum?
A deductible is the amount you must pay before your insurance starts to pay its portion of costs for a covered health expense. The deductible could be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as several thousand dollars. Out-of-pocket maximum is the total cost that would be incurred by the employee, including all deductibles, coinsurance, copays, etc. in a calendar year.

Do my deductible, coinsurance, and copayments apply to my out-of-pocket maximum?
Yes. Under the Federal Health Care Reform Act, all payments including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments must be applied to your annual out-of-pocket maximum.

Do you need a referral from your primary physician to see a specialist?

What if my Primary Care Physician is a specialist? (i.e. Diabetic specialist as the Primary Care Physician) What would be the copay?
You would pay the Specialist level copay. 

Are psychologists always considered specialists?
No. Due to Mental Health Parity Act, psychologists fall under the Primary Care Physician copay. 

Are physical therapists considered specialists?
No. Physical therapists would fall under the Primary Care Physician category. 

Are the out-of-network benefits posted online?

WellRight Incentive

What actions will I have to take to receive the HRA funding?

I’m a new hire or I recently became benefits eligible, what actions will I have to take to receive the HRA funding?

What if I received a Preventive Care visit recently from another insurance company?

Will there be any additional financial incentives for participating in preventive or wellness activities?

Does the Incentive funding apply to all medical plans?



When will my Tulane benefits be terminated?
All Tulane benefits will be terminated at midnight on the last day of the month in which separation of employment occurs or the employee is no longer benefits eligible. In addition, all benefits will terminate at midnight on the last day of the month that a dependent(s) attains the age of 26.  

How can I continue my Medical, Dental, Vision, and Healthcare Flexible Spending Account benefits?
If you are currently enrolled in any of the above referenced plans, you will have the option to continue benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for 18 months (dependents may be able to continue for 36 months) with the exception of the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account, which can be continued through the end of the current calendar year. There is no tax benefit to continue on this account. However, if you have a large balance or have not incurred expenses, continuing your FSA may be beneficial or you will forfeit funds.  

Will I need to provide proof of prior coverage?
Yes. A certificate of group health coverage will be provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield if you were enrolled in one of the University’s medical plans. You may need this certificate for your new group or individual plan to provide evidence of your prior coverage.  

How much do I have to pay for continuation coverage through COBRA?
You will be responsible for and required to pay the full COBRA continuation premium. Failure to timely pay any premium for the coverage will result in termination of the coverage. 

Who is entitled to continuation of coverage under COBRA?
In order to be entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, your group health plan must be covered by COBRA; a qualifying event must occur, such as separation from the university; and you must be a qualified dependent for that event. A qualified dependent is an individual covered by a group health plan on the day before a qualifying event occurred that caused him or her to lose coverage. A qualified dependent must be the employee's spouse or former spouse, or the employee's dependent child.  

Will I receive a notification stating I am eligible for COBRA?
Yes. You will receive a notice stating your right to choose to continue benefits provided by the plan from Tulane's COBRA administrator, WageWorks/HealthEquity, by regular mail within 14 days of being notified. This notice is for the employee and all qualified dependents who are currently enrolled in any of the eligible plans.  You can also log onto WageWorks to view your notice online within 14 days, make your election and pay your premium.

If I choose to not continue benefits provided by the plan from Tulane's COBRA administrator, WageWorks/HealthEquity, do I have other options?
You should consider all options you may have to get other health coverage before you make your decision. There may be more affordable or more generous coverage options for you and your family through other group health plan coverage (such as a spouse's plan), the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicare or Medicaid. You also have the ability to review options that may be available to you under the Affordable Care Act at  

What steps do I need to take to ensure that I will have benefits coverage?
The first important step is to elect COBRA by returning the enrollment form provided by WageWorks within 60 days of receiving the enrollment packet. Once you have made your elections, you will receive coupons reflecting the monthly amount that is due to WageWorks. The next important step will be to continue to pay your premiun or the coverage will be terminated.  

How is the COBRA administrator, WageWorks/HealthEquity, notified to ensure my benefits coverage takes effect?
WageWorks will receive a file from Tulane of your eligibility change. Within 14 days from being notified WageWorks/HealthEquity will send you a packet outlining what is available to you. You will have 60 days to notify WageWorks/HealthEquity of accepting coverage. Once your payment is received your coverage will be back dated to date of separation. If you do not pay the premium, you will not be covered.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Will Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) still be available?
Yes, FSAs will still be available and are encouraged in order to help manage costs. If you are currently participating on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and wish to continue the following plan year, you must re-enroll during the open enrollment period. 

