Employee Benefits Information/Resources Related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this unprecedented and challenging time, we want to provide you with information  and resources to help you and your family. 
 
 

Vacation Carry-Over

Our senior leaders understand that many employees cancelled or postponed vacation plans due to COVID-19.  As a result, we are suspending our current policy that only allows one half of the year’s earned vacation to be carried over into the following year.  Therefore, any remaining vacation balances as of June 30, 2020 will automatically carry over to FY2021.   This change applies to both non-exempt and exempt employees. 

Please note: This is a one-time only change. 

Exempt staff and 12-month faculty need to enter all vacation time that has already been taken in Oracle Employee Self-Service.  Non-exempt staff should continue to record any vacation time taken in the Kronos timekeeping system.

If you have questions or concerns, please email benefits@rit.edu.  

 

Sick/Personal Time (nonexempt employees)

Due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is making a one-time change in our procedure for the sick/personal time cash-out for nonexempt employees.  If a nonexempt employee has any remaining sick/personal time as of June 30, 2020, the time will automatically carry over to next fiscal year instead of being cashed out.  (As you recall, nonexempt employees have had the option of receiving 50% of the value of unused sick/personal time as taxable pay or 75% of the value contributed to their account in the RIT Retirement Savings Plan [403(b)].  

Those who have remaining sick/personal time will have this time added to the amount that they normally receive at the start of the new fiscal year.  You do not need to take any action.  Any time carried over will show in your records after all the fiscal year end processes have been completed; we expect this to be by July 10, 2020.

It is important to note that this is a one-time change in the way remaining sick/personal time is administered. 

If you have questions, please email benefits@rit.edu.

 
 

RIT Medical Coverage (Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Plan Changes

RIT health insurance will cover the following at no cost to plan participants; this means zero copays, coinsurance, and/or deductibles for the following:

  • Medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to COVID-19.
  • In-network or out-of-network provider office visits (if an in-network provider is not available), including telehealth visits, in-network urgent care visits, and emergency room visits resulting in testing for COVID-19.  
  • Required prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • All telemedicine visits through MD Live will be covered in full, whether COVID-19 related or not.  Register for telemedicine now so you won't have to spend time doing that when you are feeling unwell.  There are four easy ways to register:
    • WEB - Register/Log in at ExcellusBCBS.com/Member
    • APP - Download the MDLIVE app
    • TEXT - Text EXCELLUS to 635483
    • VOICE - Call 1-866-692-5045

 

Please contact Excellus BlueCross BlueShield at 877-253-4797 or 585-454-2845 (TTY) for questions regarding specific health insurance benefits.

Update About Copays for Telehealth Visits With Your Provider

Prior to the pandemic, very few local providers were offering telehealth visits. With the pandemic, many providers began offering telehealth visits. The provider’s charge for a telehealth visit is the same as the charge for an in-person visit so there should have been a copay based on the terms of our plans.

Under Federal law, there is no copay for COVID-19 related telehealth visits, but only for those visits. The Excellus claims system was incorrectly coded to charge no copay for all telehealth visits, even if not COVID-19-related. When members and providers checked with Excellus they were given this information and people relied on it to make decisions on care.

From March 13 through June 27, all telehealth visits were processed with no copay required. In late June, Excellus corrected this error, reprocessed claims from this period, and notified impacted members. Providers began to bill patients for the copays.

We began hearing from people that they had had multiple telehealth visits with the expectation that there would be no copay. We then requested data from Excellus with the number of telehealth visits, number of members, and the amount of the waived copays. Please know that we did not receive any identifiable information, which is our standard practice.  We learned that a number of members had more visits than we had expected.

RIT requested that Excellus reprocess these same claims with a $0 copay, and Excellus has now agreed to do so at Excellus’ expense since it was strictly their error.  Excellus was scheduled to send a letter to impacted providers and members the week of September 28.

