Postdoc Benefits

Postdoc Health Insurance & Retirement Benefits

UC Postdoctoral Scholars Benefits Plan (PSBP) Insurance

As a condition of appointment, postdocs must have adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of their appointment. The UC Postdoctoral Scholars Benefits Plans (PSBP) offers health and welfare packages through Gallagher Benefit Services (formerly known as Garnett-Powers Associates). PSBP works similarly to employer-sponsored health insurance, where you contribute a nominal monthly payment towards the insurance premium, and the university pays the rest. You can choose plans to cover medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as short and long-term disability insurance. PSBP also offers mental health, pharmacy, chiropractic and wellness benefits. Your department will automatically pay for and enroll you in life, accidental death, and disability insurance. Keep in mind that costs vary depending on what plan you choose and whether you elect coverage for a spouse and/or children. Peruse the PSBP Plans & Rates page for an overview of each plan’s costs and benefits.

Make sure you enroll in coverage within thirty-one days of your start date to avoid having your coverage delayed. If you enroll before starting your appointment, the plan will begin on your first day of work. If you wish to opt out of PSBP, you must complete and submit the Postdoctoral Scholar Health Benefits Opt Out Form.

For international postdocs, PSBP insurance satisfies U.S. visa requirements, including medical evacuation and repatriation benefits. If you plan to opt out of PSBP and use an alternative health insurance plan, please make sure it meets the Department of State requirements

For a comprehensive look into your benefit plans, watch the Postdoc Benefits Enrollment Video here. You may also review the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan Guide here as well.

Childcare Reimbursement & Dependent Care Programs

As of October 1, 2023, the new Postdoc (PX) Collective Bargaining Agreement, ratified on December 9, 2022, establishes Childcare Reimbursement and Dependent Care Programs. As we work on implementing this new benefit and process, it is possible that changes and updates may be needed.  Your union leadership will be advised of those as they arise. In the meantime, if you have any questions, we recommend you contact your union

Childcare Reimbursement Program

Childcare Reimbursement Program

  • Expenses must be incurred October 1, 2023 or after to be eligible
  • Applicable to children aged 12 and under
  • Starting at $2500 per calendar year (January 1- December 31). The $2500 allotment is the combined maximum for both the Professional Travel Childcare Expense Program and the Childcare Reimbursement (not $2500 for each program)
  • For Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellows and Paid Directs:
    • If external grant or fellowship provides the benefit but it is less than the contractual amount, the University will supplement

Professional Travel Childcare Expense Program

Professional Travel Childcare Expense Program

  • Expenses must be incurred October 1, 2023 or after to be eligible
  • The $2500 allotment is the combined maximum for both the Professional Travel Childcare Expense Program and the Childcare Reimbursement (not $2500 for each program)
  • Can be used for the following while on University-approved travel: 
    • Extra childcare while away on approved travel 
    • On-site childcare while on approved travel 
    • Transportation of child and/or caregiver to approved travel location 
    • Food and lodging, if needed, for child and/or caregiver
    • Shipping of breastmilk home for child while on approved travel 

Childcare Reimbursement Program Application Process

Postdoctoral Scholars seeking to avail themselves of the benefit must complete the UBEN 255 Form which can be found at  https://hr.berkeley.edu/labor/forms-letters under the Postdoctoral Scholar Unit (PX) drop-down menu under “Forms.” The PX Child Care Reimbursement Factsheet can also be found at https://hr.berkeley.edu/labor/forms-letters under the Postdoctoral Scholar Unit (PX) drop-down menu under “Forms.”

The completed UBEN 255 Form along with the supporting receipts/documentation can be submitted to UCB HR’s Service Hub system at https://berkeley.service-now.com/HRServiceHub for non-ERSO regions and for the ERSO region to ERSO HR at ersohrops@erso.berkeley.edu for processing. The ERSO regions are as follows:  College of Engineering, College of Environmental Design, Computing, Data Science & Society, Mathematical & Physical Sciences Division.  A copy of the UBEN 255 Form should also be submitted to your hiring department personnel office.

Childcare Reimbursement Program Application Deadlines

Dates Expenses Incurred Submission Deadline Date
October 1 - December 31 Submit no later than January 31
January 1 - March 31 Submit no later than April 30
April 1 - June 30 Submit no later than July 31
July 1 - September 30 Submit no later than October 31

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Program (DepCare)

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Program (DepCare) 

DepCare is a federal program which allows employees to place funds in a pre-tax account for the purposes of paying childcare costs as determined by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations and documented in the University’s plan documents. 

Effective: January 1, 2023 (must enroll during PIE or Open Enrollment) 

Eligibility: Postdoctoral Scholar-Employees (3252, 3255, 3256) with at least 50% time appointment. Find out your title code here.

Benefit: Eligible postdoc may contribute up to $5,000 per calendar year.  

Information: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/compensation-and-benefits/other-benefits/flexible-spending-accounts/depcare-fsa.html 

HMO? PPO? What do all these letters mean and what plan should I choose?

Choosing the right medical plan depends on the unique needs of you and your family. PSBP offers you the choice between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) model. 

Under the HMO model, you and your enrolling family members will choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who coordinates your healthcare needs. If you are in need of treatment from a specialist or in need of an in-patient or out-patient procedure, you must obtain a referral from the PCP prior to any type of consultation or treatment. If the referral is not obtained, no benefits will be paid. HMO plans usually have lower premiums.

The PPO plan offers much more flexibility regarding your choice of provider but has higher premiums and deductibles. With a PPO plan, you have the ability to seek care from a specialist without obtaining a referral from a Primary Care Physician. For more details, visit the Gallagher Benefits Overview Page.

Still have questions. Who should I talk to?

If you need someone to help walk you through choosing insurance coverage, please reach out to one of the people below. 

Gallagher Benefit Services: Antonio Kontokanis

Account Manager Phone: (800) 254-1758 Email: antonio_kontokanis@ajg.com

UC Berkeley Benefit Inquires: Janet Suko

Benefits Program Coordinator Phone: (510) 219-9287 Email: jsuko@berkeley.edu