What’s Your Net Worth at Duke?

Personal Benefits Statement breaks down investment Duke makes in employees

Corey Gradin
The value of Duke’s benefits are easy for Elise Goldwasser (right) to appreciate. She credits Duke’s health insurance benefit in helping her daughter Corey Gradin (left) receive a double lung transplant in 2013.

This week, full-time staff and faculty will receive a personalized benefits statement in the mail, but Elise Goldwasser already understands the value of Duke’s benefits for her and her family. 

Goldwasser’s daughter, Corey Gradin, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was about a year and a half. Since then, Corey has been a regular at hospitals dealing with the disease’s symptoms, including difficulty breathing due to the buildup of mucus in the lungs. 

“I remember picking up her medications from the Children’s Hospital and it would say, ‘Cost $3,200. You Pay $50’,” said Goldwasser, undergraduate internship director at the Sanford School of Public Policy. “The cost for that one medication without insurance was more than most people make in a month.” 

When Corey turned 16 in 2013, she underwent a double-lung transplant, which, at the time, cost $650,000, but Duke’s medical insurance covered most of it. Corey is now 21 and goes to the gym regularly rather than walking around with an oxygen tank before the surgery. 

“I think we would be living in a box without Duke health insurance,” Goldwasser said. “My health insurance made sure my daughter was able to receive a double lung transplant that saved her life. We also received support from so many people at Duke who helped out through creative fundraising.”

The value of Duke’s benefit package takes different forms for different people. This week about 31,500 personalized benefit statement statements are being sent to benefits-eligible faculty and staff. The statement provides a personalized breakdown of total compensation Duke makes in each employee through all components of compensation, including salary, health and welfare, savings and retirement and Duke's contribution to government programs like Social Security.

"These statements continue to offer important reminders about the many ways in which Duke invests in our people," said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Administration. "The value of these benefits is often illustrated best through their impact in the lives of our faculty, staff and their family members."

Employees will find total compensation information related to benefits such as health care, which represents the largest annual investment in employees by Duke.Last year, Duke made an investment of $294 million to offer health care to faculty, staff and their

dependents. On average, Duke provides $250 in benefits for every $1,000 of a person’s pay. Last year, that represented an investment of more than $604 million.

The Personal Benefits Statement also provides information about retirement planning, including a guide to determine whether or not an employee is on target to have enough savings in retirement. Employees are encouraged to use the statement to calculate whether their savings is on track.

Duke Human Resources will host free webinars and workshops on retirement planning during Financial Fitness Week from May 21-24. A focus of the event will be on helping employees prepare for the redesign the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan, which was announced earlier this year.