Separating Employees

This page is designed to outline all benefit information as you prepare to separate from the university. If you have any questions on these topics or would like to discuss details specific to you as you plan your next steps, please email us at ua-benefits@alaska.edu or call us at (907) 450-8242.

 

How to Submit Your Intent to Separate

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! To begin the retirement process, please follow the steps listed below. It is recommended that you begin the retirement process about 60-90 days prior to your intended retirement date. 

Submit your intent to retire in writing to both your supervisor and HR Coordinator. This notice should include your anticipated retirement date.

If you are not sure what retirement account you participated in, log into UAOnline and navigate to "Employee" > "Benefit Deductions" > "Retirement Plans."

If you are a member of a Defined Benefit PERS or TRS plan with the State of Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits (DRB), you will need to reach out to them directly to complete your retirement application at least 30 days prior to your planed retirement date. UA recommends reaching out earlier than 30 days before your retirement to discuss retirement options. 

The DRB can be reached at 1-800-821-2251.

Please note, your retirement will be effective the first of the month following your last day worked. This means if your last day worked is June 2, your retirement with DRB will begin on July 1. 

 If you are a member of a Defined Contribution PERS or TRS plan, you will need to reach out to Empower Retirement.

You must be separated at least 60 days from all employment at the university prior to taking any action on the account.  You will also want to confirm eligibility for the retiree health plan with Empower.

Empower Retirement can be reached at 1-800-232-0859 or by logging into your logging in to your Empower Retirement account.

If you are a member of the ORP and/or UA Pension, you will need to reach out directly to your fund sponsor(s) (Fidelity, TIAA, VALIC, or Lincoln).

Your fund sponsor will provide you with any paperwork needed as well as assist you with questions on your account.

You must be separated at least 45-day from all employment prior to taking any action on these accounts. You may choose one of the following options regarding your vested account funds:

  1. Leave your funds with the fund sponsor
  2. Transfer your vested funds to another qualified account such as another employer’s plan or an IRA
  3. Request a cash distribution of vested funds (speak to your fund sponsor to understand what taxes and penalties may apply)
  4. Receive payment through an annuity contract purchased from the fund sponsor with your account balance

If you are not sure if you are vested, you can review your status in by logging into UAOnline and going to “Employee Services” > “Benefits and Deductions” > “UA Optional Retirement Plan/Pension Vesting Progress.”

The fund sponsors can be reached at:

Fidelity Investments 1-800-343-0860
Lincoln National 1-800-478-6393
VALIC 1-800-448-2542
TIAA 1-800-842-2252

If you are participating in a voluntary Tax-deferred Annuity (TDA) account, contact your fund sponsor for options regarding your account.

If you do take a cash distribution, you should understand that certain taxes and penalties could apply if you do not meet the age requirements for retirement. You should also ask the fund sponsor about any restrictions or penalties they might have regarding distributions.

The university uses a third-party administrator to manage the voluntary TDA program. For loans, hardship distributions, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), rollovers and any other distributions, please contact planwithease.com for assistance. Information on how to log on to planwithease.com is found on our TDA website.

If you are an employee who is retiring from a PERS or TRS plan with the State of Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits DRB), you must meet the bona fide termination regulations.

  • You cannot return to work in any capacity with the same employer from which you retired for at least 6 months if under 62 years old at retirement or 60 days if over 62 years old at retirement.
  • There can be no pre-arranged return to work agreement - either written or verbal.

Please reach out to the DRB at 1-800-821-2251 if you have any questions on your PERS or TRS retirement. The DRB also provides bona fide retirement resources on their website. 

Discuss your retirement with your fund sponsor(s). UA is not authorized to provide financial advice. Contact information for your fund sponsor is found in the dropdown menu under step 2. 

Review the information below on health care, supplemental life insurances, and other items to note as you prepare for your retirement. 

Employees who are separating but not retiring follow the steps listed below. It is recommended that you begin this process about 2 weeks prior to your intended separation date. 

Submit your intent to separate to both your supervisor and HR Coordinator. This notice should include your anticipated separation date and your reason for leaving the university.

Review the information below on health care, retirement, supplemental life insurances, and other items to note as you prepare for your retirement. 


Information for Separating Employees

The information below provides an outline of when your coverages end and how you can continue coverage after your coverage end date.  