Which types of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) are offered at Tulane?
Healthcare and Dependent care flexible spending accounts. 

What is a Health Care Flexible Spending Account?
A Healthcare FSA (HCFSA) reimburses you for eligible, out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses for you and your qualified dependents up to the amount of your annual contribution, even if your dependents are not covered on your Tulane insurance. 

What is a Dependent Care flexible spending account?
A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) reimburses you for qualified child and adult care incurred so that you (and if married, your spouse) can work. Note: expenses are not claimed on your income tax return, and you are not able to use DCFSA for any healthcare expenses.  

What is the maximum amount you can contribute to an FSA?
The maximum amount you can contribute is $3,050 per year to a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account and $5,000 per year to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. 

Is there a list of eligible healthcare spending?
Yes, in addition to all medical, dental, vision, you can go to Pharmacy store websites will also inform you of what is covered.

Tuition Programs

Are all employees eligible for tuition waivers?
No. Three types of employees are not eligible for tuition waivers: 

  • Employees whose status is “Part-time” whether Staff, Faculty, or Post Docs
  • Employees whose status is “Temporary Full or Part-time”
  • Student employees, including Residents (while on student payroll employee benefits are not applicable) 

Are all programs and instances covered by tuition waivers?
No. Tuition Waivers are not available for some programs and instances. 

  • Classes previously taken in which you received a grade and credit
  • The Executive Masters of Business Administration
  • Gifted and Talented
  • Project Tulane
  • Tulane Junior Summer Lyric Theatre
  • Freeman Summer School Abroad
  • Executive Masters of Health and Administration
  • Civic and Cultural Management Program
  • Master of Pharmacology
  • Master of Science in Neuroscience
  • Workshops or non-credit seminars
  • Audited courses
  • Graduate level courses for dependents or spouses

Are registered same-gender domestic partners eligible for the tuition waiver?
No, Effective January 1, 2017, Tulane University will no longer recognize or extend benefits to same-gender domestic partners. This change is in response to the 2015 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, which recognizes the legality of same-sex marriages in all U.S. jurisdictions.  

If a spouse or dependent child of an employee is hired by Tulane University, are they still eligible for the tuition waiver?
The spouse or dependent children of employees shall have their eligibility and class limitation for tuition waivers determined exclusively on the basis of their employment. 

If a person enrolled in classes becomes ineligible for the tuition waiver, will they be charged for the full tuition amount?
If an employee becomes ineligible or terminated involuntarily, the employee or dependent may finish the semester in which they are enrolled under the tuition waiver. However, the following semester would not be covered under the tuition waiver. 

After becoming ineligible for the tuition waiver because of the employee’s voluntary termination of employment or due to gross misconduct, the former employee would be charged for the full tuition amount for that semester. 

Who is eligible for the extended tuition waivers? 

  • Retirees with at least 25 years of full-time service at Tulane.
  • Employees who have been approved as disabled under the Tulane Long Term Disability Plan
  • Faculty members whose tenures are terminated under extraordinary circumstances caused by financial exigencies or by a bona fide discontinuance of a program on a department of instruction.
  • The spouse and dependent children of a retired employee with 25 years full-time service.
  • The spouse and dependent children of a disabled employee with at least 5 years of service.
  • Dependents and spouses that are enrolled on a tuition waiver basis at the time of an employee's death or disability before completing 5 years of full-time service at Tulane.
  • The spouse and dependent children of an employee who has at least 5 years of full-time service at Tulane and separates from service by reason of death. 

Is the tuition exchange program available for graduate study?
No. The tuition exchange program is only available for undergraduate study. 

As a full-time employee of Tulane is my dependent child guaranteed a tuition exchange scholarship?
No. Tuition Exchange scholarships are very competitive and not guaranteed. Students who are sponsored by Tulane are only eligible to compete for Tuition Exchange Scholarships at member institutions and are not guaranteed either admission to a member institution nor the award of a Tuition Exchange Scholarship even if the student is admitted. 

