Human Resources: Welcome

Trust Fund Employee Benefits

Health Insurance

Medical - Trust Fund employees whose duty location is Cambridge have a choice of two medical plans, a preferred provider organization (PPO) or a health maintenance organization (HMO). Employees in Hawaii and Arizona have the PPO. Please review the Medical and Dental Insurance summary on the Trust Fund Employee Benefits Book website for a summary description of each plan.

Dental - SAO offers a point of service dental plan, which means that the employee can decide whether to see a dentist in the national network or a dentist not in-network. If you see an in-network dentist, you will save money. The coinsurance percentage for in-network services is based on lower contracted rates rather than "reasonable and customary" fees. Please review the Medical and Dental Insurance summary for details.

Vision - SAO offers the Vision Service Plan which is a nationwide not-for-profit vision care company. Employees may choose an in-network provider for maximum savings on eye exams, prescription lenses and frames, and contact lenses. Discounts are available for out-of-network providers.

Biweekly premiums for medical and dental benefits will be deducted from your pay on a pretax basis, which will reduce your taxable (for Federal, state, and FICA) wages. You may opt out of this pretax treatment when you complete your online enrollment.

You have 60 days from your entrance on duty to enroll in health insurance (medical and/or dental). Coverage becomes effective on the first day of the pay period following the date that you complete your online enrollment with Secova.

Please review your leave and earnings statement to verify that your premium deductions are recorded accurately. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the SAO Benefits Office at 617-495-7371.

Life Insurance

Trust Fund employees are provided with Basic Life insurance equal to their salary rounded to the next higher thousand dollars. This benefit is provided at no cost to the employee. Optional coverage is available for purchase at higher levels of 1/2 of salary, 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x salary. However, amounts over 3x salary (the guaranteed issue) are subject to approval by the insurance carrier underwriter and completion of an evidence of insurability (EOI) questionnaire.

Further details about this plan and the Enrollment Kit are presented in the Trust Fund Employee Benefits summary under Life Insurance. As with many Trust Fund benefits, enrollment and designation of your beneficiaries is managed through the Secova online enrollment website.

Business Travel Accident Insurance

All employees are automatically covered for accidental death and dismemberment insurance while traveling on SAO business. Benefits are a function of your salary and range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $300,000.

Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment (VADD)

Employees may purchase additional amounts of AD&D coverage in $50,000 increments from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $500,000 (limited to 10x salary). Coverage types available are the following: employee only, employee plus spouse, employee plus children, and employee plus family. Please review the Trust Fund Benefits website (Voluntary Group Accident Insurance Plan) for more details. You may enroll in this plan at any time at the Secova online enrollment website.

Long Term Disability Insurance

To be eligible for long term disability coverage, Trust Fund employees must be serving under an appointment of 1 year or more with a regularly scheduled tour of duty of at least 40 hours per pay period. If eligible, you will be covered on your first day of employment. SAO pays the full cost of this insurance.

Coverage details are available on the Trust Fund Employee Benefits website (Disability Insurance).

Tax Deferred Annuity and Retirement Plans

All Smithsonian Trust Fund employees are eligible to make salary reduction contributions to a Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) Plan through payroll deduction. Your salary reduction contributions may begin on the first day of the pay period following the date that your completed, signed Salary Reduction Agreement is received in the SAO Benefits Office. Initially, your salary reduction contributions will be directed to the TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Fund that is closest to the year you are expected to retire (assuming age 65). You will have the opportunity to change investment options if you choose.

You can make salary reduction contributions as a percentage of your base salary or as a specific dollar amount. The Internal Revenue Code limits the amount you may contribute each calendar year. Please refer to the Trust Fund Employee Benefits Handbook, (Tax-Deferred Annuity) webpage for this year’s details. If you exceed these limits, Smithsonian Institution will be required to refund the excess to you on an after-tax basis.

Full- or part-time Trust Fund employees who meet eligibility requirements can participate in the Smithsonian Institution Defined Contribution Retirement Plan and receive employer contributions. Refer to Retirement on the HR website for specific eligibility criteria for this Plan. Employer contributions are not automatic – you must apply for this benefit by completing an enrollment application and designate your beneficiary for those funds, as well as making your investment choices. Employer contributions will be invested in a Retirement Annuity contract. When you become eligible to receive employer contributions, SAO will contribute an amount equal to 12% of your regular salary up to the Social Security wage base, plus 17% of your regular salary which is in excess of the Social Security wage base for the year of participation.

TIAA-CREF provides a family of investment funds that offer options ranging from guaranteed and real estate accounts to equities and bond accounts. You should consider your investment objectives and your risk tolerance carefully before choosing your investment funds. The TIAA-CREF Counseling Center (1-800-842-2776) can help you with investment fund questions you may have. Or, check out TIAA-CREF’s website.

Flexible Spending Accounts

The Smithsonian's Trust Fund Flexible Spending Account program allows you to set aside a portion of your pay each pay period for certain health and/or dependent care expenses with pretax dollars. This pretax treatment reduces your taxable income (Federal, state, and FICA taxes). Please note the following guidelines:

  • Health Care FSA maximum allotment is $2,550 annually, with a minimum annual allotment of $100.
  • Dependent Care FSA maximum allotment is $5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing a separate income tax return) annually, with a minimum annual allotment of $100.

A new election must be made each plan year during open enrollment, as elections do not carry over from one year to the next.

To be eligible, you must be a Trust Fund employee and have an official tour of duty of at least 40 hours per pay period and be serving on an indefinite appointment or a temporary appointment of at least 90 days. Intermittent employees and part-time employees working less than 40 hours per pay period are not eligible to participate.

Eligible new employees may enroll in one or both of these options within 60 days of their date of employment by completing your enrollment online with Secova.

For information, refer to Flexible Spending Accounts.

Online Enrollment

Beginning on January 1, 2014, new Smithsonian employees will be able to enroll online through a new online benefits enrollment system called iElect. This enrollment tool applies to all new enrollments, changes, and waivers for your medical, dental, vision and flexible spending accounts. You may also elect Optional Life Insurance coverage and initiate evidence of insurability (EOI), as well as designate your beneficiaries for life insurance at this site.

You will be provided the link to this website at your orientation meeting. You will have 60 days to enroll from your date of hire. If you need assistance with the enrollment process, please don't hesitate to contact the SAO Benefits Office.


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