Human Resources and Payroll




Welcome to the Benefits homepage! Please refer to the links on the left side or the tabs above to discover more about all of the benefits provided to employees at George Mason University.

If you have any questions, would like more specific information about employee benefits, or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your benefits in greater detail, please call (703) 993-2600 and ask to speak to a member of our Benefits Team.

University Hall, 4th floor, 4441 George Mason Boulevard.


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Health and Flex Open Enrollment, May 1 - May 22, 2015.  Details, as they're available will be posted here.


Happening Now ....


Posted April 23 2015

Health and Flexible Spending Account Open Enrollment May 1- May 22, 2015

Open enrollment for health benefits and flexible spending accounts (FSA) runs from May 1- May 22, 2015. During this time you can enroll in a health plan and/or FSA, change your health plan, add or remove family members or waive state health coverage. Any changes made during the open enrollment period are effective on July 1, 2015. First payroll deductions are made on July 16, 2015 (semi-monthly) and July 17, 2015 (bi-weekly).  To assist you in this process, there are a number of resources available including:

1. eDirect - You can make your open enrollment choices online using eDirect. If you haven’t used eDirect before, or if you need a refresher, please visit eDirect information to review the process.  (Please note: Within the eDirect information, there is a link to the DHRM website.  If you use this link, eDirect is located on the left-hand side of the DHRM homepage under "What's Online".)  

When creating an eDirect log-in, you will be asked for your state ID number. If you have COVA Care or COVA HDHP, your state ID number is on your health insurance card minus the letters. If you have COVA HealthAware, take off the first two zeroes. If you have Kaiser Permanente, please contact the Benefits team at for assistance.

2. Spotlight on Your Benefits - The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) will mail a paper version of this helpful publication to your home as well as email you a copy, however you can also access it online at Spotlight on Your Benefits

3. Premium Rewards Information –  Premium rewards continue to be available for participants in COVA Care and COVA HealthAware.  Already earning a reward? You will need to update your online health assessment with MyActiveHealth no later than June 30, 2015 to continue your reward without a break.  If you are enrolled or are enrolling in COVA Care or COVA Healthaware, You will need to complete and submit a Health Assessment and a biometric screening to qualify for Premium Rewards by June 30, 2015 to qualify for rewards on July 1, 2015.  Please see the Premium Rewards Flyer for more information.

4. ALEX - This interactive tool from DHRM is back again this year to help you understand your choices as you’re deciding which health plan is right for you. Available at ALEX.

5. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – Your FSA does not automatically continue; you must re-enroll each year. For COVA Health Aware participants, please remember that your Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) pays first and then your FSA. The health limit for 7/1/2015-6/30/2016 has been increased to $2,550.

6. DHRM Open Enrollment website -

The Benefits Team will be holding drop-in sessions on all three campuses:
  • May 7, Fairfax Campus in Merten Hall, Room 4102 from 1:30 to 3:30
  • May 12, Science and Technology Campus in Occoquan, Room 110L from 2:00 to 4:00
  • May 13, Arlington Campus in Founders Hall, Room 313 from  2:00 to 4:00
  • May 19, Fairfax Campus in Merten Hall, Room 4102 from 10:30 to 12:30
You may also email the Benefits team with your questions at

Posted February 6 2015

Beware of E-Mail Scams Regarding the Nationwide Anthem Breach

Scam email campaigns are occurring today regarding credit monitoring related to the Anthem cyberattack. Please see the announcement from Anthem for more details. Members should call the Anthem hotline at 1-877-263-7995 with questions about this incident. A special website at will be updated with new information as it is received.




Posted November 19 2014

Retirement Tax Saving Limits for 2015

The IRS announced cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) affecting the dollar limits for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the 2015 tax year. Participants under age 50 can contribute up to $18,000 in the Supplemental Retirement Plan (403(b)) program and the Virginia Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) (457) (an increase of $500 from 2014). Participants age 50 and over can contribute $24,000 in each plan (an increase of $1,000 from 2014). If you wish to change your 403(b) contribution, please complete a 403(b) salary reduction agreement and return to Benefits at MS 3C3.  If you wish to change your 457 contribution, please call ICMA-RC at 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261), or log into your account at .