What criteria is used to determine the recipients of the Tuition Exchange Scholarships?
Host institutions use their own criteria to determine the winners of the Tuition Exchange Scholarships at their institutions, and that the host institutions determine the value of the scholarships that they award.


What retirement plans does Tulane offer?
The university currently offers four retirement plans – Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) Plan, Staff Retirement 403(b) Plan, Faculty and Administrative 403(b) Plan, and the 457(b) Plan. 

What are my options for investment vendors?

Who is eligible for the Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) Plan?
The Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) plan is a 403(b), employee funded retirement plan. All employees may enroll in this plan from day one of employment. Contributions are made by you and deducted from your paycheck. 

Who is eligible for the Staff Retirement Plan?
The Staff Retirement plan is a 403(b), university funded retirement plan. Staff employees are eligible to enroll in this plan after 2 years of consecutive service, having worked at least 975 hours in each year. After you become eligible, Tulane will contribute 8% of your base salary. 

Who is eligible for the Faculty and Administrative Retirement Plan?
The Faculty and Administrative plan is a 403(b), university funded retirement plan. Faculty and Administrative employees are eligible to enroll in this plan after 2 years of consecutive service, having worked at least 975 hours in each year. After you become eligible, Tulane will contribute up to 10% of your base salary. The percentage depends on your annual base salary amount. 

Who is eligible for the 457(b) Plan?
The 457(b) plan is an employee funded retirement plan. All employees currently earning or expected to earn $150,000 during the current year are eligible to participate in this plan. Contributions are made by you and deducted from your paycheck.

Why is it a 403(b) and not a 401(k)?
401(k) plans are offered by for-profit companies, 403(b) plans are only available to employees of tax-exempt organizations. The names simply refer to the section of the tax code that outlines these plans.


Do I have to open a Staff or Faculty and Administrative Retirement Plan immediately on my 2 year anniversary?
It is beneficial to be proactive in opening an account in order to receive Tulane’s contributions because the university does not do retroactive payments. 

I am a rehire; do I have to wait 2 years before Tulane contributes to my Staff or Faculty and Administrative Retirement Plan?
Rehired employees are eligible immediately if they worked at Tulane for at least 2 consecutive qualifying years. 

Contributions: Employee funded vs. University funded  

Does the university make contributions to all four retirement plans?
No. Tulane only makes contributions to the Staff 403(b) Plan and the Faculty and Administrative 403(b) Plan. 

I would like to make additional contributions to my Staff or Faculty and Administrative Retirement Plan, is this permitted?
No. The Staff Retirement 403(b) Plan and the Faculty and Administrative Retirement 403(b) Plan are university funded plans. You may not personally contribute additional funds to these plans. However, you may contribute funds to a TDA plan only via payroll deductions. 

Can I contribute a percentage of my salary to a TDA plan or 457(b) plan? Or must the contributions be flat dollar amounts?
When contributing funds to a TDA or 457(b) plan, you must express your contributions as flat dollar amounts and not a percentage. 

Can funds in each of my plans be combined?
No. Funds accumulated under each plan cannot co-mingle with any of the other plans (TDA, Staff, Faculty and Administrative, and 457(b) plans). 

Taxes and Distributions 

When will I be taxed on the funds in my Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) plan?
Taxes are deferred on both contributions to the plan and any earnings that accumulate in your account until you take a distribution. 

What are the payment options for receiving my funds?
There are several payment options for receiving your funds with TIAA-CREF. You may choose different methods of payment from each company. In addition, under certain circumstances, you may be required to begin the receipt of benefits. 

What happens if I die before I start receiving distributions from my retirement plan(s)?
If you die before you begin to receive benefits, your beneficiary(ies) will be entitled to the full current value of your benefit accumulation. There are certain rules and restrictions about choosing a beneficiary(ies) other than a spouse. 

How To’s 

How do I enroll in TIAA-CREF?
Instructions to enroll in TIAA-CREF may be found here.

How do I view, update, or enroll in my retirement benefits?
After you enroll with your elected retirement vendor, you will need to make the necessary updates in HCM. Instructions may be found here

Where can I find more information on the retirement plans?
More information on the university’s retirement plans may be found in the Retirement Guide. 

How do I make an appointment for a one-on-one retirement counseling session with a TIAA-CREF advisor?

Representative - Louis Bundy