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 agency or higher education employees and
- from your agency's or institution's benefits coordinator.
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 or change health insurance. If you don’t enroll in certain optional coverage within your first 31 days, you may be required to submit 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 HealthSelect of Texas® point-of-service plan, starting the first day of the month after the 60th day of employment.
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,
- want to change to the Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM plan or
- are a full-time employee and want to opt out of health coverage.
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 or opt out of health coverage 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.
Most new employees have a 60- to 90-day waiting period before their health coverage begins. However, if you are already enrolled in Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) health insurance when you start working, you might not have to wait. If you do not have a waiting period, you will have 31 days to make health coverage changes if you choose to do so. In most cases, those changes will begin the first day of the next month. However, if you transferred between entities that both participate in the GBP 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 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 and 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 or disability insurance within 31 days of your first day of employment, you will have to apply with EOI and you could be denied coverage.
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 are withdrawn from their monthly paychecks before tax. Contributions are 6% or 9.5%, depending on when the employee started work at a state agency, and 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 vested and 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 your State of Texas Retirement.
State of Texas Retirement provides a stable monthly annuity in retirement, but most retirees’ monthly annuities equal only about half their working salary. Most state agency employees also participate in federal Social Security, and ERS advises having personal retirement savings for even more financial security in retirement.
Texa$averSM 401(k) / 457 Program
In addition to the mandatory State of Texas 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 State of Texas Retirement annuity, for greater financial security when they stop working. In addition, if you choose a tax-deferred Texa$aver account, you can save money on income taxes while you're working.
If you work at a participating agency, you are automatically enrolled in a Texa$aver 401(k), contributing 1% of every paycheck to a target date fund. You can opt out of Texa$aver and stop your contribution at any time. You also can contribute more to your Texa$aver account, change how your Texa$aver account is invested or open a 457 account.
Learn more about Texa$aver.