Posted October 29 2014

UNUM Long Term Disability Open Enrollment Starts November 1

If you are a non-VSDP employee who is not yet participating in UNUM or a current participant who wants to change the amount of your coverage, open enrollment runs November 1 - 30. Long-term disability insurance is designed to protect your income should you become medically unable to work. To obtain a customized enrollment form based on your age and salary, call HR & Payroll at 993-2600 and ask for a Benefits Administrator or email Since November 30 is the Sunday of the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, enrollment forms must be received by HR & Payroll by noon on Wednesday, November 26.

Posted October 7 2014

Supreme Court Decision: Same Sex Marriage in Virginia

The Supreme Court has effectively overturned Virginia’s ban on gay marriage (Governor McAuliffe’s Statement on the decision). The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) and the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) are hard at work making the relevant policy changes to such things as health care, flexible reimbursement benefits, family and medical leave, retirement, etc.

If you participate in the Mason medical insurance options you should have received an e-mail with instructions on how to add a newly eligible spouse to your plans during this open enrollment period. Further guidance is expected soon from DHRM and VRS.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding benefits for newly eligible spouses, please contact the Benefits Team by calling the HR & Payroll Customer Service Center at 3.2600 and asking for the Benefits Team or emailing us directly at

Posted September 29 2014

Financial Well-Being Resources

We are delighted to announce expanded offerings in the area of financial and retirement preparedness. Partnering with our retirement providers, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, ICMA-RC and VRS as well as financial providers such as Apple Federal Credit Union and others with expertise to share, we have lined up a comprehensive opportunity for faculty and staff to delve into those personal financial areas where they could use a hand. Everything from budgeting and saving to investing, annuities, retirement, home buying, college savings and more. There are in-person sessions, as well as online sessions. Join us live or watch a session at your convenience, when and where it works for you. In person sessions will be videoconferenced to Arlington and Prince William.

To keep things fun, TIAA-CREF is holding a 30-day challenge at Mason to see what we all know about financial planning. What’s Your Financial IQ? starts on October 1 and runs throughout the month of October. Every day, 5 new questions are added and every time you play, you are entered for a chance to win a $25 Amex gift card.

In addition to sessions, webinars, and a challenge, there are also a host of tools on the site. We’re hoping you will think of the site as a gateway to rounding out your personal financial knowledge. There are more classes in the works, so please check back.

To register for these classes, please visit

Don’t forget to line up your individual session with representatives from TIAA-CREF, Fidelity or ICMA-RC. They are all on campus throughout the year. For dates and times, and to schedule an appointment visit Individual Counseling Sessions.

SAVE THE DATE - The all-day retirement planning seminar, Next Steps: Plan for Your Retirement, will be held on Friday, November 7. Registration details coming soon.

Posted May 23 2014

The New Fiscal Year is Coming: Your First Check May Have Some Changes

1. Open Enrollment Changes: Health Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts Please note that your July 16 net paycheck (July 3 If you are bi-weekly) may change. This is due to FY2014 changes in optional life insurance premiums (age band only) and increases in health insurance premiums including any open enrollment changes you made regarding health plan and flexible spending accounts.

2. Flexible Spending Account Reminder: A reminder for those who have a dependent care or a medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA). The plan year ends on June 30, 2014. You must incur your eligible expenses by June 30th in order to be reimbursed by Anthem. While your eligible expenses must be incurred by the end of the plan year, you have until September 30, 2014 to submit the expenses for reimbursement. Please note that if you do not use all of the funds in your FSA by the end of the plan year, you will forfeit the remaining funds.

If you have any questions regarding deduction changes effective on 7/1/14 or FSAs, please contact the HR & Payroll Customer Service Center at 3.2600 and ask to speak to a member of the Benefits Team.

Posted January 16 2014

New Recordkeeper for the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan

On January 1, 2014, VRS changed recordkeepers for the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan from ING to ICMA-RC. While the fund options did not change, the process for enrolling and making changes has changed. VRS is now requiring employees to call ICMA-RC directly at 877.327.5261 or go online to make changes to their 457 plans.

