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Postdoc Benefits

Eligibility for benefits is determined by postdoctoral classification as summarized below.

Questions should be directed to either the VU or VUMC human resources postdoc representative:

The 2020-2021 benefits below are for Research Fellows (9132) and Postdoctoral Scholars, Research (9145), who are classified as employees.

Heath Insurance

  • Employee Health Insurance
  • Enrollment required within 30 days of hire date
  • Coverage begins on start date of appointment
  • If your home department is VU, details located at: VU Human Resources
  • If your home department is VUMC, details located at: VUMC Human Resources

The following additional benefits are available

  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
  • Short-term Disability
  • Long-term Disability
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health Reimbursement Account (VU only)
  • Retirement Plan 403(b)

These additional benefits are provided through either VU or VUMC Human Resources Department.

Questions?  Contact the appropriate human resources department

Non Employee: VU Postdoctoral Scholar Trainees, 2020-2021, coverage beginning August 12, 2020


Non-employee postdocs (i.e., VU Postdoctoral Scholar, Trainee) on training and fellowship grants (for whom no FICA is withheld) are eligible for the VU Postdoc Trainee Health Insurance Plan. The health insurance plan is administered by Gallagher Student Health and Risk and is Affordable Care Act compliant with a metallic (top) rating of platinum. For additional information, see 2019-2020 Health Insurance Plan Design Changes below.

Dates of coverage are August 12, 2020 to August 11, 2021.

VU Postdoctoral Scholar Trainees have access to the Postdoc Wellness Program of Work/Life Connections-EAP, as well as Occupational Health. Additional details are available on the Postdoc Health & Wellness Resources page.  Postdocs are not eligible to use the services at the Student Health Center (SHC).


Postdoc Enrollment

  • Postdocs must enroll for health insurance within 30 days of the hire date. To enroll: Contact your department staff administrator who must submit a Benefits Action Form via RedCap.
    • Please note: Previously, the BAF was completed manually, but we are pleased to announce that the form is now available online at the following link: The online form contains the same information as the manual form; however, once the BAF is completed, it is automatically routed to the appropriate parties for approval, as directed by your responses.
  • Postdocs are not billed directly for health insurance. Your department is billed.
  • The BAF is required for payment of premiums.


Enrolling Dependents

Postdocs may enroll their eligible dependents with an additional cost. Eligible dependents include:

  • A married spouse (husband and wife) or children (under the age of 26).
  • Domestic partners (same sex or opposite) are not covered.
  • Postdocs must enroll dependents within two weeks of the effective start date on the BAF that your department administrator submits to OPA.
  • Postdocs are not billed directly for dependent health insurance coverage. Your department is billed.

Coverage for eligible dependents must be purchased for the same time period as the postdocs’ period of coverage and cannot exceed coverage purchased by the postdoc. For example, an individual enrolled for annual coverage has to purchase annual coverage for a dependent unless a qualifying event occurs (see Qualifying Events section below)


Benefits & Premium

  • The VU Postdoc Trainee Health Insurance Plan will provide coverage from August 12, 2020 to August 11, 2021.
  • Visit Gallagher’s Postdoctoral Trainee web portal to review detailed information about your benefits and coverage.


2020-2021 Postdoc Rates

Programs/departments are billed for postdoc health insurance on a quarterly basis ($912 per quarter):

  • Q1:  8/12/20 – 11/11/21
  • Q2:  11/12/20 – 2/11/21
  • Q3:  2/12/21 – 5/11/21
  • Q4:  5/12/21 – 8/11/21


     Postdoc Plan      Annual Rate
      Postdoc Only   $3,648
      Spouse   $3,648
      One Child   $3,648
      Two or More Children   $7,296
      Spouse and Two or More Children   $10,944


To Terminate Coverage

  • The VU Postdoc Trainee Health Insurance Plan is an annual policy with four termination dates: December 31, April 30, May 30 and August 11.
  • Termination can be accommodated other than the end of the quarterly period by crediting a monthly rate.
  • To terminate coverage: Department administrators must complete a Benefits Action Form (BAF). Your department will continue to be charged until a termination BAF is received.


Qualifying Events

Postdoctoral Scholar Trainees can also add eligible dependent(s) if they experience one of the following qualifying events: (a) marriage, (b) birth of a child, (c) divorce, (d) if the dependent is entering the country for the first time, or (e) the dependent loses coverage under another health insurance. If the individual experiences one of these qualifying events, the Dependent Enrollment Form, supporting documentation, and payment must be received by Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk within 31 days of the qualifying event. Forms received more than 31 days after the qualifying event will not be processed. Once a dependent is enrolled, coverage cannot be terminated unless the individual loses eligibility. The premium is pro-rated based on the date coverage begins.


Optional Dental & Vision Insurance

  • Voluntary supplemental dental and vision coverage is available to postdocs. Postdocs are responsible for enrolling in this optional coverage and for making payments directly.
  • If you are currently enrolled in the 2019-2020 dental plan, you do not need to enroll for 2020-2021.  Unless you stop paying the premium, coverage will continue.  If you do stop paying premiums, there is a one year waiting period before you can re-enroll.
  • Postdocs do not need to be enrolled in Gallagher’s health insurance to be eligible to purchase voluntary dental & vision coverage.
  • Enrollment is open all year and can be cancelled at any time.
  • Coverage starts the first day of the following month after enrolling.  Payment is required on the 20th of each month.
  • For 2020-2021, postdocs can enroll in one or both plans (dental and/or vision)


  Dental Monthly Rate   Vision Monthly Rate
  Individual   $31.57   $10.98
  Individual +1   $63.14   $20.20
  Family   $101.02   $30.19




Plan Administrator: Gallagher/Insurance Carrier: Aetna

Detailed information is located at: Gallagher – The Vanderbilt University Postdoctoral Trainee Benefits Program.


Monthly Gallagher Rates:  2020-2021
Coverage Tier Benefits Package w/Dental HMO Benefits Package w/Dental PPO
Postdoc Only $652.18 $666.18
Postdoc + Spouse $1,506.71 $1,534.26
Postdoc + Child $1,345.42 $1,380.54
Family $2,173.02 $2,225.44



All postdoctoral trainees enrolled in this benefits package are given the option of buying-up into the Aetna PPO 90/70 Health Insurance Plan for a small monthly premium. Many postdocs have asked if their grant/department will pay for the buy-up premiums, if the funds are available. Since the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs cannot be invoiced for postdoc buy-up premiums, you must discuss this option with your respective department. If approved, each department will determine how they wish to handle payment.

Please note: If Gallagher does not receive payment for the buy-up premium by the scheduled due dates, the trainee’s benefits will terminate and they will not be able to re-enroll until the next open enrollment period in the fall. Reimbursement/payment of the postdoc premium on behalf of the trainee is to be negotiated between the department and the trainee.


Optional Monthly Aetna Buy-Up PPO 90/70

(Postdoc responsible for enrolling and making payments)

Coverage Tier Monthly Buy-Up Premium
Postdoc only $34.57
Postdoc + Spouse $80.20
Postdoc + Child $70.85
Family $114.76


Optional Vision

(Postdoc responsible for enrolling and making payments)

Coverage Tier Monthly Premium
Postdoc only $8.93
Postdoc + Spouse $17.86
Postdoc + Child $19.64
Family $28.57


Life, ADD Coverage $4.45
LTD Coverage $3.15
(effective 12.1.20 : $4.73)


If a postdoctoral trainee chooses to participate in the optional vision plan or Aetna Buy-up plan, they are responsible for enrolling and making payments as necessary to Gallagher.