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Health Insurance for NRSA Postdoctoral Fellows


Because the IRS defines NRSA Fellows as trainees and there are limitations on the benefits provided that result in a tax impact to NRSA funding, NRSA Postdoctoral Fellows (those primarily supported by T32 or F32 training grants) receive most of their benefits through the Postdoctoral Insurance Plan for NRSA Fellows in cooperation with Gallagher Benefit Services.

Medical Plan

NRSA Fellows are provided with the Aetna Open Access POS medical plan. For more details, review the medical plan here.

Atena Dental Plan

NRSA Fellows can choose from two dental options: The Aetna DMO plan or the Aetna PPO plan. For details, review the dental plan options and current rates here.

Atena Vision Plans

NRSA Fellows are provided with the Aetna PPO Vision. For details, review the dental plan options and current rates here.

Fertility Benefit

This benefit is included in the Postdoctoral Insurance Plan for NRSA Fellows. The cost of this service is based on the type of service and where it is performed. Coverage includes artificial insemination and ovulation induction limited to six courses of treatment per member lifetime. The lifetime maximum applies to all procedures covered by any of our plans except where prohibited by law.

To learn more about the fertility benefit provided by the Postdoctoral Insurance Plan for NRSA Fellows, please visit the Gallagher Benefit Services page and click on “Documents Library”, click on Medical
Insurance Plan POS Plan Benefit Summary, then scroll down to “Family Planning”.

Family Health Coverage

If the NRSA Fellow elects family coverage, those eligible family members may also be participants in the plan. To learn more about coverage and who is considered an eligible family member, please visit the plan website.

No Health Insurance

If NRSA Fellows elect to waive health insurance coverage through the University, NRSA Fellows must certify that they have alternate health insurance that provides at least comparable coverage. 

Related FAQs

What is an NRSA Fellow?

An NRSA Fellow is a postdoctoral position. NRSA Postdoctoral Fellows are individuals who come to the University for the principal purpose of furthering their personal development through participation in advanced training programs. They hold post-baccalaureate degrees, normally the highest degree earned in the field. The source of funding is an individual or institutional National Research Service Award from the federal government to support the individual’s training (T32 or F32).

The IRS defines an NRSA Fellow as a trainee that does not provide a service to the college. Due to these IRS regulations, no federal tax or FICA can be withheld from an NRSA Fellow stipend and an NRSA Fellow cannot receive any benefits that result in a tax impact (e.g. pre-tax contributions to a retirement account). An NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow’s stipend is subject to State, Local and State Unemployment Compensation taxes. No employment benefit rate can be charged to NRSA funding.

What happens to my benefits if funding for my postdoc position changes?

If your funding changes from NRSA to non-NRSA funding (or vice versa) you will need to switch benefits plans. You will be contacted by either Penn HR through Workday or Gallagher Benefits Services, depending on whether your support will be from NRSA or Non NRSA funds.

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