If the member already paid the copay, Excellus is asking the provider to refund the amount to the member. If a member does not receive the refund, we recommend they contact their provider directly to request a refund, rather than agreeing to allow the provider to carry a credit in their billing system.

If the copay(s) was paid using Beneflex dollars, the amount needs to be repaid to their Beneflex account.  The employee should contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions (LBS) at 800-327-7130 for help.

Telemedicine with MDLIVE

We understand that the pandemic has had a major impact on many people’s mental health.  For those who are seeking care, the good news is that RIT’s telemedicine vendor through Excellus, MDLIVE, now provides coverage for ongoing care for mental health needs; the individual can schedule recurring appointments to establish an ongoing relationship with one therapist from the privacy of their own home.  We announced this improvement in the Benefits Open Enrollment Newsletter we issued in October of 2019.   Here are some conditions people rely on behavioral health telemedicine for:

  • Addiction
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Depression
  • Panic Disorders
  • Stress
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • LGBTQ Support

Usually, the copay for MDLIVE telemedicine visits it $10.  However, as we announced a few months ago, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all telemedicine visits with MDLIVE would be covered without a copay on a temporary basis, whether COVID-related or not COVID-related. 

If you are interested in checking out this benefit, you should register in one of four easy ways as follows:

  1. WEB - Register/Log in at www.ExcellusBCBS.com/Member
  2. APP - Download the MDLIVE app
  3. TEXT - Text EXCELLUS to 635483
  4. VOICE - Call 1-866-692-5045

 

RIT's EAP provider, GuidanceResources, is another great resource available to you and your family members 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you and your family with virtually any issue.  They have a number of helpful resources to help keep you informed about the coronavirus, as well as offer guidance on how to remain healthy and deal with the emotional impacts of the outbreak.

Click here to find out how to access their help.

 

RIT Prescription Drug Coverage (OptumRx)

The following temporary changes are in place for plan participants.

  • When an existing patient calls the Optum Specialty Pharmacy to refill an eligible specialty medication, OptumRx will make available a one-time 90-day supply of key specialty medications instead of the traditional 30-day supply.  This rule does not apply to patients newly initiating specialty therapy or for certain categories of drugs such as controlled substances.
  • Please remember that you can receive your ongoing (maintenance) medications by U.S. Mail from either the OptumRx mail order pharmacy or through Wegmans Free Home Shipping.  Contact Optum at 855-209-1300 or Wegmans at 800-934-6267 for assistance.
  • Please visit the OptumRx FAQS for Members on the HR website for more information.

Please contact OptumRx at 855-209-1300 for questions regarding specific prescription drug plan benefits.

 

Beneflex Health Care Spending Account and Dependent Day Care Spending Account (FSA)

Health Care Account-Newly Eligible Items

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), RIT's Beneflex plan is updated as follows:
 
Effective January 1, 2020, all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, cold medicines) are considered eligible expenses without a prescription.  In addition, under the CARES Act certain menstrual care products (e.g., pads and tampons) are considered eligible expenses.
 
If you purchased any newly-eligible items on and after January 1, 2020, you can submit a manual claim with proof of purchase to Lifetime Benefit Solutions (LBS).  Refer to #15 in the updated Beneflex Reminders for 2020 on the HR website for information on how to submit a manual claim. 
 
NOTE: Your Flex Card should work for the newly-eligible items.  If it does not, you will need to use another form of payment and submit a manual claim to LBS.  Refer to #15 in the updated Beneflex Reminders for 2020 on the HR website for information on how to submit a manual claim.
 
If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to in the Beneflex Reminders for 2020 on the HR website, please contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions at 800-327-7130.
 

Beneflex Election Changes-Health Care Spending Account

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new IRS-issued guidance allows individuals to make a change to health care flexible spending account plans, like RIT’s Beneflex plan.  Therefore, you can make a one-time change in 2020 to reduce your contribution amount on a prospective basis. 

