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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Dental Coverage Flexible Spending Life Insurance Retirement Accounts Defined Benefit/Pension Retirement Benefit Tuition Benefit Paid Leave Continuation of Benefits Coverage (CBC)

When can I change my health and dental enrollment?

You can change (add or remove dependents), begin, or end your health and dental enrollment during open enrollment or within 30 days of a qualifying life event.

When is open enrollment?

Open enrollment takes place around Thanksgiving, with coverage changes taking effect on January 1 of the following year.

What is a qualifying life event?

You may qualify for a special enrollment period if you and/or your spouse experience a qualifying change. These changes are called “qualifying life events” or “qualifying events.”

Examples include:

  • Birth
  • Adoption
  • Marriage
  • Loss of coverage due to a job change

I have experienced a qualifying life event. How do I change my coverage?

Contact Human Resources at to request a HealthPartners Change form and/or a Flexible Spending form.

What is covered by my health plan?

Download the HealthPartners Gold NationalOne Coverage Overview PDF or HealthPartners Summary of Benefits and Coverage PDF on the benefits page.

Does our health plan cover vision?

Our current plan covers routine eye exams annually. Eyewear is not covered by our plan. However, HealthPartners does offers Bethel employees enrolled in their health plan access to a discount program through EyeMed to help with the cost of eyewear. To view these discounts and download a discount card, login to HealthPartners and search for “EyeMed.”

What is covered by my dental plan?

See the appropriate HealthPartners Information Guide PDF (page 8 for MN employees, page 7 for non-MN employees) on the benefits page.

Does my election rollover from year to year?

No. Employees must re-elect this benefit during open enrollment to participate in the next calendar year.

Does the money in my account rollover from year to year?

Health Care Carryover Amount:

The maximum carryover amount is $500.00. The minimum carryover amount is $20.00 (only applies to people who are not enrolled in the new plan year).

Dependent Care Carryover Amount:

$0.00—any money remaining at the end of the plan year is forfeited. It is important that participants estimate dependent care expenses carefully.

Can I change my flexible spending monthly contribution mid-year?

You can only change your flexible spending monthly contribution mid-year if you have experienced a reciprocal qualifying life event.

How do I use my flexible spending account?

First, create an account with ThrivePass. Here you can file claims by uploading receipts for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses and get reimbursed.

How do I create an account with ThrivePass?

Go to

Your username will be your first initial, last name, and birthdate (DDMMYY format), and your temporary password is your Social Security Number (you’ll only have to enter this the first time you access the site).

What is my basic life insurance volume?

Basic life insurance (covered by Bethel) is 1x your annual salary.

Can I increase my supplemental life insurance amount/volume?

If you currently have supplemental life insurance, you can increase it by one half increment of your annual salary every calendar year until reaching 2x your annual salary during open enrollment by simply filling out the enrollment form.

If you do not currently have supplemental life insurance, wish to increase it more than one half increment, or wish to increase/elect it above 2x your annual salary, you will also need to fill out and return an Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form. Once the amount is approved by Voya Life Insurance, your insurance and monthly contribution will be increased.

Can I change my beneficiaries?

Yes. Visit the forms page to download the appropriate form.

What is the difference between a 401(k) and 401(a)?

401(k) plans are usually offered by private-sector employers. The contribution amount is determined by the employee and is sometimes matched by the employer, up to a certain percentage point. 

401(a) plans are normally offered by government agencies, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. The employer determines the required employee contribution amount (currently 0% at Bethel) and the employer contribution amount (currently 5% at Bethel). Bethel also offers a 403(b) plan for employees who wish to make an additional contribution via a paycheck deduction.

How do I create an online account with TIAA?

See the TIAA Enrollment Instructions PDF.

Can I withdraw from my retirement account?

Any inquires involving withdrawals and transfers should be directed toward TIAA. You can call TIAA at (800) 842-2252 or visit for more resources.

Can I transfer money from a 401(k) I had with a previous employer to my Bethel retirement account?

Yes. You can do this by contacting TIAA and working with them directly. You can call TIAA at (800) 842-2252 or visit for more resources.

How do I begin or change my 403(b) monthly election?

To begin or change your reduction, fill out a Tax Deferred Annuity (403b) Form and submit it to the Office of Human Resources before the 15th day of the month that you would like your election to begin. This form is available to download on the forms page. Paper forms are also available in the Office of Human Resources.

Can I change my beneficiaries?

You can change your beneficiaries online by logging in to your TIAA account. Visit and click “Log in” (found on the top right corner of the page).

Do I have a pension through Bethel?

