Frequently Asked Questions

To get customized help on these topics, contact the Human Resources Service Center at 315.443.4042 or hrservice@syr.edu.


Excellus BCBS Transition

The University routinely conducts a review of our medical plans and seeks competitive bids from several of the nation’s top insurance providers. Reviewing and assessing the University’s current health care plans and exploring new coverage opportunities ensures our community members have access to plans that deliver high-quality coverage, excellent customer service and competitive rates.

As an Upstate New York-based provider with offices in DeWitt, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield was selected because of its many strengths and capabilities, including:

  • Local, dedicated customer service team that will deliver superior member support
  • Comprehensive health management programs that ensure exceptional patient care
  • Largest nationwide provider network, with the following highlights:
    • 96 percent of hospitals and 92 percent of physicians contract with BlueCross BlueShield organizations nationwide
    • An international network that provides members with access to doctors and hospitals in 200 countries, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Australia, and all of North America
  • 24/7 Nurse Line provides employees with free access to trained medical professionals around the clock
  • Comprehensive and secure online and mobile resources

Yes. Excellus has a local, DeWitt-based dedicated customer service center for Syracuse University. The phone number and expanded hours of operation are:

800.493.0318 (TTY/TTD: 800.662.1220)

Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

These experienced representatives are well-versed in the Syracuse University plan designs and stand ready to assist you with any questions that you may have.

Yes, you can access Excellus’ online provider directory to view doctors, hospitals and other facilities that participate with the network. Follow these steps to assist with your search:

  1. Select your provider location:
    1. Upstate New York
    2. Nationwide
    3. International
  2. Based on the location you selected:
    1. Upstate New York providers:
      1. Select your health plan: Excellus BluePPO.
      2. Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.
    2. National Network providers:
      1. Enter your location.
      2. Enter your plan. You will be asked to enter the first three letters of your Member I.D. card. Enter VYK. Excellus Member I.D. cards will be sent out mid-December.
      3. Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.
    3. International Network providers:
      1. Review and accept the terms and conditions for using the website.
      2. You will be asked to enter the first three letters of your Member I.D. card. Enter VYK. Excellus Member I.D. cards will be sent out mid-December.
      3. Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will reach out to providers who do not participate with their network and are recommended by Syracuse University’s health plan members. It is important to highlight that more than 96 percent of hospitals and 92 percent of physicians contract with BlueCross BlueShield organizations nationwide.

In an effort to make this process as seamless as possible, the University has taken steps to negotiate prior authorization transfers from POMCO to Excellus. Therefore, any services previously approved by POMCO will continue to be covered through Excellus as long as they continue to be medically necessary and are a covered benefit. In addition, we highly suggest that you contact Excellus before the service is incurred just to ensure that everything is in place.

Earlier this year, Syracuse University conducted an annual review of health care benefits to ensure high-quality coverage, excellent customer service and competitive rates. As part of this exercise to foster institution wide excellence, the Office of Human Resources began reviewing and assessing the University’s current medical plans and exploring new coverage opportunities to ensure employees and retirees have access to best-in-class plans.  After receiving extensive feedback from health care experts, along with the Benefits Advisory Council, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield was selected to administer the medical plans for Syracuse University, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Local institutions that utilize Excellus BlueCross BlueShield include Rochester Institute of Technology, LeMoyne College, University of Rochester, Colgate University and Crouse Hospital.

Jan. 1, 2009

As of Jan. 1, 2018, POMCO will no longer be the claims administrator for Syracuse University’s medical plans. You will receive a welcome packet with your personalized ID cards at your home address with details on the new Excellus BlueCross BlueShield program around Dec. 15, 2017.

You will be able to learn more before Open Enrollment, which will occur Oct. 30 – Nov. 10, by taking advantage of the following opportunities:

  • In October, you will be able to review information on our dedicated Open Enrollment website and attend an Open Enrollment Information Session. During the information sessions, Human Resources representatives will provide an overview of the 2018 benefits, important reminders, and answer your questions about any of our benefit programs, live or from the convenience of your home or office via webinar.
  • Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will hold office hours on campus twice a week to assist our members with their personal health plan questions. These office hours will commence this fall and will continue into 2018.

If you have additional questions, contact the HR Service Center at 315.443.4042 or hrservice@syr.edu, and watch your mail for more information about Open Enrollment for 2018 coming in October.

Yes. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is committed to meeting the needs of the campus community to ensure that all members are able to effectively access their information. Excellus also offers:

    • A TTY number;
    • Customer service representatives who fulfill braille, audio recording and large print requests; and
    • Special services for non-English speaking members. The majority of non-English speaking calls are handled by one of their bilingual or multilingual representatives. Excellus also retains a telephone interpreter service to ensure that all non-English speaking calls are handled.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has an expansive network and you will be able to access care in 200 countries around the world, and anywhere within the U.S. through the BlueCard Program. BlueCard network providers are found throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and all of North America.