COVID-19 has greatly impacted many expected costs for planned medical, dental, and/or vision services causing individuals to have overestimated expenses.  Please note, if you elect to make a change, the amount of the new annual election cannot be lower than the amount you have already contributed or the amount you have already been reimbursed. 

Important Information:

  1. If you reduce your contribution under this special rule and your planned service is rescheduled, you will not be able to make a new election to increase your contribution.
  1. If you stop contributing altogether (reducing your pay period election to $0), you would only be able to be reimbursed for eligible expenses from your participation date (generally January 1) through your cancellation date, and not for expenses you incur after the cancellation date.  In order to avoid this potential issue, you may want to reduce your contribution to a nominal amount that is slightly higher than the amount on your most recent paystub as of the effective date for the change, but not to $0.
  1. There is no deadline for this one-time election, but the effective date cannot be back dated.  The change would be effective for the next payroll date that is administratively practicable after we receive your form in Human Resources.
  1. Keep in mind that RIT’s plan has adopted the grace period allowed by the IRS; this means that you can be reimbursed from your 2020 account for eligible expenses that have a date of service from your participation date through March 15, 2021.
  1. Please remember that the IRS expanded the list of allowable expenses effective January 1, 2020 to include all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, cold medicines) as well as certain menstrual care products (e.g., pads and tampons).  You will find details on the HR website here.

To reduce your election amount please:

  • If you are unable to send the form via email, please mail it to:
RIT Human Resources
8 Lomb Memorial Dr.
Rochester, NY 14623-5604


If you have any questions about your account, please contact LBS directly at 800-327-7130.

If you have any questions for RIT, please send an email to benefits@rit.edu.

Beneflex Election Changes-Dependent Day Care Spending Account

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new IRS-issued guidance allows individuals to make a change to dependent day care flexible spending account plans, like RIT’s Beneflex plan.  Therefore, you can make a one-time change in 2020 to reduce your contribution amount on a prospective basis.   

Please note, if you elect to make a change, the amount of the new annual election cannot be lower than the amount you have already contributed or the amount you have already been reimbursed.

Important Information:

  1. If you stop contributing altogether (reducing your pay period election to $0), you would only be able to be reimbursed for eligible expenses from your participation date (generally January 1) through your cancellation date, and not for expenses you incur after the cancellation date.  In order to avoid this potential issue, you may want to reduce your contribution to a nominal amount that is slightly higher than the amount on your most recent paystub as of the effective date for the change but not to $0.
  1. There is no deadline for this one-time election, but the effective date cannot be back dated.  The change would be effective for the next payroll date that is administratively practicable after we receive your form in Human Resources.
  1. If the summer camp or day care re-opens, you would be able to increase your contribution, provided HR receives your new election within 60 days of the event.
  1. Keep in mind that RIT’s plan has adopted the grace period allowed by the IRS; this means that you can be reimbursed from your 2020 account for eligible expenses that have a date of service from your participation date through March 15, 2021.

 

To reduce your election amount please:

  • If you are unable to send the form via email, please mail it to:
RIT Human Resources
8 Lomb Memorial Dr.
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

 

If you have any questions about your account, please contact LBS directly at 800-327-7130.

If you have any questions for RIT, please send an email to benefits@rit.edu.

 

 

Paid Sick Leave Resulting From a Self-Quarantine or Isolation Order

  • If you are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of self-quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any government entity that is authorized to issue an order due to COVID-19 (“Order”), you will be provided with up to two weeks of paid NYS COVID-19 sick leave based on your scheduled weekly hours during the period of the Order.  You will need to provide a copy of the Order to be eligible for this pay.  You will find details about obtaining an order on the NYS website here.  This paid NYS COVID-19 sick leave is provided in addition to your normal accrued sick/personal  time for nonexempt employees; eligibility is subject to the following:
     
    • Employees subject to an Order are not eligible for paid NYS COVID-19 sick leave under this provision if they are:
      • without symptoms or yet to be diagnosed with any medical condition, and
      • able to work remotely.
         
