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New endowed dental, vision plans offered for 2020

Benefits open enrollment for endowed faculty and staff begins Friday, Nov. 1, and ends at 4 p.m. EST, Friday, Nov. 29, for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The annual endowed open enrollment period is the only time faculty and staff can enroll in or make changes to health, dental and vision 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 a flexible spending account (FSA) for medical or dependent care. Legal insurance is also part of open enrollment but has a longer enrollment period, Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

“Of note this year, Cornell is offering two new dental plans and a new stand-alone vision plan based on faculty and staff feedback,” said Gordon Barger, senior director of benefits.

He added that faculty and staff should re-evaluate their dental and vision/optical needs, as everyone who wants coverage in 2020 must enroll during the open enrollment period. Benefits Services will be scheduling several workshop presentations about the new plans throughout November.

The new dental plan options are being offered through MetLife.

“Dental care is so integral to overall health, and getting more frequent checkups and cleanings can help to determine other health needs,” Barger said. “We are pleased to offer plans with similar or better coverage, higher in-network participation and, for a majority of participants, a reduced price tag.”

The MetLife plans have more dental benefits payable than in either the current Plan B or Plan A+, Barger said. He noted that while there are more in-network dentists under MetLife, a small number of dentists that were in network with Ameritas are not currently in network with MetLife.

The new vision plan will be offered through Davis Vision. The plan offers three ways to get glasses or contact lenses each year, and covers a large portion of the costs in network while maintaining the current out-of-network reimbursement of up to $150 per year.

Health plan changes

Each January, the official list of prescription drugs, called the formulary, is updated by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries as new prescriptions are created and made available, and as other prescriptions lose their patent status and become available from multiple sources.

As of Jan. 1, a number of drugs will move from one category to another; notably, certain HIV- and cancer-treatment medications will move from more expensive specialty designation to retail availability. Faculty and staff impacted by any formulary changes will receive direct communication from OptumRx in November.

“Similar to 2019, Cornell’s overall health costs are increasing at a slightly lower rate than the nation. There will be a 4.7% increase in employee contributions, which is lower than the nation’s 6%-8% percent average,” said Barger. “We’re also pleased to continue the Cornell subsidy of 90% of individual contributions and 75% of family contributions. This means, for example, that for the Cornell Program for Health Living (CPHL), our largest enrolled plan, participants will see an increase of $4 to $20 per month, depending on level of coverage.”

There will be no increases to copays or deductibles in 2020. See the 2020 Rate Chart and 2020 Plan Comparison Chart on the endowed open enrollment website for complete details.

Savings accounts: The maximum contribution to an FSA for dependent care remains $5,000. Health care FSA limits will remain at $2,700 but could change depending on IRS decisions made before Jan. 1. You must enroll each year during open enrollment for these accounts.

Maximum contributions for members of the Health Savings Account plan for 2020 have increased from $3,500 to $3,550 for an individual, and from $7,000 to $7,100 for a family. These maximums include the $1,000 contribution from Cornell.

Enrolling in or changing plans

Enrollment will be done through the improved Workday website, which will list each medical, dental and vision plan separately. You must enter each plan individually to make your choices. The Workday Decision/Enrollment Guide, which will be available Nov. 1, uses decision-support worksheets and a step-by-step guide to enrolling in Workday.

Contract college staff and faculty can make health plan changes and enroll in an FSA during a separate Option Transfer Period in November/December, which will be announced at a later date.

Ashley Fazio is communications director for Human Resources.

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Abby Butler