If you seek services from a BlueCard network provider, you will only need to pay your copay, coinsurance or applicable deductible at the time of service. However, if you seek services from a non-participating provider, you will need to pay the full amount for those services at the time of your visit (as you do now with POMCO), and then you will be reimbursed per the plan benefit after you submit a paper claim to Excellus.

Yes. As of Jan. 1, 2018, POMCO will no longer be the claims administrator for Syracuse University’s medical plans. You will receive a welcome packet with your personalized I.D. cards at your home address with details on the new Excellus BlueCross BlueShield program around Dec. 15, 2017.

In addition, as of Jan. 1, 2018, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s fully-owned subsidiary, Lifetime Benefit Solutions, Inc., will be the new administrator for retiree and COBRA billing. During our annual Open Enrollment process, you will receive information from Lifetime Benefit Solutions regarding their billing process and contact information.

No. All retiree medical plan participant information, including the number of remaining subsidy credits, will be provided to Lifetime Benefit Solutions. Lifetime Benefit Solutions will handle all retiree billing and ensure that each bill is correct with respect to the University’s subsidization of retiree medical benefits for pre-2006 retirees, post-2006 retirees, and individuals who retired under VSIP and have subsidy credits remaining.

Yes, you will continue to use your OptumRx I.D. card to obtain prescriptions from the pharmacy.

Yes, Delta Dental and VSP vision will continue to offer these important benefit programs to our employees. which will have no copayment, coinsurance or contribution increasesNew for 2018, Delta Dental is changing the frequency of dental cleanings from two per 12-month period to two per calendar year.  This means that no matter when you had your last cleaning in 2017, you will have access to two cleanings in calendar year 2018.

This is the second-year of the two-year commitment for the University’s dental and vision plans. The only change you can make this year is to enroll or remove dependents from the plan, unless you experience a qualifying life event. Everyone will be eligible to change their coverage again during next year’s Open Enrollment for 2019.

Yes, MetLife and The Standard will continue to offer these important benefit programs to our employees. Employee contributions for dependent life, supplemental life and AD&D, and voluntary long term disability insurance will have no rate increases or plan changes.

You may elect to receive several communications from Excellus electronically by visiting ExcellusBSBS.com/syredu. Simply click on “My Account” and select “Paperless Settings” to select which communications that you would like to receive electronically.

Please note that as part of Excellus’ current standard operating procedures certain communications, such as grievance and appeals responses, third party liability inquiries, and medical authorizations, are required to be sent to the patients’ home address through the United States Postal Service and cannot be sent electronically.

Each month, you will receive a Monthly Health Statement, which shows the claims that Excellus has processed for you and your family for the previous month. Your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) are available online, unless you specifically request a paper copy from your dedicated customer service representative. As an exception, if you receive care from a non-participating provider, you will automatically receive an EOB at your home address on file.

You will receive a welcome packet at the permanent address you have on file with the University as recorded in MySlice, which will include two member ID cards with your name on both. In addition, each dependent who is over the age of 18 and is enrolled under your plan will also receive a welcome packet with two member ID cards at their home address as recorded in MySlice. If you cover any dependents under the age of 18, please provide your ID card to their provider when they seek services.

If you wish to obtain additional member ID cards, contact our dedicated Excellus customer service center at 800.493.0318 (TTY/TTD: 800.662.1220). As of Jan. 1, 2018, you may also view your ID card online by registering your account at ExcellusBCBS.com/syredu or by downloading the Excellus BCBS app.

Lifetime Benefit Solutions payment processing center is located in Omaha, Nebraska. However, if you have any questions regarding your billing or general plan administration, contact the Lifetime Benefit Solutions customer care center in Liverpool, NY at 800.493.0318 (TTY/TTD: 800.662.1220) Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.

As a COBRA participant, you will not receive monthly invoices. Your welcome packet will contain a full set of monthly remittance coupons that you will utilize each month to submit with your payment to Lifetime Benefit Solutions. If your monthly rate changes, you will receive revised remittance coupons.

As a retiree medical participant, you will receive an invoice each month for the next month’s coverage, provided, you have not elected to have your payments automatically deducted from your checking or savings account from Lifetime Benefit Solutions.

Yes, a new form must be completed. For your convenience, the Automatic Payment (ACH) Request Form was included with your welcome letter. However, if you need a new form, contact the Lifetime Benefit Solutions customer care center in Liverpool, NY at 800.493.0318 (TTY/TTD: 800.662.1220) Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.

Your premiums are due by the first day of each month, with a 30-day grace period. Should your payment not be received by the fifteenth of the month, your coverage will be suspended. If your payment is still not received by the end of the 30-day grace period, your coverage will terminate.

All payments must be sent to Lifetime Benefits Solutions’ payment processing center in Omaha, Nebraska. The address is Lifetime Benefit Solutions, PO Box 2979, Omaha, NE 68103-2979. You have the following options to make your payment each month:

  • Send a payment directly to Lifetime Benefit Solutions’ payment center using a check or money order, along with your remittance coupon.
  • Enroll in automatic monthly withdrawals (ACH) by completing the ACH Request Form enclosed with your welcome letter.

