New Employee Benefits Information
Welcome to State of Texas employment – and to the valuable benefits managed by the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS). ERS offers competitive benefits to enhance the lives of its members. These benefits are an important part of your overall compensation package. They can help you and your family achieve better health and greater financial security. We hope you will use them to your fullest advantage.
In addition to the information below, you can find more details about your State of Texas benefits throughout this website; in the New Employees Benefits Guide for state agency employees, or the guide for employees of higher education institutions and agencies that don’t participate in the ERS retirement; and from your benefits coordinator or human resources professional.
Timing is everything!
As a new employee with a health coverage waiting period you have 31 days to enroll in optional benefits and 60 days to enroll in health insurance. If you don’t enroll in certain coverage within your first 31 days, you may be required to submit proof of good health, called evidence of insurability (EOI.) Don’t miss your opportunity to enroll in these important benefits.
Eligible full-time employees of state agencies and higher education institutions (except the University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems) are automatically enrolled in the HealthSelectSM of Texas point-of-service plan, starting the first day of the month after the 60th day of employment. Review your health plan options.
You must take action within your first 60 days of employment if you:
- are a part-time employee and want to enroll in health coverage,
- want to enroll your eligible dependents in health coverage and/or
- want to change to the Consumer Directed HealthSelect plan or, if you live or work in a covered county, to a regional health maintenance organization (HMO).
If you don’t enroll your dependents or don’t enroll yourself as a part-time employee, or if you don’t change health plans within your first 60 days of employment, you will have to wait for Summer Enrollment or a qualifying life event (QLE) to take these actions.
If you do not have a waiting period, you will have 31 days to make health coverage changes if you choose to do so. Those changes will begin the first day of the next month. However, if you transferred as an employee from one GBP entity to another with no break in service, start your job on the first day of the month and change your health coverage that day, the change takes place immediately.
Basic Term Life Insurance and Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
Every employee who enrolls in a GBP health plan qualifies for Basic Term Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance. Each policy is worth $5,000. This coverage is not available to family members. The state pays 100% of the Basic Term Life and AD&D Insurance for eligible full-time employees.
ERS offers a number of optional benefits to supplement your health and Basic Term Life Insurance coverage. Review your optional benefits. You must enroll in these benefits within 31 days of your first day of employment, or wait for Summer Enrollment or a qualifying life event (QLE).
IMPORTANT: If you want to enroll in Optional Term Life Insurance at Election 1 or 2, Dependent Term Life Insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance you should consider enrolling during your first 31 days of employment, when you do not have to provide evidence of insurability (EOI). EOI is always required for Optional Term Life Insurance at Election 3 or 4. If you do not enroll in Optional Term Life Insurance, Dependent Life Insurance, short-term or long-term disability insurance within 31 days of your first day of employment, you will have to apply with EOI and you could be denied coverage.
Insurance plans are part of the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP), managed by ERS.
- Which employees are eligible to enroll in GBP plans?
- Which family members are eligible to participate in GBP plans?
ERS manages a defined-benefit retirement plan for employees of State of Texas agencies. Eligible employees begin contributing to the ERS Retirement Trust Fund on their first day of employment. Eligible employees’ retirement contributions, currently 9.5% of salary, are withdrawn from their monthly paychecks before tax. Contributions begin with the first paycheck. The State of Texas and agency employers also contribute to Trust Fund on behalf of eligible employees – currently a total of 10% of each employee’s salary. When you are eligible to retire, you will get a monthly payment from ERS for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. Learn more about retirement eligibility and how your retirement benefits are calculated.
Texa$aver 401(k) / 457 Program
In addition to the mandatory ERS retirement program, eligible employees can contribute to a Texa$aver 401(k) and/or 457 retirement savings account. Texa$aver offers a variety of investment options at lower-than-average fees to help employees add to their ERS retirement income, for greater financial security when they stop working. Learn about the three-legged stool of retirement income. If you choose a tax-deferred Texa$aver account, you also can save money on income taxes.
If you work at a participating agency, you are automatically enrolled in a Texa$aver 401(k), contributing 1% of every paycheck to a Wells Fargo Target Date Fund. You can opt out of Texa$aver and stop your contribution at any time. You also can choose to contribute more to your Texa$aver account, change how your Texa$aver account is invested or open a 457 account.