Employees hired prior to January 1, 2006 may have a pension with Bethel. Contact Bethel Human Resources at or (651) 638-6119 (ext. 6119 from a Bethel phone) for more details.

What is my Bethel pension?

To request information about your pension please contact Bethel Human Resources at or (651) 638-6119 (ext. 6119 from a Bethel phone).

When can I start my Bethel pension?

You may begin receiving pension payments as early as age 60 (or age 62 if you still are employed at Bethel). However, if you elect to receive pension payments before age 65, the amount of your benefit will be reduced by 0.25% for each month the payment precedes the last day of the month following your 65th birthday.

You are required to begin your pension at age 65 if you are no longer working at Bethel. If you retire from Bethel after age 65 you must begin your pension immediately. You are required to begin your pension the April after you turn age 70.5, regardless of whether you are still working at Bethel, per federal law.

How do I start my Bethel Pension?

Contact Bethel Human Resources at or (651) 638-6119 (ext. 6119 from a Bethel phone).

Who qualifies for the tuition benefit?

Benefits-eligible employees and their spouses/dependents are eligible for tuition benefit. You must be an admitted student to be eligible to apply for tuition benefit.

How do I apply for a degree program as a Bethel employee?

You apply for your degree program the same way that non-Bethel employees do. Once accepted into a program, tuition benefit is applied to your cost of tuition after the appropriate form(s) are filled out.

How do I receive the tuition benefit?

Fill out the appropriate form on the forms page and submit it to Human Resources. Please fill out all three pages to avoid delays in processing.

Do I need to fill out a new form every year?

Yes. For eligible employees, spouses, and dependents to receive tuition benefit, a new form must be completed and submitted to Human Resources for every applicable academic year.

I’m now planning on taking more credits than I listed on my tuition benefit form. Is there something that I need to do?

Email the Office of Financial Aid at and tell them the new number of credits you will be taking each term. You do not need to fill out a new tuition benefit form.

What programs can the tuition benefit be applied to?

Dependent children are eligible to utilize tuition benefit for undergraduate coursework only. A select number of specific programs are also excluded from tuition benefit for all or certain individuals. A current list can be found in the Tuition Benefit for Employees, Dependent Children, and Spouses section of the Employee Handbook.

Do I need to pay taxes on the tuition benefit?

Tuition benefit applied to undergraduate programs is not taxable. Employees will be taxed on all the graduate-level tuition benefit for their spouses. Employees will be taxed on all the graduate-level tuition benefit for themselves on any amount over $5,250.

When/how do I pay taxes on my tuition benefit?

Any taxable tuition benefit applied to an employee’s account between January and July will be added to their August paycheck. Any taxable tuition benefit applied to an employee’s account between August and December will be added to their December paycheck.

How is vacation accrual determined?

Benefits-Eligible Staff Employees*:

Years of Service

Exempt Employees

Non-exempt Employees

Years 0-4

15 Days (10.00 Hours/Month)

10 Days (6.66 Days/ Month)

Years: 5-9

20 Days (13.33 Hours/Month)

15 Days (10.00 Hours/Month)

Years 10+

20 Days (13.33 Hours/Month)

20 Days (13.33 Hours/Month)

*Vacation leave is accrued on a prorated basis for employees working less than 1 FTE.

Part-Time (Not Benefits-Eligible) Staff Employees:

The basis for proration is 10 days.

Vacation time will accrue up to the maximum amount determined for each position based on employment status, normal work week, and number of months worked per year. The maximum vacation balance is based on these factors and the point at which no additional time will accrue until the balance drops below the maximum. Monthly accruals will be forfeited until balance drops below maximum balance.

*See the Employee Handbook for more details.

How does personal leave work?

Three personal days, to a maximum of 24 hours, are accrued at the beginning of the first pay period for each calendar year. Benefits eligible employees hired after the first pay period of the year earn personal days on a prorated basis. Benefits eligible employees who work less than 40 hours per week, 12 months per year, receive personal leave on a prorated basis. Personal leave not used by the end of the last pay period of the same year is forfeited. Employees must report personal leave usage on their Time and Leave Reports.

Does Bethel offer COBRA?

Under a federal law called COBRA, Bethel University is not required to offer covered employees and their covered families the opportunity to extend benefits coverage temporarily at group rates after coverage under the plan would otherwise cease. However, Bethel University does offer a “COBRA-like” benefit for employees. This extension is called Continuation of Benefits (CBC) Coverage.

What are the premiums for CBC coverage?

CBC premiums are the total premium/cost of coverage, without Bethel’s contribution. For health and dental costs, see the “Total Premium” columns on the benefits page.