Your medical, dental, and/or vision coverage will end at the end of the pay period in which you separate from the university. Review the chart of pay periods to see when your coverage will end. If you have any questions about your coverage end date, please email ua-benefits@alaska.edu

For example, you separate from the University on April 5, 2024. This is during the pay period that runs March 24th - April 6th, 2024. This means your coverages will end on April 6, 2024.

If you participate in any recurring service - such as mail order prescriptions - you must update your coverage before your coverage end date. This ensures that pharmacies do not fill prescriptions on your expired pharmacy plan. 

There are four options for you to continue coverage after you leave the university.

​COBRA allows you to continue medical, dental, and vision coverage for yourself and eligible dependents for up to 18 months.

 

COBRA coverage is provided exactly as your plan was when you were employed at the university. This means that if you were only enrolled in medical, you will only have the opportunity to continue your medical coverage (no dental and vision). If you had dependents on your plan while you were employed at the university, they are eligible to continue coverage through COBRA, as well. 

The university  COBRA plan is administered by BenefitHelp Solutions. 

BenefitHelp Solutions will notify you, via US mail, of your COBRA rights, send all necessary enrollment forms,  and provide information and costs for continuing your health insurance through COBRA.

You will receive your application about 2 weeks after your last day worked. If you would like to request expedited, please email ua-benefits@alaska.edu with your UA ID, date of separation, and reason for the request.

You will have 60 days from the day your coverage ends to enroll in COBRA coverage. 

Review the chart of pay periods to see when your coverage will end.

Once you are enrolled in COBRA, please direct any questions to BenefitHelp Solutions at 1-800-556-3137.

If you are still an employee or are very recently separated, you are welcome to reach out to us as well via email at ua-benefits@alaska.edu.

If you elect to continue your health insurance coverage through COBRA, you may be eligible to convert your COBRA insurance to a personal insurance policy with Premera Blue Cross at the conclusion of the 18 months eligibility. You will be notified by BenefitHelp Solutions of your conversion option six months prior to the expiration of your COBRA continuation.

You may also have the option of purchasing an individual policy from Premera Blue Cross within 31 days of your coverage end date. Review the chart of pay periods to see when your coverage will end.

If you are interested in an individual policy, contact Premera Blue Cross directly at 1-800-364-2982 or  visit them online at www.premera.com.

Separating from the university is considered a Qualifying Life Event for the purposes of purchasing a personal policy through the ACA Marketplace.

You can find more information about the plans offered and associated costs at  www.healthcare.gov.

Please note you have 60 days from the date university coverage ends to sign up for a policy through the ACA Marketplace. Review the chart of pay periods to see when your coverage will end.

If you have accepted a position with a new employer, you may choose to enroll in their coverage pending your eligibility.

The university does not have information on other employer benefits. All questions regarding coverage at a new employer must be directed to that employer.

If you are retiring from either the PERS or TRS retirement plans, please contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits for health care options at 1-800-821-2251.

The ORP does not have a medical benefit.

If you are participating in a Flexible Spending Account(s) (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA), please review the information below to understand what happens to these accounts as you separate or retire.​

If you are participating in either the

  • Health Care FSA or
  • Dependent Care FSA

your coverage will end on your last day of employment. You cannot reimburse yourself for services rendered after your separation date from an eligible position. Please remember that the entire FSA balance that you requested for the plan year is available immediately. 

If you qualify, the Health Care FSA may be continued on an after-tax basis with COBRA coverage. ASIFlex will contact you directly if you are eligible to continue the Health Care FSA. You may also reach out directly to ASIFlex via their website.

More information can be found on our FSA website.

If you are participating in the HSA, you will take the account and all contributions made with you when you separate from the university. You may:

  1. Continue to utilize those funds for future eligible reimbursements
  2. Roll it over into another eligible HSA
  3. Continue to invest after reaching $1,000 total contributions 

There is a small maintenance charge to maintain your HSA account with Bank of America after separation of UA employment.

Any questions regarding your account should be directed to Bank of America at 1-866-791-0250.

More information can be found on our HSA website.

If you are separating from the university but are not retiring, there are a few different considerations for your retirement accounts depending on what type of account you have.

