Frequently Asked Questions for Retirees

To get customized help on these topics, contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or hrservice@syr.edu.

If you do not want to make any changes to your current retiree health coverage, you do not need to take any action—your current elections will remain in effect for next year.

To make the following changes, please contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions, from December 2-13:

  • Retirees who retired before Jan. 1, 2006: If you wish to cancel your coverage because you have other coverage available to you that better meets your health care needs, you may contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions December 2-13 at 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220), option #2.
  • Retirees who retired on or after Jan. 1, 2006: If you want to enroll or switch health plans, you are eligible to do so during this year’s Open Enrollment period for retirees. To make changes, you need to take action December 2-13 by contacting Lifetime Benefit Solutions at 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220), option #2.

You will be able to learn more about Open Enrollment for retiree medical participants, which will occur December 2-13, by taking advantage of the following opportunities:

  • Join us at the Benefits Open House on Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Barnes Center at The Arch, MAC Court. You can speak directly with our benefit partners and HR representatives about your 2020 options and have your questions answered in time for Open Enrollment.
  • Review the information specifically for retiree medical participants on our dedicated Information for Retirees page.
  • Meet one-on-one with an HR representative for assistance with any questions about enrolling, coverage and how to get the most out of your benefits. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) will also be available with personalized assistance for your medical plan questions. View the dates, times and locations for Office Hours.

If you have additional questions, contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 or hrservice@syr.edu.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the University’s health plan will change in the following ways, subject to applicable cost share:

  • Infertility coverage will be expanded to include coverage of artificial insemination and prescription drugs with lifetime limits of $20,000.
  • Out-of-network coverage will now be provided under SUBlue for routine vision, routine hearing and chiropractic services.
  • Eligibility for fully covered prostate screenings will be expanded with a broader definition of “high risk.”
  • Partial hospitalization will be reclassified as an outpatient hospitalization rather than inpatient for both in- and out-of-network services. Under SUBlue and SUOrange, the in-network copay for partial hospitalization will be reduced to a $200 copay. Under SUPro, the in-network coinsurance will increase to 20 percent.
  • The definition of the types of services that will be covered at an emergency room will be expanded.
  • OptumRx regularly evaluates and makes changes to the prescription drug formulary and programs that focus on safety and proper usage of certain prescriptions. If there are changes that impact you, OptumRx will notify you prior to Jan. 1 with additional information.

Excellus BCBS has an expansive network and you will be able to access care within the U.S. and in many countries around the world through the BlueCard Program.

If you receive health care services from a participating Excellus BCBS Global Core provider, you can present your Excellus BCBS member ID card and pay the applicable deductible and copay/coinsurance under SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro. If you are enrolled in SUBlue or SUPro and you see an international provider who does not participate in the BCBS Global Core network, you can submit those claims to Excellus BCBS for reimbursement as though the providers were participating; however, there is no coverage for non-participating providers in the SUOrange plan.

SUBlue and SUOrange will have no increase in deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

Partial hospitalization will be reclassified as an outpatient hospitalization rather than inpatient for both in- and out-of-network services. Under SUBlue and SUOrange, the in-network copay for partial hospitalization will be reduced to a $200 copay. Under SUPro, the in-network coinsurance will increase to 20 percent.

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: 800.662.1220)
Monday through 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 health plan questions that you may have.

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

On the top blue menu bar, click on Find a Doctor, then:

  • Choose Find a Doctor/Provider or
  • Find a Hospital, Urgent Care or Other Provider

Select your provider’s location:

  • Local Provider (Upstate New York service area)
  • National Provider Network
  • Global Provider

Based on the location you selected:

  • Upstate New York providers:
    • Select your health plan: SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro.
    • Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.
  • National Network providers:
    • Next to “Your Location”, enter the location of the provider.
    • Enter your plan. You will be asked to enter the first three letters of your Member I.D. card. Enter VYK.
    • Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.
  • International Network providers:
    • Review and accept the terms and conditions for using the website.
    • You will be asked to enter the first three letters of your member ID card. Enter VYK.
    • Complete the remaining steps to narrow your search.

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. The SUBlue and SUOrange plans have an annual in-network deductible of $100 per person with a maximum of $250 for a family. The SUPro plan has an annual in-network deductible of $200 per person with a maximum of $400 for a family. 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. An overview of deductibles, copays and coinsurance can be found in the Schedule of Benefits documents.

Reference our Coverage Examples Guide [PDF] to see, in general, how the deductible and copay/coinsurance are applied to certain services for SUBlue, SUOrange and SUPro.

You will maximize the value of your benefit when your physician or facility participates in the Excellus BCBS network. If your provider does not participate and you would like Excellus BCBS to attempt to recruit him or her, please contact Excellus at 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220). Excellus BCBS will reach out to providers who do not participate with their network and are recommended by Syracuse University’s health plan members.

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 DeWitt at 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220), option #2, Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.

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 by Lifetime Benefit Solutions.

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, P.O. 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. To request a form, contact Lifetime Benefit Solutions directly.

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.
  • You can pay by phone by calling 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220), option #2, Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.

You will receive a welcome packet at the permanent address you have on file with Lifetime Benefit Solutions, 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 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 BCBS customer service center at 800.493.0318 (TTY: 800.662.1220). Once your coverage is active, you may also view your ID card online by registering your account at ExcellusBCBS.com or by downloading the Excellus BCBS app.


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