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Benefits Orientation for
Faculty, Academic Staff & Librarians - Introduction & Deadlines


Welcome to the University of Washington! As an academic employee of a world class University, you receive a benefits package that provides excellent insurance coverage and retirement plan options. The decisions you make at the time of benefits enrollment will affect your insurance coverage and retirement plan participation. It is therefore important that you understand your enrollment options.

This orientation is for newly-employed and newly benefits-eligible faculty, librarians and academic employees. Your benefits eligibility and retirement plan options depend on the type of appointment you hold. If you do not know your appointment type, talk to your department's administrator or payroll coordinator.

In-Person Orientation

UW Benefits encourages all new benefits eligible employees to attend an in-person orientation. Attending an in-person benefits orientation provides you with a benefits packet that includes all of the documents you will need to enroll. Also, a UW Benefits staff member will be present to guide you through the enrollment process and answer your questions.


Online Benefits Orientation

This online benefits orientation is not required. It is for employees who cannot or choose not to attend an in-person benefits orientation. It can also be a useful reference for employees who expect to attend an in-person orientation, yet want to review their benefits enrollment information and options online in advance.

The orientation proceeds sequentially. The information you learn on one page may be necessary for the decisions you will make at a later step. The navigation allows you to select individual pages you wish to view, however we recommend that you proceed through the orientation from beginning to end so that you do not miss important information.

Critical Deadlines

From your “benefits eligibility date” (normally the date you are placed on the UW payroll), you have certain “enrollment windows” within which you must complete and return benefits enrollment forms. The “benefits eligibility date” relates to your enrollment deadlines. It is not necessarily the effective date that a specific benefit actually begins. Look for the benefit effective dates as you review each module of the orientation.

Regardless of the actual deadlines, below, we recommend that you return ALL forms within 31 days from your benefits eligibility date.

Within 31 days, all employees must complete and return:

Within 60 days, all employees must complete and return:

Within 2 years, faculty, academic appointees, and librarians must enroll in a retirement plan:

What happens if you do not meet a required enrollment deadline?

Medical & Dental Insurance
You must select a medical and dental plan. If you do not choose a plan you will eventually be enrolled in the Uniform Medical and Dental Plans with no dependent coverage. Enrollment will take up to 90 days and you may have difficulty getting medical and dental services. In addition, you likely will have to wait until the next open enrollment (up to one year) before you can change plans or add dependents.
Life & Optional Long Term Disability Insurance
You will have only basic plan coverage. If you decide later that you want to enroll in optional life or long term disability insurance, you may have to provide evidence of good health, which is not required at the time of initial enrollment.
Retirement Plan Enrollment
You will be enrolled in the most basic options for your retirement plan, which in the long run, may not be ideal. Also, depending on the plan, you may lose the right to make future retirement plan elections or contributions.

Next - Online Orientation Requirements