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Check your university-provided insurance: Current insurance/benefit coverage in UT Direct

:!: Caution: This page is currently out of date due to the transitions away from UT Select to Academic Blue, as well as the transition to Workday.


UT has a system for dealing with graduate student insurance that defies all logic. (Federal regulations + State law + insurance bureaucracy = bizarre intricacy.) In this page we'll briefly examine some of the more unusual features, and discuss ways to avoid mistakes that could leave you without insurance.

There are five ways to get health insurance as a grad student:

  1. Be covered by your parent's or spouse's insurance (such a deal!).
  2. Be appointed as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Assistant Instructor (AI): Insurance and Benefits for Graduate Student Employees
  3. Be appointed as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): Insurance and Benefits for Graduate Student Employees
  4. Be awarded graduate fellowships: Insurance for Eligible Graduate Student Fellows
  5. Buy your own (of course). The UT System offers a very basic student insurance: Student Health Insurance Plan

Important Eligibility "Gotchas"

Teaching Assistant, Assistant Instructor, and Graduate Research Assistant job appointments must add up to 20 hours per week, and must be 4.5 months or longer. Check your appointments here: Appointment Information in UT Direct

Graduate fellowships must combine to a total stipend of $10,000 or more per year.

What's Available

For employees (TAs/AIs/GRAs), UT pays for your medical insurance, a small life insurance policy, and half of your spouse/child's insurance.

For graduate fellows, the insurance costs need to come out of your fellowship funds (or your pocket).

The following is available for you, your spouse, and your children:

  • Medical Insurance (with Pharmacy coverage)
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance

Also, employees can participate in:

  • Life Insurance
  • “Flexible spending accounts” (where you can set aside money for medical and daycare expenses to be exempted from income tax.)
  • Various accident/disability insurances: accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, long-term disability insurance, short-term disability insurance, long-term care insurance
  • Two retirement savings schemes: a “403(b) tax-sheltered annuity” plan, and a “457 deferred compensation plan”.

Annual Enrollment

As required by U.S. tax law, UT has annual enrollment for benefits. This means that you can only make changes to your insurance (such as adding dental or vision):

  • within 31 days of the start of your job
  • during the annual enrollment period which happens in July
  • when you have a “qualified change of status”, like having a child, getting married, etc.

In theory, there are circumstances and coverage combinations where you can ignore the annual enrollment. There are enough exceptions to this, though, that you should just always go though annual enrollment whenever you get notified of it.

Summer Coverage for Spring TA/AIs

Being a TA/AI in the Spring is great. Even if you leave UT for the summer (perhaps to get a summer internship) you will still have all of your health, dental, and vision insurance from the Spring semester. Note that you'll prepay for your entire summer insurance coverage with your June 1 paycheck. You'll get detailed information about summer coverage by e-mail in April.

Summer Coverage for Spring GRAs

Being a GRA in the Spring can cause complications. If you leave UT for the summer, you will not have insurance and you will either need to get private insurance or use COBRA continuation coverage. If you do not use COBRA continuation coverage, then there is a break in your UT insurance. When you come back in the Fall, HR considers you to be a new hire again. Once again, you have 31 days to make your enrollment choices. If you ignore this enrollment, instead of maintaining the benefits from the previous year, you will now revert to the default coverages (no dental or vision).

insurance.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/12 22:19 by theksong