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Leave of Absence

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Benefit Details

Health, Dental, Vision, Disability and Life Insurance Coverage

While you are on paid leave, your insurance premiums will continue to be deducted from your paycheck.

If you go on unpaid leave it is your responsibility to pay the premiums for your existing coverage through direct billing (see the Direct Billing Guide). Benefitexpress manages direct billing administration for VUMC. You will receive payment coupons directly from benefitexpress. Failure to receive payment coupons does not relieve you of your responsibility of making timely premium payments. Lack of payment may terminate your participation in the plan. If participation is terminated, you may have a gap in coverage upon your return to paid leave or active status or missed premiums will be deducted from your paychecks, in addition to your normal deductions, once you return to work.

Spending Accounts

If you are on an unpaid leave and have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your payroll contributions will stop until you return to work. Upon return to work, the remaining FSA election will be recalculated based on remaining payrolls.

If you have the Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), it remains active during an unpaid leave of absence, though no additional accruals are made during the unpaid period.

Retirement Plan

You cannot continue to contribute to your retirement accounts during an unpaid leave. However, your existing retirement funds will remain invested as you directed.

Accrued Time Off

Accrued time off must be exhausted before an unpaid leave of absence can begin. However, if on unpaid leave due to short-term disability, you must only use enough accrued time to satisfy the applicable waiting period. Employees enrolled in only the base option of enhanced short-term disability are required to exhaust all grandfathered sick time before short-term disability starts paying. Time off accruals will stop during an unpaid leave of absence. Refer to the Non-FMLA Medical and Personal Leave of Absence policy or the short-term disability insurance webpage for more information.

Returning from Unpaid Leave

If you paid your portion of your benefits through direct billing, then your regular deductions will resume the month following the date you return from leave. You are still considered under direct billing the month you return from leave, and those premiums need to be paid to benefitexpress for that month’s coverage. Any deductions missed while on leave that are not paid through direct bill will be deducted from your check when you return from leave.

For instance, you return on Aug. 5, you pay the amount due for August coverage to benefitexpress by the deadline, and your regular deductions will resume in September.

If your coverage is terminated due to lack of payment while on leave, claims during that period would not be covered until payment is made. 



1. When do I need to add my child to the insurance plan(s)?
You have 30 days from the date of the qualifying life event to add a child to your insurance coverage. For a newborn, that is 30 days from the date of birth. For an adopted child, it is 30 days from the date the adoption is finalized by the courts.

2. Is any documentation required to add my child to the insurance coverage?
Documentation is not required to add your newborn to your insurance coverage. Documentation is required to add your adopted child to your insurance coverage. A final copy of the court documents signed by the judge in the case of adoption must be forward to the Benefits Administration office within the 30 day allowed time frame.
VUMC reserves the right to audit eligibility and may require copies of any legal papers issued to establish a person as your spouse, partner or child. Only copies of actual court documents issued by the respective courts will be considered as acceptable documentation for dependents. Attempting to insure someone who is not eligible may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

3. How do I add my newborn or adopted child to my insurance coverage?
Log in to My VUMC Benefits and follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Benefits tab below the Vanderbilt University Medical Center header
  2. Select "Life Changes" from the drop down menu
  3. Select "Having or Adopting a Baby/Legal Guardianship" from the qualifying events include menu
  4. Enter the date the newborn was delivered or the date the adoption was final as the "Date of this Life Event"
  5. Click the "Enroll" button at the bottom right of the screen to begin the process
    1. Follow the prompts until you have received a confirmation number

4. If I have dental and vision insurance, am I required to enroll my child in these plans if I only need the medical coverage for him/her?
You are not required to enroll your child in benefits you do not need for them at this time. You may add dependents to these benefits during future open enrollment periods.

5. I missed the deadline to add my child to the insurance coverage. What can I do?
You may submit a benefit appeal request to have the addition of your child reviewed by the Appeals Committee after the 30-day deadline has passed. All committee decisions are final. Note that it may take up to 45 days to receive a decision.

6. Do I have to have a Social Security number before adding my child to the insurance coverage?
No, you do not have to have a Social Security number before adding your child to the insurance coverage. We realize that there will be some lag time between adding a dependent child and obtaining a government issued identification number. Contact the Employee Service Center at 615.343.7000 or for assistance in adding your new dependent without a Social Security number. All dependents over 6 months of age must have a Social Security number issued by the Social Security Administration. Dependent information for newborns can be updated in My VUMC Benefits upon receipt of the Social Security number.

7. What do I need to do to receive my disability pay while away from work?
Provided you are enrolled in the disability plan offered by VUMC and pre-existing conditions are not a factor, you may be eligible for partial income replacement while you are away from work. Contact Unum, VUMC's disability provider, at 1.800.836.6900 to begin your claim. Reference 410295 as the contract number and be prepared to provide the name, address and contact number for your medical care provider. It is your responsibility to initiate your disability claim.

8. What do I need to do to keep my health insurance while I'm on leave?
You may continue your health benefits while on leave. Your portion of the premium can continue to be deducted from your paycheck as long as your remain in a paid status. In the event your leave extends into an unpaid status, you will automatically be enrolled in direct billing through benefitexpress, the authorized benefit administrator for VUMC. You may also waive benefits while on leave. For details on waiving benefits, or other questions, contact the Employee Service Center.

Contact Information

For questions regarding leave of absence and benefits, contact the Employee Service Center.

For questions regarding direct billing, contact benefitexpress at or 1.844.489.3745.