Please note the following:

  • You must be current with payments before ACH will begin. Therefore, you must make your first payment by check or money order, and the following month, the payment will be made via ACH.
  • Retiree medical plan premium withdrawals are completed on or around the fifth business day of the month for that month’s premium.
  • If you are also enrolled in COBRA, these withdrawals are completed on the last business day of the month for the next month’s premium.
  • Pay by phone by calling 800.493.0318 (TTY/TTD: 800.662.1220) Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST. This will be available effective January 1, 2018.

You will receive two separate welcome packets from Lifetime Benefit Solutions – one that provides you with information on how to pay for your retiree medical insurance and one that provides you with payment instructions to continue your COBRA coverage(s). You may remit your payments to Lifetime Benefit Solutions for both your retiree medical and COBRA coverage; however, you must be sure to include your premium coupons for both coverages so that they can correctly apply your payment.


Medical Benefits

SUBlue and SUOrange will be transformed in the following three ways as of Jan. 1, 2018:

  • Referrals will no longer be required to see a provider to receive Level One, in-network benefits.
  • Copays for certain services will increase by $10. This is the first increase in four years.
  • There will now be an annual deductible of $100 per individual with a maximum of $250 for a family for in-network services.

There are no changes to the SUPro plan.

There will be no increases to employees’ per-paycheck contributions for 2018.

The monthly costs listed below are based on the 12-month calendar year. Actual deductions from each paycheck will vary depending upon your deduction cycle (e.g., weekly vs. semi-monthly, academic year vs. calendar year).

Monthly Medical Rates for 2018

Schedule ASUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Employee Only$142.15$138.02$129.64
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner$312.73$303.63$285.21
Employee + Child(ren)$274.35$266.37$250.21
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner + Child(ren)$444.93$431.98$405.77
Schedule BSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Employee Only$124.53$120.90$113.57
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner$273.95$265.98$249.84
Employee + Child(ren)$240.33$233.34$219.18
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner + Child(ren)$389.76$378.42$355.46

Qualifying for Schedule B Reduced Medical Contributions

Depending on your household income and size, you may be eligible for lower medical contributions. Graduate Assistants are automatically defaulted to Schedule B medical rates, as are certain employees specified by a collective bargaining agreement. Please review the chart below. If you think you may qualify, the Schedule B application will need to be completed and returned by Dec. 8 to Human Resources. The 2018 application will be available mid-October.

Household SizeHousehold Income
1Less than $36,000
2Less than $49,000
3Less than $61,000
4 and upLess than $74,000

Earlier this year, Syracuse University conducted an annual review of health care benefits to explore new coverage opportunities and ensure employees and retirees have access to the highest quality plans. While the University has successfully held copay fees steady for the last four years, in order to continue to manage our costs and offer comprehensive health management programs some medical services copays will increase by $10 in 2018.

Services that currently require a member copay of $20, $25, or $40 will be increasing by $10 as of Jan. 1, 2018. These include services such as office visits, diagnostic machine tests, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. A comprehensive list of the copays and deductibles can be found in the schedule of benefits.

All other services that require a copay, such as emergency room and urgent care visits, inpatient hospital, and outpatient surgery, will continue to reflect the copays in place for 2017.

In-network services that do not require a copay, such as preventive screenings, well child care, and routine physicals, will continue to be provided in 2018 with no member cost.

A deductible is a dollar amount members pay toward covered medical care each year, before their health plan begins to pay for covered medical expenses. Beginning in 2018, an annual in-network deductible of $100 per person with a maximum of $250 for a family will be applied to SUBlue and SUOrange plans. Once the annual deductible has been met, additional in-network services for the remainder of the year will be covered at the copay and/or coinsurance percentage that applies to that service. These changes were thoughtfully analyzed with the help of health care experts, along with the Benefits Advisory Council, to keep health care benefits competitive and continue to help manage costs. As we prepare for Open Enrollment, employees are encouraged to examine the best benefit plan for their needs. A comprehensive list of the copays and deductibles can be found in the schedule of benefits.

Reference our 2018 coverage examples guide to see, in general, how the deductible and copay/coinsurance are applied to certain services for SUBlue, SUOrange, and SUPro.

The last time deductibles, coinsurance, or copays were changed was Jan. 1, 2014.

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, SUBlue and SUOrange will provide benefits for covered provider services without the need to request a referral from your primary care physician. This means that the Level Two benefit in SUBlue will be eliminated. Services will either be covered as in-network or out-of-network under SUBlue. SUOrange covers only in-network services.

Pre-authorization requirements still apply to inpatient hospitalizations and certain other non-emergency services. Review the schedule of benefits for more information.

Yes, you will continue to use your OptumRx I.D. card to obtain prescriptions from the pharmacy.

