New Hire Benefits & Retirement

Please click the links below for answers to frequently asked questions and other important information:

  1. What are some key points to remember about CMU Choices on-line enrollment?
  2. What if I fail to enroll for benefits within 30 days of my hire date?
  3. Can I Change my benefit elections during the plan year?
  4. When does my coverage for my CMU Choices begin?
  5. What do I need to know about my university retirement plan enrollment?
  6. Can I invest my own earnings toward a supplemental retirement plan on a pre-tax basis?

What are some key points to remember about CMU Choices on-line enrollment?

  • Your CMU Choices benefits enrollment must be completed within 30 days of your date of hire.
  • Elections are required for each of the Health Plans (Medical/Prescription, Dental, Vision) and Life/Disability Plans for which you are eligible. During the enrollment process, the system will remind you of the benefit plans still in need of an election.
  • You are able to view cost and benefit plan information while in the enrollment system.
  • You are permitted to revise your benefit elections until your 30-day benefit enrollment deadline date, but be aware that changes to elections previously entered may impact your coverage and/or your payroll deductions.
  • After your 30-day benefit enrollment deadline date has passed, you will not be able to change any of your benefit elections until the next open enrollment period or within 30 days of a qualifying status change event.

What if I fail to enroll for benefits within 30 days of my hire date?

If you fail to enroll within 30 days of your date of hire, you will be automatically enrolled in:

  • Medical - BCBS Community Blue PPO1 - Single (Staff & Medical Faculty only)
  • Medical - MESSA Choices 10/20 - Single (Regular Faculty only)
  • Prescription Drug - CVS Caremark 10/20/30 - Single (Staff & Medical Faculty)
  • Dental - No Coverage
  • Life Insurance - 1X Salary
  • Flex Spending Accounts - No Coverage
  • Vision - No Coverage
  • Long Term Disability - 67% plan
  • Short Term Disability - No Coverage
  • Dependent Life - No Coverage

The benefits listed above will be the only benefits elected. (NOTE: Fixed-Term Faculty will be automatically enrolled in 1X Salary Life Insurance only - no other benefits will be elected).


Can I Change my benefit elections during the plan year?

Once you have elected all of your benefit choices, your elections will be binding for the remainder of the plan year unless you have a qualifying status change and return the completed status change form to the benefits office within 30 days of the event.  Click to view: Guidelines for Status Change Events


When does my coverage for my CMU Choices begin?

All of your CMU Choices benefits begin on the first day of your benefit eligible assignment.


What do I need to know about my university retirement plan enrollment?

As a newly hired benefit eligible employee, you will be pre-enrolled in the 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan, as long as they are not eligible for the MPSERS plan at CMU (see the second paragraph below). The university contribution will be effective as of date of hire.  Contributions will be remitted to TIAA-CREF and invested in a life cycle fund based on your age.  At any time you may change the investment fund option with TIAA-CREF, or you can elect to invest part or all of the university contribution with Fidelity Investments.  (If you previously participated in the CMU 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan, you will be pre-enrolled to the most recent vendor designation on file with the Benefits Office contributions will be invested according to the most recent fund allocation you designated with TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity Investments).

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your retirement investment options with a TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity Investments counselor. For additional information visit: Retirement Plans under Contact the retirement vendor(s).

Occasionally, newly hired employees may be eligible for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) if previously enrolled in MPSERS at one of the following universities prior to 1/1/1996: Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Technological, Northern Michigan or Western Michigan. The benefits office will verify eligibility for newly hired employees directly with MPSERS, and if you are eligible for this plan at CMU, you will be contacted by our office. For additional information visit: MPSERS

Information about your university retirement plan including the tax deferral plans will be provided during the New Hire Benefit and Retirement orientation.


Can I invest my own earnings toward a supplemental retirement plan on a pre-tax basis?

Voluntary supplemental tax deferral savings opportunities are also available that would allow you to invest a portion of your earnings in a 403(b) supplemental tax deferral plan and/or a 457(b) public deferred compensation plan. Annual contribution limits apply.  For additional information visit: Retirement Plans

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