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HR Insurance Benefits

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

View the full 2018-2019 benefits table or select an option below.




The 2018-2019 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.

VU Postdoc Trainee Benefits: 2018-2019


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.

Dates of coverage are August 12, 2018 to August 11, 2019


Postdoc Enrollment

  • As a Postdoc Scholar, Trainee, (i.e., non-employee), the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), Graduate School, enrolls postdocs for individual coverage if your department administrator submits a Benefits Action Form (BAF) to Irene McKirgan.
  • Even though department administrators are responsible for submitting the BAF to OPA, it is your responsibility to ensure that your department administrator has submitted a BAF to Irene McKirgan.
  • Since postdocs are not billed directly for health insurance (department is billed), the BAF is required for payment of premiums.


Dependent Enrollment

  • Postdocs may enroll their eligible dependents with an additional cost. Eligible dependents include
    • A student’s married spouse (husband and wife) or a child (under the age of 26)
    • Domestic partners (same sex or opposite) are not covered
  • Postdocs are not billed directly for dependent health insurance coverage
    • Your department is billed
    • It is the responsibility of the postdoc to discuss with your department/program if they will pay for your dependents 
  • It is your responsibility to enroll your eligible dependents each year
  • Postdocs must enroll dependents within two weeks of the effective start date on the BAF that your department administrator submits to OPA.
  • 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 (described below).


Benefits & Premium


  • The VU Postdoc Trainee Health Insurance Plan will provide coverage from August 12, 2018 to August 11, 2019
  • Visit Gallagher’s Postdoctoral Trainee web portal to review detailed information about your benefits and coverage
  • Note that Postdocs are not eligible to use the services at the Student Health Center (SHC)


  • The 2018-19 premiums are $3,142 and are billed on a quarterly basis ($785.50 each quarter). 
    • Q1:  8/12/18 – 11/11/18
    • Q2:  11/12/18 – 2/11/19
    • Q3:  2/12/19 – 5/11/19
    • Q4:  5/12/19 – 8/11/19


Postdoc Plan

Annual Rate

Postdoc Only




One Child


Two or More Children


Spouse and Two or More Children




  • Postdocs who begin their programs on an effective date within these quarterly periods will be charged a monthly rate. For the 2018-2019 policy years we will be able to accommodate termination dates other than at the end of these quarterly periods by crediting a monthly rate. 


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) and submit to Irene McKirgan. Your department will continue to be charged until a termination BAF is received.


Qualifying Events

  • Postdoctoral Fellows can also add eligible dependent(s) if they experience one of the following qualifying events: (a) marriage, (b) birth of a child, (c) divorce, or (d) if the dependent is entering the country for the first time.
  • 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 2 weeks 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 not pro-rated and you will be responsible for paying the full premium for the coverage period in which the date of your qualifying event occurs. 


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.  
  • Note: If you are currently enrolled in the 2017-2018 dental plans, you do not need to enroll for 2018-2019. Unless you stop paying the premium, coverage will continue. 
  • Postdocs do not need to be enrolled in Gallagher’s health insurance plan to be eligible to purchase voluntary dental & vision coverage.
  • Postdocs can enroll at any time for this optional coverage. 
  • The vision plan can only be purchased if a postdoc enrolls in the dental plan.

Postdoctoral Scholar Trainees are not eligible for the following benefits:

  • Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
  • Short-Term Disability
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Retirement Plan


  • Postdocs are not able to use the Vanderbilt Student Health Center, but can access the on-campus student health insurance representative, Kristina Miller for help with questions. She is located at the Student Health Center, Zerfoss Building, 4th floor. Her direct contact is or 615-343-4688.
  • Information regarding student health insurance may also be found at or
  • Questions can also be directed to Gallagher Student Health’s Customer Service Team, 1-800-468-5867, Monday-Friday 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM (ET) or by clicking on the Customer Service Link on Gallagher Student Health’s website.
  • Gallagher representatives will be on Vanderbilt’s campus on August 20, 2018 after the graduate student orientation to meet with postdocs and answer questions.

More questions?  Read the FAQ for Vanderbilt University Postdoctoral Trainees Health Insurance Plan.

The 2018-2019 benefits below are for VUMC Postdoctoral Scholar Trainees, who are not classified as employees.

Dates of coverage are October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.


Plan Administrator: Garnett-Powers/Insurance Carrier: Aetna

Detailed information is located at: Garnett-Powers & Associates - The Vanderbilt University Postdoctoral Trainee Benefits Program.


Monthly Garnett-Powers Rates:  2018-2019

Coverage Tier Benefits Package w/Dental HMO Benefits Package w/Dental PPO
Postdoc Only $534.55 $547.77
Postdoc + Spouse $1,234.11 $1,260.12
Postdoc + Child $1,103.77 $1,136.93
Family $1,781.98 $1,831.48



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 Graduate School 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 Garnett-Powers 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 $37.15
Postdoc + Spouse $86.23
Postdoc + Child $76.18
Family $123.38


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


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 Garnett-Powers.