The following preventive health care services and prescription medications are covered by the University health plans at no cost to you:

In-Network Preventive Services with $0 Copay:

  • Routine 2D Mammograms
  • Routine Gynecological Exam
  • Routine Prostate Cancer Screening
  • Routine Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Routine Osteoporosis Screening
  • Colonoscopies
  • Well Child Visits
  • Routine Adult Physicals
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling

Other In-Network Medical Services with $0 Copay:

  • Breast Pumps (within 3 years of delivery)

Prescription Drugs with $0 Copay:

Age/gender limits or other restrictions may apply.  Plan copays may apply if criteria for $0 copay are not met. Free product will usually be a generic or over-the-counter (OTC) product unless branded product does not have a generic equivalent.

  • Smoking Cessation Aids (FDA approved)
  • Women’s Contraceptives (drugs and devices)
  • Folic Acid & Prenatal Vitamins
  • Aspirin
  • Fluoride Products
  • Iron Supplements
  • Vitamin D
  • Bowel Prep Agents for Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment
  • Statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) – effective 12/1/2017

The following table highlights some key differences among the three plan options:

 SUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Network coverageProvides in-network and out-of-network coverageProvides in-network coverage onlyProvides in-network and out-of-network coverage
ReferralsNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Your cost when you use an in-network providerGenerally deductible and copaysGenerally deductible and copaysGenerally deductible and coinsurance
Schedule of benefits documentSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro

Syracuse University offers three medical and prescription drug plan options to benefits-eligible employees. All three plan options include medical benefits administered by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Prescription drug benefits will continue to be administered by OptumRx.

The same health care services are covered under SUBlue, SUOrange, and SUPro, but your share of the cost will be different. For a high level overview, please review At a Glance: A Comparison of Health Care Plans which highlights commonly-used services and their associated costs.

The following rates will apply for people who are paid weekly during the fiscal year (calendar year), for a total of 52 paychecks.

Schedule ASUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$32.80$31.85$29.92
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$72.17$70.07$65.82
Individual + Child(ren)$63.31$61.47$57.74
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$102.68$99.69$93.64
Schedule BSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$28.74$27.90$26.21
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$63.22$61.38$57.66
Individual + Child(ren)$55.46$53.85$50.58
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$89.94$87.33$82.03

The following rates apply for people who work during the academic year and are paid weekly, for a total of 37 pays.

Schedule ASUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$46.10$44.76$42.05
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$101.43$98.47$92.50
Individual + Child(ren)$88.98$86.39$81.15
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$144.30$140.10$131.60
Schedule BSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$40.39$39.21$36.83
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$88.85$86.26$81.03
Individual + Child(ren)$77.95$75.68$71.09
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$126.41$122.73$115.28

The following rates apply for employees who work during the fiscal (calendar) year and are paid semi-monthly, for a total of 24 pays.

Schedule ASUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$71.08$69.01$64.82
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$156.38$151.81$142.60
Individual + Child(ren)$137.18$133.18$125.10
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$222.47$215.99$202.89
Schedule BSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$62.26$60.45$56.78
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$136.98$132.99$124.92
Individual + Child(ren)$120.17$116.67$109.59
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$194.88$189.21$177.73

The following rates apply for employees who work during the academic year and are paid semi-monthly, for a total of 18 pays.

Schedule ASUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$94.77$92.01$86.43
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$208.49$202.42$190.14
Individual + Child(ren)$182.90$177.58$166.81
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$296.62$287.99$270.50
Schedule BSUBlueSUOrangeSUPro
Individual Only$83.02$80.60$75.71
Individual + Spouse/Domestic Partner$182.63$177.32$166.56
Individual + Child(ren)$160.22$155.56$146.12
Individual + Spouse/DP + Child(ren)$259.84$252.28$236.97

Paycheck deductions for Faculty and Staff who work during the academic year only, are taken over nine months instead of a full twelve month year.  The accelerated deductions cover payments during the summer when paychecks are not issued, but benefits continue.  While it may appear that the increase is larger, the same total dollar amount is charged over the course of the year.


Prescription Drug Benefits

Yes, you will continue to use your OptumRx I.D. card to obtain prescriptions from the pharmacy.

A formulary is a list of the drugs OptumRx has selected as the preferred medication(s) in each drug class based on their safety, efficacy, and cost. A drug can be placed on one of three tiers:

Tier 1 = Generic Preferred

Tier 2 = Brand Name Preferred

Tier 3 = Non-Preferred

Non-preferred drugs are still eligible for partial coverage under the plan. A drug that is excluded is not eligible for any plan coverage. If you choose to fill a prescription for an excluded drug, you will pay the full retail price.

A formulary can be updated at any time, especially as new drugs are introduced to the market and generic equivalents become available for brand-name drugs. This can affect your share of the cost. You can search OptumRx’s online formulary when you log into the secure member website. You can also call to speak with OptumRx member services representatives 24 hours a day at 866.854.2945 (TTY 711).

Generic medications are FDA-approved drugs that contain the identical active ingredient in the same strength as the brand-name drug. Generic drugs must meet the same standards for safety, purity, potency and quality as the branded drug, but are priced, on average, about 80% lower than the brand-name product. To encourage the use of generics, if a generic is available and you or your doctor choose to get the brand name drug (by checking the “Dispense as Written” box on the prescription), you will pay the generic copay plus the difference between the brand name drug cost and the generic drug cost.

