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How To Maximize Your Baylor University Benefits Package

How To Maximize Your Baylor University Benefits Package

July 27, 2018
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Baylor University employees receive a variety of benefits including retirement, healthcare, and life insurance to name a few. The benefits package is competitive and lucrative for employees.  Here at ClearVista Financial, we help Baylor faculty and staff make the most of their benefits package.

Key Benefits Of Baylor’s Benefits Package

Here are the highlights of benefits that the university offers their employees: (1)

  1. Retirement Savings Plans: Baylor University Retirement Income Plan - 403(b), Baylor University Salary Deferral Plan- 457(b)
  2. Health Insurance: PPO Blue Choice Plan, High Deductible Health Plan + Health Savings Account(HDHP + HSA)
  3. Flexible Spending Account (FSA): Unreimbursed health/dental (URM), Dependent Day Care Expenses (DDC)
  4. Prescription Coverage
  5. Dental: Cigna PPO
  6. Vision: EyeMed
  7. Insurance: Long Term Disability, Basic Term Life Insurance, Supplemental Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), Long Term Care
  8. Other Benefits: Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Adoption Assistance Program, AFLAC, Humana Cancer

1. Retirement Savings Plans

Baylor University Retirement Income Plan - 403(b)

The university provides eligible participants a defined contribution equal to 10.8% of the participant’s total pay. In addition, eligible participants may make voluntary contributions into the plan on either a pre-tax or after-tax basis. You may invest your 403(b) with GuideStone Financial Resources, Vanguard, or TIAA.

Baylor University Salary Deferral Plan- 457(b)

The 457(b) Salary Deferral Plan allows faculty and staff to make pre-tax income deferrals. These tax-deferred dollars may be invested with GuideStone Financial Resources.

2. Health Insurance

PPO Blue Choice Plan

This plan has higher premiums with a higher level of benefit by offering office visit and prescription copays with a lower annual deductible.  Eligible preventive services, such as routine physicals and well‐woman exams, are covered at 100%. Some preventive care prescriptions will also be covered at 100%. Using the PPO Blue Choice plan allows enrollment in the healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

High Deductible Health Plan + Health Savings Account (HDHP + HSA)

This is a qualified high deductible medical plan. For the HDHP + HSA, the premium is lower than the PPO Blue Choice medical plan. The lower premium comes with the ability to contribute to a Health Savings Account.  The HDHP provides the same health care provider network as the PPO plan. To encourage a healthy lifestyle and active management of health, eligible preventive services, such as routine physicals and well‐woman exams, are covered at 100%. Some preventive care prescriptions and specific generic maintenance prescriptions are also covered at 100%. All other services (including prescription drugs) are subject to the deductible before the plan pays a portion of the cost.

3. Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

These accounts allow you to set money aside to use to reimburse yourself for health care and dependent day care expenses incurred during the plan year. You never pay federal income or Social Security taxes on this money. When you have eligible medical expenses, you can pay yourself back from your accounts with before-tax dollars.

Unreimbursed Health/Dental Spending Account (URM FSA)

For 2018,you may contribute a maximum of $2,650 per year pre-tax to pay for medical, dental, vision, and hearing care expenses. The URM FSA is not available to participants enrolled in the HDHP + HSA health plan.

Dependent Day Care Spending Account (DDC FSA)

You may contribute a maximum of $5000 per year pre-tax if married. You can use this account to pay for childcare expenses that are necessary for you and your spouse to work.  

4. Prescription Coverage

The benefit plan is administered by CVS/Caremark, a leading national provider of prescription drug benefit management programs and services. It is designed to assist members in obtaining prescription drugs in a cost-effective manner. You are automatically enrolled once you enroll in one of the medical plans.  Both medical plans include Affordable Care Act (ACA) approved preventive care prescriptions covered at 100%.

5. Dental

Cigna PPO

The dental plan is a managed care plan designed to provide dental coverage through a network of dentist providers. The university pays a large portion of the premiums which makes the insurance more affordable for families.

6. Vision


This standard voluntary vision plan for eligible faculty and staff saves money on eye exams, eyeglasses, and contacts. Premiums are paid pre-tax by the employee.

