Leaving Duke

In leaving Duke, you will need to understand how your benefits are affected by this employment status change. This overview is designed to highlight benefit options that you may want to evaluate.

Can I continue my Duke health, dental, and/or vision insurance after I leave Duke?

Yes. Under the federal law, COBRA, you may continue your existing health, dental, and/or vision insurance for up to 18 months. Your COBRA qualifying date is based on your last day worked. If you become covered under another employer's plan or Medicare, your COBRA coverage will terminate. You will be responsible for the full premium payment plus a 2% service charge. If you fail to pay the premiums, your COBRA coverage will be canceled with no option to reinstate.

A notice describing COBRA continuation rights is sent to employees resigning from Duke. If you do not receive this continuation notice or have questions, contact the HRIC at 684-5600. 

Can I continue any existing reimbursement accounts?

Yes, you have two options available for reimbursement account continuation. First, under the federal law, COBRA, you have the right to make Health Care Reimbursement Account contributions (plus a 2% service charge) on an after-tax basis after your employment ends. This continuation maintains your annual election amount for the remainder of the year. This option may be particularly important to you if you have a high balance in your health care reimbursement account and have not yet incurred an anticipated eligible expense. This is because it keeps your access to funds in your health care reimbursement account open for expenses incurred during the plan year but after your termination. To choose this option you must complete the Health Care Reimbursement Account COBRA election form and remit your contribution to ADP.

The second option allows you to submit claims for medical, dental, or vision expenses incurred on or prior to your termination date, up to your annual Health Care Reimbursement Account election. If you elect this second option, health care reimbursement account claims incurred after your termination date are not eligible for reimbursement. Under the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account, you can submit eligible expenses incurred during the plan year up to your account balance. Specific questions regarding the reimbursement plan should be directed to WageWorks. For more information, please see the Reimbursement Accounts web site.

Can I continue my current life insurance policies?

The answer varies depending on the life insurance plan in which you participate:

  • Basic Group Life - Can be converted to a Whole Life individual policy within 30 days of termination. Contact Benefits if you would like to convert your Basic Life policy.
  • Supplemental Life and Universal Life - Supplemental Life (after two years of plan participation) and Universal Life insurance may be continued on a direct bill basis. The specific vendor should be contacted for further information.
  • Post-Retirement Life - Contact the Holroyd Agency and ask about a reduced paid-up insurance certificate.
  • Personal Accident, Business Travel and Accident, or Survivor Benefit - Coverage ends on your termination date.

For more information, please see the Life Insurance web site.

What other benefit programs do I need to be aware of?

You are eligible to continue Long Term Care insurance, Long Term Disability Enhancer, or the Personal Casualty insurance (METPAY) coverage and should contact each company directly to inquire about options.

If you participated in the Voluntary Long Term Disability program, you have 31 days from your separation to apply for a conversion plan.

Can I continue to receive the educational assistance or tuition grant benefits?

No. The eligibility to participate in these plans ends upon termination of employment.

What happens to my retirement pension and/or accumulations?

The following applies depending on retirement plan participation:

  • EMPLOYEE'S RETIREMENT PLAN (BIWEEKLY EMPLOYEES ONLY) - If you leave after completing at least five years of continuous service after you reach age 18, you will be eligible for a "vested" retirement benefit. Vesting entitles you to a lifetime benefit upon reaching your retirement age of 65 even if you leave Duke before your normal retirement date or before you qualify for early retirement. Your vested retirement amount is based on your credited service and average final compensation when you leave.
  • EMPLOYEE and EMPLOYER 403(B) RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS - If you terminate employment with Duke, you retain full control over your employee and vested employer balances in the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. You have several options under these plans which are subject to certain restrictions. You should contact the vendors for further information. In general your options are to:
    1. keep the funds with the same vendor and transfer within that vendor at any time; or
    2. transfer the funds between vendors; or
    3. roll the funds over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA); or
    4. make a lump sum transfer into your new employer's retirement plan granted they allow rollovers from a 403(b) plan; or
    5. withdraw the funds before retirement. These will be considered fully taxable income as of the date of withdrawal and may be subject to surrender charges and IRS penalties.
  • IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING 403(B) RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS - If you leave Duke prior to your retirement and subsequently are covered by another employer's 403(b) plan, you may be able to transfer your Duke 403(b) funds to the new employer's plan. Your new employer can answer questions regarding transfers. If you are not employed at Duke when you reach 70 ½ years of age, you must begin minimum distributions on the funds accumulated under the Duke 403(b) retirement plan.

For more information, please see the Retirement Plans web site.

What other important information do I need to know?

It is helpful to inform your department of your decision to resign as soon as possible. Employees on the biweekly payroll should provide at least two weeks' notice and employees on the monthly payroll should provide at least one month's notice. After your termination has been processed in Payroll, you will receive payment for any unused, accrued vacation time in your final pay check or in a separate vacation check. Unused, accrued sick time is not eligible to be paid out.

All established, voluntary payroll deductions, such as for health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, reimbursement accounts, and/or retirement contributions, will be taken from your final pay unless you sign an authorization to stop such deductions before the payroll deadline. Contact the HRIC to sign the authorization to stop deductions. If you would like to terminate deductions for parking, credit union, United Way, YMCA, etc., contact the department that originally authorized the deduction.