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Option transfer period has begun for contract college employees

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock

The health plan option transfer period for contract college faculty and staff began Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 15, for coverage effective Jan. 4, 2018.

Contract college employees can make choices in three benefits during this time:

  • Make changes to health plan coverage,
  • Enroll in a medical care or dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), and/or
  • Enroll in or cancel legal insurance coverage.

No action is necessary if you want to keep your current health plan coverage or optional legal insurance; enrollments from 2017 will automatically renew for 2018. However, if you want to participate in an FSA, you must re-enroll each year.

Health plan coverage changes

During the option transfer period, contract college employees can make the following changes to health plans:

  • Change between the Empire Plan and a NYSHIP Health Maintenance Organization,
  • Drop all dependents and change from family to individual coverage, regardless of whether a qualifying event has affected your dependents’ eligibility, and/or
  • Voluntarily cancel your coverage, regardless of whether a qualifying event has affected your eligibility.

Other changes, such as enrolling for the first time, adding coverage for your spouse, partner or dependents, or removing dependents from your plan, can be made at any time but require a 10-week waiting period unless you have a qualifying event.

To make a health plan coverage change, employees must submit PS404 New York State Health Insurance Transaction Form in person by Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. EST or postmarked (U.S. mail; do not send by campus mail) by Dec. 15, to Benefit Services, East Hill Office Building, 395 Pine Tree Road, Suite 102, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Flexible spending accounts

FSAs for medical and/or dependent care expenses require re-enrollment each year and must be completed in Workday by Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. EST for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Legal insurance

The deadline for enrolling in legal insurance is Dec. 31, for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Enroll directly with Mercer Volunteer Benefits at 1-800-553-4861.

New tools

Information on contract college option transfer is available on the Human Resources website. A convenient guide can help with all your 2018 options, including health plan comparisons and rates, and information about FSAs and legal insurance. A new Decision/Enrollment Guide provides simple step-by-step instructions for filling out and submitting the PS404, how to enroll in an FSA in Workday, and worksheets to help determine FSA contribution rates for 2018.

Contact Benefit Services at 607-255-3936 or via email at benefits@cornell.edu with questions.

Sue Brightly is a writer for Human Resources.


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Nancy Doolittle