  • Employees subject to an Order are not eligible for paid NYS COVID-19 sick leave under this provision if:
    • they returned from traveling to a country for which the CDC has issued a level two or level three travel health notice;
    • they returned from traveling to a state which New York State has designated as a restricted travel state;
    • that travel described in the first two bullets was not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of RIT; and
    • the employee was aware of this limitation prior to travel.
Employees who are not eligible for paid NYS COVID-19 sick leave pursuant to an Order may still be eligible for other forms of paid leave related to COVID-19 in accordance with other RIT policies (e.g., sick/personal leave, salary continuation, vacation time). 
 

 

Enrolling in Benefits and Adding Family Members to Your Benefits

If you or a family member are losing coverage due to an employment status change (includes layoff, furlough, termination, etc.), you are eligible to enroll in coverage you are losing and/or add family members to your existing coverage if they are losing coverage.  Please take action within 31 days of the event and provide the following:
  • Benefits Enrollment Change Form
  • Proof of the event such as the letter the other employer sent, indicating the layoff/furlough/termination date and the date the coverage will end.  
 
Email your completed form and proof to benefits@rit.edu.  The coverage will be effective the day after the coverage ends so there will be no gap in coverage.
 
If you have any questions, please send an email to benefits@rit.edu.

 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

RIT's EAP provider, GuidanceResources, is available to you and your family members 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you and your family with virtually any issue.  They have a number of helpful resources to help keep you informed about the coronavirus, as well as offer guidance on how to remain healthy and deal with the emotional impacts of the outbreak.
 
EAP Toll-Free Phone: 844-572-9730/V and 800-697-0353/TTY
Website: To access the EAP’s website:
  1. Go to www.guidanceresources.com
  2. Click on I am a First Time user
  3. Enter the Web ID: RITEAP
  4. Complete the registration
  5. You can choose your own User Name and Password; they should be different than any RIT User Name and Password

 

RIT Retirement Savings Plan [403(b) Plan]

RIT has adopted a retirement plan-related provision under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) as outlined below:
 
CARES Act Withdrawals
Under this new provision, eligible participants may request a penalty-free distribution up to $100,000 (but no more than the account balance) for qualifying coronavirus-related reasons.  These include adverse financial consequences due to 
  • being quarantined, furloughed, laid off or having work hours reduced
  • being unable to work due to a lack of childcare.
 
The CARES Act distributions are more favorable than hardship withdrawals
  • There is no 10% federal early withdrawal penalty
  • $100,000 limit (but no more than the account balance)
  • Option to have income taxed over three years
  • Participants may repay the amount withdrawn to an eligible retirement plan within three years.
  • Participants self-certify that they are impacted.
 
Temporarily Stop Loan Repayments
RIT has adopted a provision under the CARES Act that allows a plan participant who has a loan from their Retirement Savings Plan account to stop their loan repayment for the remainder of 2020.  Interest on the outstanding loan will continue to accrue and the loan will be re-amortized on January 1, 2021 and payroll deductions would re-start.
 
If you have a loan and want to learn more about this new provision, please contact Fidelity at the number below.
 

If you have questions about your retirement plan account, please contact Fidelity and/or TIAA directly as follows.  

     Fidelity: (800) 343-0860/V and (800) 259-9734/TTY    Fidelity Website
     TIAA: (800) 842-2776/V and (800) 842-2755/TTY   TIAA Website

 

RIT's Better Me Wellness Program

For fitness tips and exercises you can do at home, please join the Better Me Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.
 
Office ergonomics is an extremely important aspect of workplace safety and efficiency.  Numerous aspects, such as the tools and equipment used, the places people work, and the psychosocial aspects of a workplace environment are all taken into consideration.  Although some repetitive strain is inevitable with many jobs, employees can reduce the effects by taking breaks, ensuring good posture, and implementing task rotation.  Please refer to this diagram to help ensure your workspace is set up in an optimal fashion. 

 

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