If you take certain medications on a daily basis, you may wish to fill those prescriptions using home delivery, which offers convenient mail order service with free standard shipping. Enroll in home delivery on the OptumRx secure member website. Orders are generally received within 14 days.

When you use home delivery, the mail-order cost sharing applies, which may result in savings if you are taking a preferred or non-preferred drug. Savings vary for each medication and savings are not guaranteed.

Use the OptumRx Home Delivery Order form to mail in prescriptions and payment to OptumRx. Your health care provider can also e-prescribe or fax prescriptions on your behalf.

You can fill up to a 90-day supply of medication at a local retail pharmacy, instead of using home delivery. The plan’s retail cost sharing will apply.

Specialty medications are those that treat serious chronic conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Specialty medications often require special handling or refrigeration, and may be self-injected rather than taken orally. You will need to obtain your specialty drugs through BriovaRx, which is a mail-order pharmacy focused on providing you with the best possible care while you receive treatment with a specialty medication. Please contact BriovaRx at 855.427.4682 (TTY: 800.735.2922) to set up your account and coordinate delivery of your medication.


Flexible Spending Accounts

There are two types of FSAs – health care and dependent care – and both offer a great way to save money by allowing you to contribute pre-tax dollars into an account (avoiding federal and state income tax, as well as FICA) that you can use to pay for eligible expenses. How much you save depends on how much you spend on health care and dependent care each year and on your tax bracket. But using an FSA to pay out-of-pocket costs on eligible expenses such as copays, deductibles, and daycare related expenses, can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

The maximum amount you can contribute to a Health Care FSA in 2018 is $2,650. If you are in the 25% federal tax bracket and you contribute the maximum, that means you would save $662 on eligible health care expenses for you and your dependents!

Don’t forget! You may rollover up to $500 of unused funds in your Health Care FSA. This is a great feature. It means that you are less likely to forfeit unused funds at year’s end, or be forced to “spend down” your account on non-essentials. And, you do not have to try to precisely predict out-of-pocket medical expenses a whole year in advance. The $500 rollover does not count toward the annual maximum contribution amount ($2,650), which means you could have access to $3,150 in the new year.  You will still want to think carefully about how much you contribute to a Health Care FSA.  While you can rollover up to $500 of unused funds, you will lose any amount over $500 if you don’t claim it by the filing deadline of Apr. 30, 2018.

The maximum amount you can contribute to a Dependent Care FSA in 2018 is $5,000 – per household.  If you are in the 25% federal tax bracket and you contribute the maximum, you would save $1,250 on eligible child care or elder care expenses!  You will want to be even more careful about deciding how much to set aside in a Dependent Care FSA, because no rollover is permitted if you don’t claim all your funds by the filing deadline of Apr. 30, 2018.

The health care FSA can be used to pay for eligible health care expenses such as copays, deductibles, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications (with a prescription), dental exams and treatment, eyeglasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses (with a prescription). You can use your health care FSA to pay for health care expenses for your family members, too – whether or not they are covered by your health insurance – as long as they are your tax dependent.

If you have to pay for daycare and related expenses for a dependent child or adult so that you and your spouse can work or attend school, you can use a dependent care FSA.

Yes.  If you elect a Health Care FSA, you can spend the funds on expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your children, or other individuals that you claim as dependents on your tax return.  Neither you nor your family members need to be enrolled in the SU medical plan, or even enrolled in the same health plan.

If you elect a Dependent Care FSA, you can spend the funds on care for a child under the age of 13, or for an adult dependent that you claim on your tax return.  Dependent Care expenses are eligible if they are incurred so that you can work, search for work, or attend school full-time in lieu of working.

Eligible Health Care Items and Services

Services and products that are medically necessary to treat a specific condition are usually considered eligible health care expenses. Cosmetic or non-medical expenses are not eligible. Prescriptions are required for the reimbursement or purchase of over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, allergy and stomach medications, but certain over-the-counter items do not need a prescription. Some services may require a letter of medical necessity from your doctor.  Only the portion of the cost not covered by other insurance is eligible for reimbursement.

The WageWorks website has a searchable database of eligible health care expenses.

Common Health Care Expenses

  • Prescriptions for almost any medical condition
  • Prescribed over-the-counter health care products like allergy medicine, antacid, antibiotics, and aspirin
  • Copayments and deductibles
  • Dental care, both preventive and restorative
  • Orthodontia, child and adult
  • Vision care, including exams, eyeglasses (including prescription sunglasses), and contact lenses
  • Laser vision correction
  • Physical therapy
  • Counseling and psychology
  • Chiropractic care, acupuncture and some other alternative treatments
  • Items that don’t require a prescription: band-aids, SPF-15 and above sunscreen, air-activated heat wraps, cooling headache pads, digital thermometers, first aid kits, contact lens solution, instant cold compresses, ankle brace, and reading glasses.

Eligible Dependent Care Services

These accounts reimburse the cost of care for your qualifying child (under age 13) or other qualifying dependent, while you work or which enables you to work. Your care provider must provide his/her Social Security or Tax ID number.  Care may be provided by a family member such as a parent or grandparent, but an FSA will not reimburse care provided by someone who is your tax dependent (such as an older child watching a younger child).

