Changing Your Benefits

Outside of Open Enrollment, certain life events, such as marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, change in spouse insurance, may allow you to make specific benefits changes related to the event. Be sure to review Life Events for important rules and deadlines you must meet in order to change your benefits due to a qualified family status change. Changes are usually effective as of the event date but may be reflected in your paycheck, per the payroll processing calendar deadlines.

Making Changes

All changes are made on the BenefitFocus site. Access BenefitFocus via their App or

  1. Navigate to the "Employee" Tab and
  2. look to the right side of the screen to find "Enroll in Benefits".
  3. You will then select the "Enroll Now" button.
  4. You will sign in with the same log in as

If you do not request a change in coverage within 30 days of a qualifying event, you must wait until the next Open Enrollment period to make changes.

Changes require supporting documentation that specifically supports the requested change.

Verification of Eligibility Documentation for your Dependents [PDF]

Changes Typically Requested and Instructions

  • My Spouse or Dependent Gained or Lost of Coverage Expand dropdown
    1. Access BenefitFocus (see above)
    2. Once in BenefitFocus Select "Edit your benefits >"
    3. Enter your life event and the date that the life event occurs. You cannot enter an event before it happens.
    4. Once you get to the "You may want to update these benefits", click "Show Plan Details"
    5. Under Plan Details, you will see an edit pencil beside the "Eastern Michigan Health Plan Affidavit for Spouses"
      Answer the spousal questions
      1. Do you have a spouse?
      2. Are you and your spouse both employed by EMU?
      3. Does your spouse have access to subsidized Medical and/or Dental coverage through her/her employer?
      4. Select "Next"
    6. You will Add or Drop the dependent using "Covered Person" functionality
    7. Once added, select "Pick Another Plan"
    8. Select the plan that you would like.
    9. Make sure you "Save".
    10. You will come back to the Plan Summary page.
    11. Follow the same steps for Dental if you plan on adding your new spouse there as well.
    12. In addition, the system will prompt you during the process to upload supporting documents.
      • If your spouse has lost coverage a letter from his/her previous employer must be provided that shows what previous coverage (i.e. Med plan, dental),  who was covered, and when it ended. (COBRA letter will work also.)
      • AND if you spouse has not previously had coverage through you at EMU, your Marriage Certificate is required.
  • We Had a Baby Expand dropdown


    1. Access BenefitFocus (see above)
    2. Once in BenefitFocus Select "Edit your benefits >"
    3. Enter your life event and the date that the life event occurs. You cannot enter an event before it happens.
    4. Click into the benefits you would like to add your baby (medical, dental, etc.).
    5. The system will prompt you to upload the supporting document.
      • Verification/Proof of Birth from the hospital is acceptable.
    6. Please allow approximately a week for processing. The baby MUST be added within 30 days of birth or you will forfeit the right to add.
  • Benefits You Can Change Any Time Expand dropdown

    The TIAA Retirement Savings Plans and Beneficiaries for your Life Insurance are not part of Open Enrollment and you may enroll, view or make changes at anytime. You will make these changes on the BenefitFocus website.   

    1. On the screen that says Welcome to the EMU Benefits Enrollment Portal, click on ‚ô•Benefits on the left side menu list.
    2. You will see a summary page with all benefits options listed.
    3. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
    4. 403b/457b are the last items on the page.
    5. Click Edit contribution to change the amount.
    6. Once you have made your change, click next, review your change and click save at the bottom of the page.
    7. Once you are back to the summary page, scroll down and click Save changes.
    8. Your changes will be effective for the next available paycheck. Payroll has early cut off dates; payday is the deadline for the next payday.

    To compare 403b vs 457b plans.

    Plan-Specific Advantages

    403(b)TIAA Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA)

    • EMU contributions and EMU match go into the 403b Plan Option
    • The EMU match requires you to contribute a percentage (not a dollar amount)

    457(b)TIAA Deferred Compensation

    This plan is an additional form of retirement savings for faculty and staff and offers you the option to contribute

    • pre-tax employee contributions election or
    • post-tax ROTH employee contributions
    • The combined total of both pre and post tax ROTH cannot exceed IRS limits

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