If you are not retiring, you may take any of the following actions with your account:

  1. Leave the employee contributions in the plan until retirement. Any future PERS or TRS employment will add to your service credit.
  2. Request a distribution of your employee contribution account 60 days after separation, or at some later date (employer contributions are not refunded).

The following is information to consider:

  • You should inquire with the Division of Retirement and Benefits (DRB) about the implications of withdrawing your funds from the plan before applying to withdraw funds.
  • If you are vested and wish to withdraw employee contributed funds, know that you may be forfeiting future retirement benefits. If you are married, you will be required to complete a spousal consent to refund form available from DRB.
  • You should understand that certain taxes and penalties could apply if you withdraw funds from the plan prior to retirement.

The DRB can be reached at 1-800-821-2251.

Contact Empower Retirement to request account vesting status and options for accessing funds. Empower Retirement can be contacted through their website or at 1-800-232-0859. You can either:

  1. Leave your funds with the fund sponsor
  2. Transfer your vested funds to another qualified account such as another employer’s plan or an IRA
  3. Request a cash distribution of vested funds

Before taking any action on your DC account, please speak with your financial advisor. There may be penalties for withdraws prior to retirement age. The UA Benefits team is not able to provide financial planning advice

After separation of all employment and a 45-day waiting period has passed, you may choose one of the following options regarding your vested account funds:

  1. Leave your funds with the fund sponsor
  2. Transfer your vested funds to another qualified account such as another employer’s plan or an IRA
  3. Request a cash distribution of vested funds

Before taking any action on your ORP or UA Pension Plan account(s), please speak with your financial advisor. There may be penalties for withdraws prior to retirement age. The UA Benefits team is not able to provide financial planning advice.

If you are not sure if you are vested, you can  review your vesting status on UAOnline by going to “Employee Services” > “Benefits and Deductions” > “UA Optional Retirement Plan/Pension Vesting Progress.”

Fidelity Investments (800) 343-0860
Lincoln National (800) 478-6393
VALIC (800) 448-2542
TIAA (800) 842-2252


If a non-vested employee leaves the university and returns to a benefit eligible position with one year of separation, vesting will continue where the employee left off. 

If a non-vested employee leaves the university and does not return within one year of separation, the three year vesting schedule will start over.

If you are participating in a voluntary Tax-deferred Annuity (TDA) account, contact your fund sponsor for options regarding your account. More information can be found on our Tax-deferred Annuity (TDA) webpage

If you take a cash distribution, you should understand that certain taxes and penalties could apply if you do not meet the age requirements for retirement. You should ask your fund sponsor about restrictions or penalties they might have regarding distributions.

The university uses a third-party administrator to manage the voluntary TDA program. For loans, hardship distributions, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), rollovers and any other distributions, please reach out to planwithease.com  for assistance. Information on how to contact planwithease.com is found on the university's TDA webpage.

Annual leave will be paid out on your final paycheck up to a maximum of 240 hours. 

The following leaves are not paid out upon separation:

  1. Sick leave
  2. Faculty Time Off
  3. Personal Holiday
  4. Parental Leave

Terminal leave is using paid leave through your final day at UA (i.e. you do not work your final day). If you are separating from the university and will be using terminal leave and are a member of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or Teacher's Retirement System (TRS), please contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits (DRB) to understand what this may mean for you and your retirement. The DRB can be reached at 1-800-821-2251.

Terminal annual leave can be approved by your immediate supervisor.

Terminal sick leave must be approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer. Please reach out to ua-hr@alaska.edu

While you are an employee
Basic life insurance is available in the amount of $100,000 to

  • regular, or
  • term-funded employees

who are working at least 20 hours a week.

The premium for basic life insurance is covered by the university on your behalf while you are an active employee. Coverage will cease on your last day of employment in an eligible position.


Conversion options after you separate from the university
When you separate from the university, you have the option to continue your basic term life policy (if applicable) by porting or converting the policy to an individual one. Premiums are paid directly to Securian Financial and coverage is issued with no medical examination. Premiums for a personal policy may be higher than those paid by active employees.

If you want to convert your basic life insurance, you must apply for conversion or portability within 31 days from your separation date from the university.

To receive a conversion form or a group life portability application, contact Securian Financial at 1-866-365-2374. You may also log into Securian's webpage to review your options, calculate rates, and obtain forms. To login, please use the policy number and key access below. 