The WageWorks website has a searchable database of eligible dependent care expenses.

Common Dependent Care Expenses

  • Babysitting or au pair services
  • Before- and after-school programs
  • Day care and nursery schools
  • Summer day camp
  • Preschool programs
  • Elder care services

Ineligible Dependent Care Expenses

  • Private school tuition (kindergarten and up)
  • Lessons
  • Sports registration fees
  • Sleep-away camp
  • Tutoring

Yes, there is!  If you elect a Health Care FSA*, you can enroll in an automatic reimbursement option. Any copays or coinsurance you pay for an SU medical, prescription, dental or vision claim is forwarded from our plan administrator to WageWorks for automatic reimbursement to you. Reimbursement is generally made within three weeks, and you can set up direct deposit if you wish.  You will not have to save receipts or complete claim forms to receive reimbursement from your Health Care FSA for these expenses if you elect this option.  Check the box to enroll in automatic reimbursement when you indicate your Health Care FSA contribution amount in MySlice during Open Enrollment, or contact the HR Service Center at any time during the year to request this feature.

The only expenses you would need to submit to WageWorks would be for over-the-counter prescription costs, or other expenses that are not processed by the SU benefit plan.  Expenses for all your covered dependents will also be automatically reimbursed, so you should not choose the automatic reimbursement if you cover a domestic partner on the SU health plan because the IRS does not permit FSA reimbursement of domestic partner expenses.

*Automatic reimbursement is not available for Dependent Care FSA.

There are three alternative methods you can use to submit your claims for reimbursement:

  • The EZ Receipts app on your mobile device – use this free app for Apple or Android devices to take a photo of your receipt, upload it, and file your claim with a few swipes.
  • Submit an online claim – scan a copy of your receipt and submit your claim on the Wageworks.com website
  • Mail or fax a paper claim to WageWorks.  Dependent care expenses can be submitted on a paper form also.

Submitting your claim electronically eliminates the need to save paper receipts.  Set up direct deposit of your reimbursements with WageWorks to get your money even faster and avoid the hassle of taking a paper check to the bank.

Balancing work and home is hard. It is even more stressful when funds to pay for child care are limited. SU offers help to employees trying to tackle this problem. The child care subsidy – $1,000 per child younger than 6, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year – will again be available to eligible faculty and staff with an adjusted gross household income of $100,000 or less.  If you qualify, the University will deposit the subsidy into a Dependent Care FSA on your behalf.  You may contribute additional funds into this FSA, up to a combined maximum of $5,000 per year.  This $5,000 maximum applies per household, so make sure that if your spouse also contributes, you do not exceed the annual cap.

Applications for this benefit, as well as the application for Schedule B assistance that can reduce your medical contribution rate, are due by Dec. 8, 2017. The 2018 applications will be available mid-October.


Dental and Vision Benefits

Yes, Delta Dental and VSP vision will continue to offer these important benefit programs to our employees. which will have no copayment, coinsurance or contribution increasesNew for 2018, Delta Dental is changing the frequency of dental cleanings from two per 12-month period to two per calendar year.  This means that no matter when you had your last cleaning in 2017, you will have access to two cleanings in calendar year 2018.

This is the second-year of the two-year commitment for the University’s dental and vision plans. The only change you can make this year is to enroll or remove dependents from the plan, unless you experience a qualifying life event. Everyone will be eligible to change their coverage again during next year’s Open Enrollment for 2019.

The monthly costs listed below are based on the 12-month calendar year. Actual deductions from each paycheck will vary depending upon your deduction cycle (e.g., weekly vs. semi-monthly, academic year vs. calendar year).

Preventive Dental With or Without VisionPreventive DentalPreventive Dental Plus Vision
Employee Only$7.86$13.25
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner$19.95$30.74
Employee + Child(ren)$22.61$34.31
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner + Child(ren)$37.66$56.35
Comprehensive Dental With or Without VisionComprehensive DentalComprehensive Dental Plus Vision
Employee Only$28.01$33.40
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner$65.45$76.24
Employee + Child(ren)$64.64$76.34
Employee + Spouse/Domestic Partner + Child(ren)$101.12$119.81

Your decision to enroll in dental coverage, with or without vision, is a two-year commitment.  Jan. 1, 2018 begins the second-year of the University-wide two-year enrollment cycle for dental and vision coverage. The plan choice you made for dental and vision coverage for 2017 will carry through 2018.

For example, if you elected Comprehensive Dental with Vision during calendar year 2017, you will maintain that coverage from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.

During the Open Enrollment for 2018, you will only be able to add or remove dependents from your coverage; you would not be permitted to change to the Preventive dental plan or drop vision coverage. Everyone will be eligible to change their coverage again during next year’s Open Enrollment for 2019.

SEIU members who elect coverage in the SEBF dental and vision plan are not subject to this two-year commitment. However, SEIU members may only opt in or out of University dental and vision coverage when the two-year enrollment cycle is open.

