Academic Specialist Manual

8.4 Academic Specialist Benefits in the Event of a Leave of Absence, Termination, or Death

8.4.1 Leave of Absence

With pay 
If the academic specialist's pay is being continued (e.g., if the leave is a medical leave), the normal premiums will continue to be deducted and the University will make its normal contribution toward the cost of the health, dental, and retirement programs. 

Without pay 
Academic specialists granted an approved leave of absence without pay may continue in force the optional benefit programs by paying the full cost of all premiums. The same University contribution toward the dental premium continues for up to 24 months while on a leave of absence without pay. The remaining optional coverages may be continued by making cash payments for as long as the approved leave continues. Payments for benefits to be kept in force should be made directly to Michigan State University and sent to the Human Resources Office no later than the first day of the month for which the payment is due. Benefits not maintained will automatically be reinstated upon return to active employment.

All deferrals and contributions to the retirement plan(s) are suspended during the period of a Leave of Absence without pay.

An academic specialist on a Family Medical Leave (FMLA) will have their health and dental benefits continued at the same level and with the same premium contribution as prior to the FMLA leave. Any share of premiums which had been paid by the individual prior to the leave must continue to be paid during the leave, otherwise coverage will be cancelled.

Provisions are available to academic specialists on leave due to acceptance of prestigious awards or fellowships for the continuation of applicable University benefits. Additional information should be requested from the Human Resources Office. (See Continuation of Benefits While on Leave of Absence No Pay Status to Receive Prestigious Awards, Fellowships and/or Special Assignment Opportunities.)

8.4.2 Termination

In case of termination, benefits will be affected as follows:

  1. Health, dental, basic and employee-paid life, and accidental death and dismemberment coverages will continue in force until the end of the month following the last deduction and/or contribution made.
  2. Long-term disability and travel accident coverages cease on the last day of active employment.
  3. Coverage under the dental and/or health plans may be continued in accordance with the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 for up to 18 months by paying a monthly premium (29 months if currently disabled and receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or deemed disabled by SSD any time during the first 60 days of COBRA coverage). Contact the Human Resources Office for details.
  4. Employee-paid coverage may be converted by contacting the company directly.

8.4.3 Death

In addition to life benefit payments to beneficiaries, it is possible for the surviving spouse and eligible dependents to continue health and/or dental coverages by contacting the Human Resources office. The University will contribute toward the health and dental premiums for the surviving spouse or the OEI if the academic specialist was eligible for retirement. The surviving spouse or OEI of a vested academic specialist who is also an active employee in their own right may be eligible for dual benefits as follows: 

Eligible for 100% dental coverage.

Eligible to retain deceased person's health plan benefits instead of the health plan for which they are eligible as an active employee.

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