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Endowed benefits open enrollment for 2018 runs through Nov. 17

Benefits open enrollment for endowed faculty and staff began Nov. 1 and will run through Nov. 17 for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2018. Contract college staff and faculty will be able to make certain health plan changes and enroll in a flexible spending account (FSA) during a separate option transfer period in November; exact dates have yet to be announced by New York state.

The annual open enrollment period is the only time endowed employees can enroll in or make changes to health and dental plan coverage (including adding or removing dependents) unless they experience a qualifying life event. It’s also the only time of year to enroll or re-enroll in an FSA for medical or dependent care. Legal insurance is also part of open enrollment; that enrollment period runs through Dec. 31.

Endowed health plans

There are only minor changes to endowed health plan coverage for 2018.

“There will be a slight increase in premiums for 2018, as the cost of Cornell University health care continues to rise faster than the national trend,” said Gordon Barger, senior director of benefits and administration. “We’re pleased to continue the Cornell subsidy of 90 percent of individual coverage and 75 percent of family coverage, and as overall costs increase, we will share some of that increase with staff.”

For example, members of the Cornell Plan for Healthy Living will see an increase of about $5 per month for an individual; family premiums will increase less than $20 per month. However, there will be no increases to copays or deductibles in 2018. See the 2018 Rate Chart and 2018 Plan Comparison Chart on the open enrollment website for complete details.

Dental and vision plans

There are no changes to the copays, deductibles or plan design under the endowed dental plans. The 2017 contributions will remain the same in 2018, with no increases.

Savings accounts

The maximum contribution limits for FSAs for medical or dependent care is $2,650 for each health care FSA and $5,000 for you and your spouse, total, with a dependent care FSA. For members with a Health Savings Account, maximum contribution limits have increased from $3,400 to $3,450 for an individual, and from $6,750 to $6,900 for a family, including the $1,000 contribution from Cornell.

Enrolling is easier than ever

The improved enrollment website walks you through five simple questions and provides resources to help you plan and make the right decision for you and your family. The Workday Decision/Enrollment Guide is a new tool, offering decision-support worksheets and a step-by-step guide.

If you are happy with your health and dental plans, don’t need to make any changes to your dependents status and don’t want a medical or dependent care FSA for 2018, you won’t need to access Workday and no action is needed. Your enrollments will remain the same as in 2017.

However, if you need to add a dependent; are enrolling or re-enrolling in an FSA; think it’s time to change health or dental plans; or are considering legal plan insurance, go to to get started. You’ll see a link to the new Workday Decision/Enrollment Guide.


Come to Benefair Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in G10 Biotechnology Building, where you can get answers directly from Cornell benefits experts and vendor representatives. Workshops and information about financial planning, continuing education, wellness and all other benefits for Cornell employees also will be available.

Ashley Fazio is director of communications in the Division of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.

Media Contact

John Carberry