SU offers two subsidized dental options through Delta Dental:

The Preventive Plan provides coverage for specified diagnostic, preventive, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) services.

The Comprehensive Plan provides coverage for services listed in the Preventive Plan in addition to basic and major restorative services, oral surgery, endodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Both Delta Dental options are fully insured point-of-service plans with two levels of coverage depending on whether the dentist participates in a Delta Dental network. If the dentist does not participate in a Delta Dental network, services will generally have higher coinsurance levels and the dentist may also choose to bill you for the difference between his or her usual charges and the allowable amount for those services as determined by Delta Dental.

The monthly costs listed below are based on the 12-month calendar year. Actual deductions from each paycheck will vary depending upon your deduction cycle (e.g., weekly vs. semi-monthly, academic year vs. calendar year).

 
SEBF Basic Dental Plan
SEBF Basic Dental Plus Vision Plan
SEBF Comprehensive Dental Plan
SEBF Comprehensive Dental Plus Vision Plan
Employee
$17.46
$22.31
$23.51
$28.36
Employee + 1
$35.36
$46.25
$40.24
$51.13
Family
$51.10
$61.99
$58.99
$69.88


Life Insurance

Yes, MetLife and The Standard will continue to offer these important benefit programs to our employees. Employee contributions for dependent life, supplemental life and AD&D, and voluntary long term disability insurance will have no rate increases or plan changes.

Life insurance provides protection for your loved ones in the event of your passing, and through the SU benefit program, you are eligible to purchase group term life insurance.  Your deductions are conveniently taken out of your paycheck to ensure timely payment.  You will want to think about the current and future income needs for your family, and plan for expenses such as housing, education and lifestyle needs.

Employees who purchase supplemental life insurance enjoy free will preparation/updating services through Hyatt Legal Services, a MetLife company.  If you choose an outside attorney, you may receive a subsidy toward the cost. You can use this service to prepare or update a will, living will, and power of attorney. For details, call Hyatt Legal Plans at 1-800-821-6400. The SU group number is 104161. Or, download the following information sheets:

The University provides you with a basic policy at no cost to you. Should you wish to purchase additional life insurance during Open Enrollment, you may elect supplemental life coverage between 1 – 10 times salary capped at $250,000, or 1 – 10 times salary capped at $2 million (if the multiple of your salary exceeds $250,000) with a completed MetLife Statement of Health form mailed directly to MetLife. Coverage will not go into effect until MetLife notifies Human Resources of its approval of your requested amount of coverage.

In addition, you may purchase Supplemental Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage between 1 – 10 times your salary (not to exceed $2 million). Your Supplemental AD&D coverage cannot exceed your Supplemental Life insurance coverage. Supplemental AD&D coverage pays a benefit to you or your beneficiaries in the event of specific covered losses.

Yes, you can insure the life of your legal spouse or same-sex domestic partner, and your children under age 26 who are dependent on you for at least half of their support. The amount of spouse/same-sex partner coverage or child coverage cannot exceed your own combined Basic and Supplemental Life coverage.  A Statement of Health may be required for spouse/same-sex partner coverage.

Having a beneficiary designation on file means that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death.  Open Enrollment provides you with a convenient way to review your beneficiaries and make any updates online.

By naming a beneficiary, you ensure that the benefit is given to the loved one(s) you want to have it.  Without a beneficiary, the insurance policy has rules to determine who would receive the money.  These rules may not match your wishes.  You can name anyone to be your life insurance beneficiary: if you are married, you do not need your spouse’s consent to name someone else as your beneficiary.  If your beneficiary is a minor child, the benefit will be placed in an interest-bearing account until the child reaches legal age.

When you name a beneficiary, you can choose one or more primary beneficiaries, and one or more contingent beneficiaries.  A contingent beneficiary will only receive the benefit if none of your primary beneficiaries are alive.  For example, you might name your two siblings to be your primary beneficiaries, and your cousin to be your contingent beneficiary.  If your siblings die before you, the benefit would pass automatically to your cousin.

It is important to regularly update your beneficiary designations as your life and family circumstances change.  Submitting a new beneficiary designation will replace any previous designations on file.


Long Term Disability Benefit

Yes, MetLife and The Standard will continue to offer these important benefit programs to our employees. Employee contributions for dependent life, supplemental life and AD&D, and voluntary long term disability insurance will have no rate increases or plan changes.

The sudden loss of income if you become ill or injured and can’t work can be devastating to your finances. The voluntary Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan insured through The Standard provides a benefit of 60 percent of your monthly pre-disability earnings if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury lasting more than six months.  This LTD benefit would not be subject to federal income tax, because you pay the premiums through after-tax payroll deduction.

The LTD Plan complements SU’s Salary Continuation Plan (for eligible faculty and exempt employees, including some non-exempt employees eligible under transition rules) and Disability Plan (for eligible non-exempt employees), both of which cover the first six months of disability before the LTD Plan begins payments. This benefit is reduced by Social Security and certain other sources of income. The extra protection available through the voluntary LTD plan offered by The Standard can help you replace lost income in a time of need.