7. Insurance

Long Term Disability

This insurance is a form of income protection that provides a portion of the member’s salary in the event of a disabling illness or injury. This benefit is provided by Baylor University.

Basic Term Life Insurance

Baylor University provides Basic Term Life Insurance for eligible full‐time faculty, staff and eligible dependents. The dollar amount depends on the employee’s salary and has a maximum benefit of $50,000.00.  The Basic Term Life Insurance for a spouse and eligible dependent children is $2,000.00.

Supplemental Term Life

The Dearborn National Life insurance company offers guaranteed enrollment without evidence of insurability.  The employee must be enrolled to include their spouse and dependent children.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

This is extra insurance in case you die in an accident or lose part of your body such as a limb. The monthly premiums are paid pre‐tax.   

Long-Term Care

This insurance covers costs associated with healthcare where you need help with performing daily basic activities independently such as bathing, dressing, eating, etc., or if there was severe cognitive impairment from a condition such as Alzheimer's disease. Long-term Care insurance requires an application and evidence of insurability. The monthly premiums are made on an after‐tax basis.   

8. Other Benefits

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The program features assistance with counseling, family resources such as childcare, legal connections, financial assistance, and many other work-life balance resources.

Adoption Assistance Program

This program is available to full‐time faculty and staff and helps defray expenses associated with the adoption process.


These are additional insurance policies Baylor employees may purchase through AFLAC: Accident Indemnity Advantage, Cancer/Specified‐Disease, Specified Health Event, and Short‐Term Disability.

Humana Cancer

Premiums can be paid on a monthly pre-tax basis and cover certain expenses if you get cancer or other specified diseases.

Gaining Confidence In Your Baylor Benefits

Whether you just started working or you’re getting ready for retirement, you will want to feel confident that you are maximizing your benefits offered to you. Here are several ways you can work to accomplish this.

1. Start With A Solid Foundation

Review your insurance options carefully and decide how much you truly need.  Are you buying enough life insurance to protect your family in case something were to happen to you? What if you became disabled? You don’t want to have that happen, but you’d be glad at that time if you purchased the disability insurance. Which retirement investments make the most sense for you and your long-term goals?

2. Develop a Plan

You should think of what you want your long-term picture to be. Baylor provides excellent benefits to its employees. If you are seeking an early retirement, you need to make sure your actions will get you there. You should be investing heavily in your Baylor retirement accounts and likely other places as well.  

3. Avoid High-Cost Investments

If you are investing in one of the retirement plans, you should take a few minutes to review all your options. You will want to reduce the fees paid in your accounts. Many people don’t realize they are paying fees in their employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as administration fees, expense charges, or investment management fees. You can look at two similar funds and see that one may have a lot lower built-in expenses. Reducing fees is one way to potentially increase your retirement nest egg.

4. Maintain Proper Asset Allocation

Your retirement portfolio should align with your comfort with risk as well as factor in when you will need to start taking money out. Your allocations should be reviewed at least annually to ensure your portfolio is not too safe or too risky. This is a proactive measure which can reduce risk and increase returns over time. This is especially important as you approach retirement.

5. Get Educated

Knowledge is essential for making informed decisions. Get a clear view of the benefits available to you and speak with an advisor to evaluate how you can maximize them for your financial future and retirement.

If you have questions about your Baylor retirement accounts or have yet to develop your exit strategy, contact my office for a complimentary review. We can discuss what you’re currently doing, what changes may need to be made, and how to structure your exit strategy based on your retirement goals. To get started, call 800-491-4508 or email me at

About Mark

Mark Trice is an independent financial advisor with nearly a decade of experience in the industry. As the founder of ClearVista Financial, his mission is to help people find financial balance in their lives and to spend life well. Along with providing financial planning and retirement planning to pre-retirees and 401(k) plan participants, he is also an educator. He currently holds the designation of a Certified Financial Educator® through the Heartland Institute of Financial Education. Mark has offices in Austin, Brownwood, Temple, Houston, and Waco, Texas. Along with serving clients in Texas, he also works with individuals in California, Colorado, West Virginia and Virginia. To learn more, visit or connect with Mark on LinkedIn.