Any change made in one month will be effective on the 1st day of the following month (e.g. a change made in January will go into effect on February 1 and will show on the February 16th pay check). Please note that any time employees wish to change, stop or start deductions, they will need to call ICMA-RC prior to the month in which the change goes into effect.

Please contact Benefits at or 703.993.2600 with any questions.

Posted December 11 2013

VRS Hybrid Plan Information Session Available Online

The VRS Hybrid Plan information session is now available online (once on the site, please click on the "Silverlight" tab in the upper right corner of the site). 

In-person sessions have also been scheduled. For dates, times, and locations, please visit and click on the "Course Calendar" tab.  The next in-person session is scheduled for Thursday, January 9 to be held in Fairfax and videoconferenced to Arlington and Prince William.

Posted December 5 2013

VRS Changes Record Keepers for the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Defined Compensation Plan

In January 2014, VRS will change record keepers from ING to ICMA-RC for the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan. For current faculty and staff who have supplemental 457 accounts, your investment options will not change, only the vendor who manages the account. During the blackout period from December 31, 2013 to on or around January 10, 2014, participants may review their accounts by going online or by calling ING at 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261). However, they will not be able to conduct transactions such as fund transfers or withdrawals. Funds will remain invested throughout the period and the review-only function on the website will reflect daily changes in the market value of each account.

No action is needed during this record-keeping transition. The changeover will be handled electronically. Participating employees will not need to re-enroll or make any changes to their accounts, and their investment options will remain the same. They will receive a closing statement from ING at the end of January showing the amount transitioned to ICMA-RC and a zero ending balance for their ING account.

After the transition is complete, participants will need to create a user ID and password to access their account with ICMA-RC through the VRS website (select the Defined Contributions tab and Account Log-in).

Find out more about the transition to ICMA-RC, including key dates, on the transition website for VRS members. If you have any questions please contact benefits at or 703-993-7756.

Posted December 5 2013

VRS Hybrid Plan and Changes to the 457 Record Keeper

The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) is adding a new retirement plan as of January 1, 2014. We want to bring it to your attention because it will impact:

• all new classified staff who are hired January 1, 2014 and after as they will be automatically enrolled in the Hybrid Plan;
• all new faculty hired January 1, 2014 and after as they will choose between the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) and the Hybrid Plan;
• all current VRS members, as they will have the option to change to the Hybrid Plan during an opt-in period from January 1 – April 30, 2014.

At the same time, the record keeper for 457 accounts (both supplemental accounts and the defined contribution portion of the Hybrid Plan) will be changing as of January 1, 2014 from ING to ICMA-RC. For current faculty and staff who have supplemental 457 accounts, your investment options will not change, only the vendor who manages the account.

HR & Payroll is holding information sessions on the new Hybrid plan and the move to ICMA-RC. For details, please visit We plan to have a video version of the session online shortly.

You can also learn more about the plan directly from VRS. If you have any questions, please call 3.2600 and ask for the Benefits Team or email them directly at  

Posted November 13 2013

Do-Right Credit For Flu Shots Received Outside of the State Health Benefits Program

During the current plan year, COVA HealthAware (Aetna) participants can receive additional contributions to their health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) by completing certain “do-rights,” one of which is having a flu vaccine. If you received the flu vaccine using your COVA HealthAware (Aetna) benefit, it will automatically credit the additional HRA contribution.  If, however, you received it through another resource where you did not use your insurance, you can still qualify for the credit, but need to complete the COVA HealthAware "Do Right" Flu Shot Form.  Please send the completed form to the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) at the address on the form.



Posted October 31 2013

Member Benefit Profiles Available at VRS

Annual Member Benefit Profiles (MBP) for faculty and staff who are enrolled in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) are now available by logging into your account at  MBPs provide information about your retirement and other benefits you have as a member of VRS.  Questions? Please email or call 703-993-2600 and ask for a member of the Benefits team.

Can't find something you remember seeing in this space? Check out our recent Benefits announcements

Kaiser News Release

Human Resources and Payroll Benefits Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The Commonwealth of Virginia and George Mason University reserve the right to terminate, suspend, withdraw, amend or modify the benefits plan in whole or in part at any time. Further, The Commonwealth and the University reserve the right to terminate or modify coverage for any group of employees, active or retired and their dependents or a class of dependents at any time.