If you are interested in enrolling in this coverage for the first time, you must complete a medical history statement. This statement is sent directly to The Standard Insurance Company for review and approval.  The Standard will notify SU only whether your application for coverage is approved or denied. If you do not complete the medical history statement, your election will not be processed.


Retirement Planning

You can make changes to your contributions at any point during the year. If you aren’t already contributing, Open Enrollment provides you with a convenient time to consider your options and enroll in the Plan. If you are already contributing, you may consider contributing more. Remember, a small increase, over time, can make a big difference.

As part of your benefits, Syracuse University partners with TIAA to provide you with free financial planning. TIAA consultants will meet one-on-one with you, on campus or at their Syracuse office, to discuss your personal financial situation and your goals, and offer guidance on maximizing your potential for achieving the retirement you want. You can also get advice online and by phone.

The TIAA consultant can help you determine how much to contribute to your account, explain the benefits of using pre-tax or Roth (after-tax) contributions, help you explore your risk tolerance, and decide on the right mix of investments to fit your needs.

To schedule a one-on-one meeting with a financial consultant, call 1.855.842.CUSE (2873), or go online to SU’s TIAA website at tiaa.org/syr. Once you’re registered on the site, you can also manage your TIAA account and use online tools to learn more about retirement planning.


Tuition Benefits

Though it is not part of the Open Enrollment process, this is a convenient time to think about whether you plan to take advantage of Syracuse University’s Dependent Tuition Benefit. Syracuse University offers eligible dependents three tuition programs: Syracuse University Tuition Waiver, Tuition Exchange, and Cash Grant.

While each of these programs has its own deadline or series of deadlines, a critical one is fast approaching for two of them. November 15, 2017 is the deadline for the Syracuse University Tuition Waiver Program for early decision freshmen, and for new applicants to the Tuition Exchange Program. For more information on Dependent Tuition Benefits, including eligibility and additional deadlines, please visit the Dependent Tuition website.


How to Enroll

Log in to MySlice beginning Oct. 30.  You will need your NetID and password.  If you do not know this login information, visit Syracuse University’s ITS website at its.syr.edu/netid to review instructions.  If you have questions about your NetID, call ITS at 315.443.2677 during business hours.

A list of compatible web browsers for Windows and Apple operating systems is available.  You can access MySlice through a desktop computer or mobile device.

If you have submitted your elections by clicking the “FINISH” button in MySlice, you can go back into your election event and make your changes through the end of the day on Nov. 10.  A confirmation statement of your benefit elections will be sent to your syr.edu email address every time you click the “FINISH” button.  The last confirmation statement you receive represents your final selections for 2018.  Any changes you make without clicking the “FINISH” button will not be saved, so always click “FINISH” and review your confirmation statement to ensure you are satisfied with your choices.

Many life events are considered qualifying status changes.  If you experience one of these events, you have 31 days from the date of the event to contact HR to request a change to your benefits.  The change you make must correspond to the event:  for example, if you have a child, you may add the child to your coverage.  If you fail to make the change within 31 days, you must wait until the next Open Enrollment period to make the change for the following calendar year.

Your current elections will carry forward for medical, dental, vision, life, AD&D, and disability insurance.  Your contributions to your TIAA voluntary retirement account will also rollover, but you can change your contribution level at any point during the year. If you do not elect a Health Care or Dependent Care FSA during the Open Enrollment period, then you will not have new contributions to an account in 2018.  However, if you have up to $500 of unused funds in your 2017 Health Care FSA, these funds will rollover to 2018 to be used for eligible reimbursements.

If you need computer access for Open Enrollment purposes, visit one of the computer labs or email stations on campus.  There are computers in the lobby of Skytop Office Building, outside the Office of Human Resources.  You can enter Skytop between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday during Open Enrollment.  For other locations, review the ITS campus map.   Printers are not available at email stations.


Benefits Eligibility

For most plans, you may enroll:

  • Your legal spouse, or your same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partner*
  • Your child under age 26 who is your biological or adopted child; the child of your eligible spouse or domestic partner; or a child who has been placed in your legal custody or for whom you are the appointed legal guardian
  • Your child over age 26 who is incapable of working or self-support due to a mental or physical disability that was present prior to age 26; the child must qualify as a tax dependent of you or your eligible spouse or domestic partner*

For more information, review the Benefits Eligibility Policy.  Remember, when you add a spouse, partner or child to your coverage, you must provide supporting documentation to Human Resources to confirm their eligibility.

*For dependent life insurance, only same-sex domestic partners may be enrolled (except Texas residents).  For child life insurance, the child must be unmarried and rely on the employee for at least half of his or her annual support.

 

Every effort has been made to ensure the information contained within this website is accurate. However, the benefits are governed by legal documents (which, in certain circumstances, may include insurance contracts). If there is any difference between the information in this website and the official documents, the official documents will control. As is the case with all of Syracuse University’s employee benefit plans, the University reserves the right to modify or terminate these benefits at any time.