Policy Number: 70229
Access Key: uofak

While you are an employee
Supplemental life insurance is an optional election with an additional charge to you, the employee. Coverage will cease on your last day of employment in an eligible position.


Conversion options after you separate from the university
When you separate from the university, you have the option to continue your supplemental term life policy (if applicable) by porting or converting the policy to an individual one. Premiums are paid directly to Securian Financial and coverage is issued with no medical examination. Premiums may be higher than those paid by active employees.

If you want to convert your supplemental life insurance, you must apply for conversion or portability within 31 days from your separation date from the university.

To receive a conversion form or a group life portability application, contact Securian Financial at 1-866-365-2374. You may also log into Securian's webpage to review your options, calculate rates, and obtain forms. To login, please use the policy number and key access below.  

Policy Number: 70229
Access Key: uofak

While you are an employee
AD&D is an optional election with an additional charge to you, the employee. Coverage will cease on your last day of employment in an eligible position.


Conversion options after you separate from the university
None. 

 

While you are an employee
Short-term Disability (STD) is available to

  • regular, or
  • term-funded employees

who are working at least 20 hours a week.

The premium is covered by the university on your behalf while you are an active employee. Coverage will cease on your last day of employment in an eligible position.


Conversion options after you separate from the university
None. 

While you are an employee
Long-Term Disability (LTD) is available to

  • regular, or
  • term-funded employees

who are working at least 20 hours a week.

The premium is covered by the university on your behalf while you are an active employee. Coverage will cease on your last day of employment in an eligible position.


Conversion Options
When you separate from the university, you may be eligible to convert your LTD insurance coverage to an individual policy with Unum, pending you are not currently receiving LTD benefits. The advantage to converting your university policy is that there is no requirement for you to complete a medical examination to qualify for coverage.

If you want to convert your LTD insurance, you must apply for conversion within 31 days from your separation date from the university. Contact UA HR at (907) 450-8200 or ua-benefits@alaska.edu to request a conversion application.

If you choose to convert your plan, premiums for your individual policy are paid directly to Unum. If you do convert LTD, the coverage may differ from the group policy offered by university.

You may continue participation in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for 90 days after your last day worked. If you continue your UA Choice medical plan through COBRA, you can maintain your access to the EAP for up to 18 months (or as long as you continue your UA Choice coverages). More information on the EAP can be found on our EAP webpage.

When you separate from the university, you must return:

  • your office and building keys,
  • laptops or other devices,
  • credit cards,
  • and any other items you may have

to your supervisor or department prior to or on your last day worked. This list is not exhaustive and you should confirm all university property in your possession directly with your supervisor.

Keys that are not returned prior to your last day worked may result in a fee withheld from your final paycheck.

In addition, be sure to reconcile any outstanding fees including parking fees, library fees, etc.

If you are moving, please be sure to log into UAOnline to update your HR Address. This will help ensure that future communications, including your W2 and 1095-C documents, are sent to your current location. 

To update or confirm your address, log into UAOnline and click on “Personal Information” > “Manage Your Address, Email and Phone Information.”

When you separate from the university, any digital accesses will be automatically terminated. If you are continuing as a student, your email address will remain active. Contact the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at 907-450-8300 with questions about your email access.

Your UAOnline account will remain active, regardless of employment status, for 999 days after the last time you accessed the account.

Before you can receive a final paycheck, you must submit your final time sheet to payroll. The final time sheet is completed on UAOnline and must have “final time sheet” written in the comments section.

If the online time sheet is not available, please work with your HR Coordinator to complete a paper time sheet and include “final time sheet” at the top of the paper form.

Your final paycheck will include your final pay and your annual leave payoff of up to 240 hours. 

Parental leave, sick leave, personal holiday, and Faculty Time Off (FTO) are not paid out.

The Exit Survey gives you the opportunity to provide feedback and share information on your experience and relationship with the university. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a member of the Human Resources team to discuss your experiences working with the university, please contact Gail Granata at gmgranata@alaska.edu.

It is the supervisors responsibility to ensure that their separating employees return all university related items that were issued to them. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Keys
  • Laptops / Computers / other hardware equipment
  • ProCards or travel cards
  • Revise and remove any security accesses