Human Resources

Benefits You Can Change Anytime

Supplemental Life Insurance Changes

In addition to the Basic Life Insurance provided by WHOI, employees may purchase additional Supplemental Life Insurance for themselves and their eligible dependents upon initial eligibility or if you experience a Qualified Life Event provided that you compelte the enrollment process and notify within 31 days of said event. For more information on Qualified Life Events and the enrollment process, please visit the Qualifed Life Events page.

You may Waive or Decrease your Supplemental Life Insurance for you or your eligible dependents at any time. However, if you choose to Waive or Decrease your Supplemental Life Insurance and subsequently choose to enroll in one of these benefits as a result of a Qualified Life Event or Open Enrollment, you will be required to complete the Evidence of Insurability (EOI) process and be approved by the insurance carrier before coverage will be in effect.

Supplemental Employee Life Insurance*
You may purchase additional employee supplemental life insurance for 1, 2, 3 or 4 times your annual salary, up to a maximum of $500,000. The cost of coverage is based on your age.

Spouse / Domestic Partner Life Insurance*
You may select coverage for your spouse or domestic partner in units of $10,000 to a maximum benefit of $250,000. The cost of coverage is based on your spouse's age.

Child Life Insurance*
You may purchase life insurance for your eligible dependent children for an amount of $5,000 or $10,000. One low premium will insure all your eligible dependent children, regardless of the number of children you have.

Health Savings Account (HSA) Changes

You may make changes to your HSA contribution at any time.  Employees may make their own voluntary pre-tax contributions to their HSA account. Unlike an FSA account, the IRS allows for contributions to an HSA at any time during the year, including mid-year changes.

To make changes to your HSA, you must complete a HSA Change form and return it to  Your change will be effective on the first administratively possible pay period. 

HSA: Contribution Limits
Annual contributions to an HSA are limited by the IRS each year. For 2018, the maximum amount of HSA contributions for an employee enrolled in indvidual coverage is $3,450 and $6,900 for those enrolled in family coverage. Remember, family coverage includes employee + spouse and employee + child(ren) coverage. The limits take into account the combined employer and employee contributions.  If you make contributions directly to your HSA, outside of the WHOI payroll process, we cannot monitor your limits and your WHOI contribution may end. 

The IRS also allows for an additional $1,000 annual contribution for employees age 55 or older. 

HSA:  Excess Contributions
In addition to the annual limits, the IRS also has specific rules for HSA contributions during the year in that they cannot exceed the amount of months that the employee is covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or not enrolled in Medicare.  This would only impact someone who ends or enrolls in coverage in the Blue Care Elect Saver plan mid-year, including those that choose to enroll in Medicare Part A beginning at age 65.

EXAMPLE:  An employee under age 55 has individual coverage in the HDHP-HSA plan.  The employee either ends employment or changes status and loses eligibility for coverage in April 2018.  In this example, the IRS would only allow pro-rated HSA contributions for 4 months (Jan - April).  Taking the annual individual contribution limit for 2018 of $3,450, this employee would only be allowed to have up to $862.50 in HSA contributions, including any contributions made by WHOI.  Any contributions in excess of that amount would need to be distributed from the HSA account and would be considered as taxable income to the employee.

HSA: Age Restrictions
Per IRS regulations, employees age 65 or older can only participate in a Health Savings Account if they are not enrolled in Medicare. Employees in this age category who wish to enroll in the Blue Care Elect Saver plan should verify their Medicare enrollment status with the Social Security office.

HSA: Taxation
HSA contributions (both employer and employee) are tax-free as long as they are used for eligible expenses. Eligible expenses are defined by the IRS under Code Section 213(d). For a detailed explanation and listing of eligible expenses, please review the IRS publication at:

HSA: Ownership/Portability
HSA contributions are fully owned by the employee. Unused HSA dollars are not forfeited like an FSA, and are completely portable if you end employment with/or retire from the Institution.

Defined Contribution Retirement Plan (403(b) Plan) Contribution Changes

Under the Institution's Defined Contribution 403(b) Retirement Plan with Principal, any eligible employee including Casual employees, can participate in this Plan by making their own voluntary contributions.  

If you are already saving for retirement, you can elect to increase or decrease your contribution anytime (subject to IRS limits). You may contribute 1% to 80% of your Employee Eligible Compensation up to the annual dollar limits set by the IRS annually.  

Year Contribution Limit

Catch-Up Contribution Limit

(Employees age 50 or over by 12/31)

2018 $18,500 $6,000
2017 $18,000 $6,000

To change or setup your contribution amount for your 403(b) account, you must do so online through your account with Principal.

*These benefits are paid through payroll deductions on an after-tax basis.  These benefits are based on age and your annual salary and are subject to change with changes in age or annual salary.

Group Auto and Home Insurance

This is a reminder that the Institution offers a group insurance discount program through Liberty Mutual. Any employee or retiree of WHOI is eligible to participate. Anytime that you want your personal insurance to be reviewed for cost or coverage, contact Liberty Mutual at (800) 368-6424.

Last updated: January 29, 2018