Benefits Open Enrollment: What's New for Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)

What's New In 2024

Updates to Benefits

Aetna Dental PPO Maximums

Annual maximums will increase for dental services and new lifetime maximums will increase for orthodontia. Learn more.

Important Reminders

Review Beneficiaries

Update your beneficiary information for life insurance (CUBES) and retirement plans (TIAA/Vanguard).

Qualified Life Status Change

You can update benefits elections on CUBES if you experience a Qualified Life Status Change event such as marriage or divorce, or birth or adoption of a child. You have 31 days from the eligible event to make updates. Learn More.

Pursue Your Retirement Goals

Retirement education is available all year. TIAA and Vanguard counselors provide one-on-one consultations, and Columbia also hosts regular retirement planning workshops focused on financial well-being. For dates and times, visit HR Events.

Learn About Tax Savings Accounts

All tax savings accounts can save you money by setting aside pre-tax dollars from your paycheck to pay for expenses you will incur throughout the year. These include a Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP), Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HC FSA) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DC FSA). Learn More.

2024 Tax Savings Accounts

* IRS limits are subject to change.

Columbia University is committed to sponsoring health care benefits that meet the needs of you and your dependents. The changes you make when you enroll will go into effect from January 1 through December 31, 2024, or the last day of the month you transition to a status that is ineligible for coverage.

Compare Plans & Evaluate Costs

Compare Medical Plans

Columbia University offers the UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus 80 and Choice In-Network medical plans to Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) employees and their families. Each plan includes vision and prescription drug coverage.

View the 2024 Medical Plan Comparison Chart.

Choice Plus 80

Preventive care is covered at 100%. Other than preventive care and copays, for most in-network medical services you must meet an annual deductible of $400 per member before the Plan pays the coinsurance of 80% of the negotiated fee; you are responsible for the remaining 20% of the coinsurance. After you reach the in-network out-of-pocket maximum of $3,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a family, the Choice Plus 80 plan pays 100% of covered in-network medical charges and prescription drug copays for the remainder of the calendar year.

Choice In-Network

Preventive care is covered at 100%. The Plan has a $400 deductible for all in-network services. Copays apply for certain services and in some cases are dependent on where the service is received. For example, inpatient hospital services require a $500 per admission copay; outpatient hospital services, including lab and radiology, require a $150 copay. In addition, after you reach the in-network out-of-pocket maximum of $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family, the Choice In-Network plan pays 100% of covered medical charges for the remainder of the calendar year. Out-of-network services are not covered.

Compare Vision Plans

All Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) employees and their covered dependents enrolled in any of the University’s medical plans are covered by a basic vision benefit through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). This embedded plan provides coverage for eye exams, corrective lenses, frames and contact lenses.

Optional Vision Plan
For enhanced vision benefits, TWU employees can elect to purchase optional UHC vision coverage in place of the basic vision coverage for themselves and their covered dependents. You do not have to be enrolled in a medical plan to purchase this optional coverage. 

Medical Costs

Contributions are the amount you pay toward the cost of medical (includes prescription drugs and basic vision), dental, and optional vision coverage through pre-tax payroll deductions.

2024 Monthly Medical Contributions for TWU

Your pre-tax contributions are based on the plan you select, which dependents you cover, and your Annual Benefits Salary, calculated as of July 1. Annual Benefits Salary is the greater of (a) your base salary or (b) your prior 12 months’ compensation from the University as of June 30 each year, including certain approved additional and private practice compensation, excluding any housing allowance.

Dental & Optional Vision Costs

Vision Costs

Basic vision coverage is included in medical costs. All TWU employees and their covered dependents who participate in Columbia’s medical plan are covered by a basic vision benefit. Learn more.

2024 Monthly Optional UHC Vision Contributions

Dental Costs

TWU employees at Columbia University may choose from three dental plans: EmblemHealth Dental Plan, Aetna Columbia Dental Plan (PPO) or the Aetna Dental Maintenance Organization (DMO). Learn more.

2024 Monthly Dental Contributions for EmblemHealth

2024 Monthly Dental Contributions for Aetna

Enrollment Information


Columbia Benefits Service Center


[email protected]

Open Enrollment Hours:

Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What Happens If I Don't Enroll

You will no longer have coverage for:

  • Healthcare FSA
  • Dependent Care FSA

You will also be ineligible to newly enroll in the following Voluntary Benefits:

  • Accident Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Hospital Indemnity Insurance
  • Identity Theft Protection
  • MetLife Legal Services
  • Universal Life with long-term care insurance

You will be automatically re-enrolled in your current year benefits:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Optional Vision
  • Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP)
  • Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits

How to Enroll in Benefits

The Columbia University Benefits Enrollment System (CUBES) gives you secure access to personalized information about your benefits. CUBES is available 24/7 to enroll online anytime from anywhere during the annual benefits Open Enrollment period.

  1. Go CUBES to Enroll
  2. Log in with your UNI and password
  3. Confirm access using multifactor authentication (DUO).

    Note: You must enroll in your 2024 benefits by November 17, 2023.

    Remember: The choices you make during Open Enrollment will stay in effect all year—unless you experience a Qualified Life Status Change

  4. Select "Get Started" to make your elections.
  5. Be sure to "Checkout" in order to save and submit your elections.


The Benefits Brochure and Open Enrollment website summarize changes to the benefits programs that are available to benefits-eligible employees of Columbia University. This communication is intended to be a Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) to the Medical Plans and other benefits programs. It does not include important information about exclusions and limitations.

For additional details of benefits coverage, eligibility, limitations and exclusions, you must refer to the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). You may also want to request to receive a paper copy of an SPD, SBC or SMM by contacting the Columbia Benefits Service Center at 212-851-7000.

As a requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Columbia University must provide a SBC to all participants and their dependents. The SBC is designed to provide you with an easy-to-understand summary about a health plan’s benefits and coverage and to help you better understand and evaluate your health insurance choices. You are entitled to receive these Plan documents under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). You also have other important rights and protections under ERISA, which are explained in more detail in the SPDs.

If there are any discrepancies between the information in the Brochure publication, website, or verbal representations and the Plan documents, the Plan documents will always govern. Columbia University reserves the right to change or terminate these benefits Plans at any time. The Brochure publication and website are in no way intended to imply a contract of employment. The Columbia University Group Benefit Plan (the “Plan”) complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.


Your Benefits

Columbia University offers a range of benefits to help you and your dependents stay healthy, build long-term financial security, meet educational and professional goals, and more. Explore your options for health coverage, tax savings, life insurance, and voluntary benefits.